darkSpyro - Spyro and Skylanders Forum > Skylanders: Swap Force > Why Motleyville is better than every other level in this game
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Why Motleyville is better than every other level in this game
exefile Yellow Sparx Gems: 1497
#1 Posted: 12:20:59 07/09/2018 | Topic Creator
I personally think that most of the levels in this game are bland and drag on without being interesting... most
After replaying every level multiple times for 100%, I've found that Motleyville has been the only level I've fully enjoyed every time I've played it.

This cut scene deviated from the usual Flynn and Tessa banter and starts with a mysterious feeling, Who is this guy? Why is it so quiet?
Just as Tessa says "I don't like this", a greeble comes out nowhere and evilizes Whiskers, the stakes are high as this is the first companion that has been evilized. The boss seems to be repetitive at first but halfway through the fight Whiskers flies out of the arena and the level starts.

Grinding was first used in the opening level and makes it's second appearance in this level, the grinding is fast and frantic and they are easily the hardest grinding sections in the game, also the only engaging ones.

The levels in this game use random floating platforms that you have to slowly wait for as a form of challenge, but Motleyville has NO floating circular platforms (outside of elemental gates), the platforms are over goo which adds punishment for missing jumps (even if it is minimal) that falling in a pit does not. The platforms later on return over swirling pits of goo, adding more challenge to a previously explored obstacle, you can even fall in the middle to find a shortcut for another area.

This one is very minor but one of the NPC's (Gibbs) isn't ignorant like all the other NPC's, when you blow up the wall that blocks off his area he says "What are you doing blowing up my place?!" He isn't just brushing that kind of damage behind because "OOOHH IT'S A SKYLANDER!!!!!!" If you enter his workshop when you leave he says "Are you sure you didn't break anything?" Just another touch that made this level more enjoyable.

You finally catch up to Whiskers and find that he has the same amount of health as he did last time and since you went through lot's of the level beforehand the fight doesn't feel repetitive (even if it technically is) but it's much better than doing one boss fight that doesn't change all at once (sheep mage and cluck).

The level isn't over yet which would usually make me feel more bored than excited, but in this case the level was so much more enjoyable than the other ones that I was relieved it wasn't over. The second half is even better! More intense fights, better platforming sections and the REAL boss of this level, the all around power schnitzel himself, Baron Von Shellshock! That's not all though, one more section, the biggest reason I enjoyed this level coupled with the better design.

I know music is entirely subjective, so take this as my opinion more so than fact.
The music in this level is the best in the game, it's such a contrast to the rest of the soundtrack which was kinda generic. The ambient music when walking around, the music that plays when the sand golem is introduced, the fight with Shellshock and the grinding music are the only songs in this game I listen to when I'm not playing the game. There was no way this is the same composer as the rest of the game, it's SO much better than the rest of the game's music, I even doubt that whoever made this level made any other ones, because if every level was at the quality of this one, I would have enjoyed this game a LOT more!
I'm terrible at naming characters smilie
Drawdler Emerald Sparx Gems: 3009
#2 Posted: 14:25:08 17/09/2018
I'll get back with what I disagree on later if I feel like it maybe

That the story surrounding this level was better, at least in concept. It was actually relevant to the atmosphere and had a bit more to it than the others in the game, which were pretty much just saving town under attack or saving ancient.*
Too many "IT'S A SKYLANDER" NPCs in this game**
This is the only level where the rail segments are fun in themselves.***
Having the bosses in the level was cool. I think this level really showed how much it can add to levels themselves instead of having them segregated like almost every boss- even if I actually like just being able to fight those on their own, because this game reaaaally could have used the chapter system SC would add- and I also thought these were way better bosses than the rest of SF's and tbh SC's as well (although that's not the best comparison since most of the SC bosses that were really important were a vehicle fight and the onfoot gameplay is just fundamentally better.)
Kind of, on music.****


*It still suffers from a lot of SF's flatness and it's lame Shellshock is even tied to Kaos. It's actually so pointless, and so unimportant, I would legitimately forget about it and I missed it a couple times. Like man even back then- and you can see I wrote this if you find old Skylanders articles I wrote on another site- I thought he would be way better if Shellshock was just attacking you himself instead of FOR LAWD AND DESTROYER KAOS/MOM.
Literally very villain in SF is like that and its lame as af. None are going after you because of their own motivation or, Shellshock (and maybe Glum? I kinda find him hard to count as villain idk i think that's me) aside, with any effort at a unique scenario around them.
At least Shellshock is closer to being his own thing, since the scenario around him is better with a corrupt companion taking you down a peg, but he still suffers from SF being so formulaic.

He also has better buildup than most of them. It's no secret I thought Kaos' Mom had awful buildup, a really bad case of telling and never showing how powerful she apparently was, and while the other villains are a bit better on this front since you go through obstacles they set during the level (even the Fire Viper and Generic Pirate Greebles have this) Shellshock also is the one who sets the atmosphere of his entire level and feels slightly less like an excuse for obstacles.

He still feels like just his level's bad guy, that's what I'm getting at saying he still suffers from the usual stuff of this game. He has no other relevance than the stuff in this level and just doesn't exist outside of it. But he's a biiiit better because the scenario in this level is a bit better than usual.


**hello hi where did npcs talking about the PORTAL MASTER go after the first game besides eon and sometimes kaos and parts of trap team
that's a whole argument of its own though


***however, their main purpose is variety's sake and that includes in pacing. It's arguable how well the game actually does this (and that's what actually matters), I wouldn't know anymore because I haven't played it in a long time, but the segments shouldn't just all be fire on all cylinders because that would be tiring. I think most of them were going for light moments.
But I DO agree, as I said, this is the only one where rail grinding is fun in itself. The first level is trying to just introduce them but that's no excuse for literally no obstacles in a segment that long/flashy, Winter Keep's is somehow easier than Motleyville's and goes on too long with tbh boring visuals that repeat ad nauseum, and if there even were more in other levels I can't even remember them.


****It's definitely more interesting than most of it, clearly, but I don't really agree the music is THAT much better than the other levels. It is clearly better, but I disagree it is much better. It sill sticks to a really simple tune without much to the song as a whole. I'm not a music expert so I can't really exactly explain what I mean.
But at least it works better because it's more ambient and quiet, overstaying its welcome less, and it definitely has a more interesting mood. To me at least.

However, compare to Golden Desert; that's a very similarly ambient track that's still catchy and has a lot more identity in its instrumentation, as well as more mood beyond the one Motleyville's main theme just hangs on. More variation in notes, more beyond just the main tune, just more interesting.
Motleyville's music is a lot more interesting than SF's usual stuff on the surface, because of its atmosphere- and thank god it's not another track in a VV game with weird overuse of synth noises- but usual Skylanders caliber it is absolutely not.

Somehow GD's music also feels more fit for the level. Not just a place with that atmosphere, THE specific level it's used in. It reminds me more of Golden Desert specifically and I can't imagine it put somewhere else and working quite as well. On the other hand, Motleyville's feels it could be plopped in anything with a similar atmosphere to that level and it would work just as fine (or potentially better...) and, personally, I'd even be less distracted hearing it reused.
I don't know wether this falls on the music or the levels, though. It's probably some combination of the two, but probably leans on the levels/art. I'm just gonna say it, SF's art isn't up to snuff, but even by its standards Motleyville is one of the worst-looking levels.
Edited 1 time - Last edited at 14:26:31 17/09/2018 by Drawdler
exefile Yellow Sparx Gems: 1497
#3 Posted: 06:13:28 18/09/2018 | Topic Creator
^I agree that Shellshock working for Kaos ruins his character, I would have much rather "I'm going to kill you just because you are invading my property" instead of "I'm evil and that means I work for Kaos HE'S THE MAIN VILLAIN NOT ME HE HAS FRIENDS HE'S A GREAT VILLAIN HE'S NOT FORGETTABLE!!!'
Also, while I enjoy the music in Motelyville more than the Golden Desert, GD stood out more and I liked that music before Mvilles. I was also referring more to the battle music against the Sand Golem and Shellshock as well as the grinding music more than the ambient music which I think is just good.

You bring up lot's of good points. I would thumbs up but there is no emote for that so I give you smilie/5
I'm terrible at naming characters smilie
Drawdler Emerald Sparx Gems: 3009
#4 Posted: 16:40:40 25/11/2019
Idgaf about the last posts in this topic. After playing the game again I think that Boney Islands is the best level.
The block pushing could be a bit lame, getting the keys at the end was VERY lame, but everything else was really good. It's one of few levels in the game that feels brisk. In fact, I would say it's the most brisk of them all. It has some variety, but the gimmick feels much more naturally fitted and speedy in than other levels. It also has good content to explore. It's not the absolute prettiest level but it looks reasonably cool and has a cool concept and fitting the icicles into the gameplay was cool. I just don't think any part of Boney Islands is really bad. I always end up satisfied replaying it, wether I just run through, explore, or what, which I don't think I can say for another level. It doesn't have the absolute highest highs but in all the other levels, I find there's some more "lame" content, or side-areas I really don't like because they're so eh... among other things.

Mount Cloudbreak is a tutorial level so it was never going to be the best, while solid it's too simple to stay that engaging on replays. It's also too long for how simple it is.
Cascade Glade is pretty good, but still very simple, the exploration is not great either as too many side-areas are sort of overlong walks. Is better than the first level for being brisker.
Mudwater Hollow has a lot of great stuff but ultimately can drag + raft segments suck.
Iron Jaw Gulch is really good but doesn't really do anything impressive either and "eh" at select moments. Also too long for what it is.
I'm sorry but Motleyville still drags even though it's really trying not to. They just should have cut some parts of the level out honestly. Some exploration in it is samey as well.
Twisty Tunnels I would say is the #2 or #3 best level of the game, pacing stays very brisk here as well, great variety in both platforming and fights, just that the turret can piss me off, and some of the exploration is very eh. As an aside, I would consider Twisty Tunnels to be the prettiest level in the game (other than the crystal parts, but I don't think back to them that much).
Frostfest is great and one of the best, t'is the other level I would consider either #2 or #3, really fun buildup and challenge, really good really consistently, the village minigames are just lame tho (more like minilames), it's also more conventional than Twisty Tunnels or Boney Islands so perhaps not as exciting to replay, and you can tell it's longer, but it does that more conventional design the best anf definitely earns its length because it is always throwing new things at you. As a bonus, Mesmeralda is the best boss in the game.
Kaos' Fortress has really good pacing and a lot going for it and feels jam-packed... it plays like a final level... it's exhausting in a satisfying way, like it tests all of your mettle... and it doesn't feel like it has fatty crap... it's one of the best to play... but I can't help but feel like it ultimately falls horribly short of what it should and truly could be due to how absolutely silly the art and tone of the level are like. I know that it sounds petty given the level's strengths and how I'm mainly focusing on the level design here, but it constantly distracts me when I play this level. I would say the #4 best level of the game though.

If you saw my other thread, you know what I think of Rampant Ruins, Winter Keep, Fantasm Forest.

Anyways, actually, I could currently make an argument for any of my top 3 being the best one, so I'm just satisfied grouping them as the best levels, and then Kaos' Fortress is probably the #4, maybe I'll get back to this when I play more and replay these levels a lot more.

Now, I also excluded the AP levels simply because I have not replayed them. I remember them both having a couple things that dragged but being kinda solid otherwise, ToT especially I used to adore. That's all I'll say.
Edited 4 times - Last edited at 16:48:20 25/11/2019 by Drawdler
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