Jan 2008: Donut Plains
- The actual article for this area is Donut Plains
Source: Super Mario World
Reviewer: Kolem, Playing as Pix (level 13 Esper Priest--gained 1 level during review)
Date: 7/22/08 (Later review)
(OR: This page has been naked for seven months. LET US CORRECT THIS)
Okay! Donut Plains this time. Hopefully this review will be somewhat more short and sweet than my others, as the Plains are not a tremendously large zone compared with some of the areas in the game. However, the zone also has some sub areas; so I'll try to touch briefly on each over the subareas as the review goes on.
This zone gets high marks for its descriptions for two reasons. First, although the main Plains descriptions are simple utility descriptions, they hide a secret or two. Second, the sub-zones of the Plains use the look command BEAUTIFULLY. The ghost house, a puzzle zone full of carefully planned riddles and secrets, makes marvelous use of 'look'. On the flip side of this coin the Pipe Maze goes absolutely minimalist: you have no landmarks at all unless you make them yourself.
"All together, kids: Consider is your friend!" This area has a remarkable range of assorted mobs in it. The level difference will eat you alive if you are not careful; which, given that each mob here seems to fight in a distinctive though not broken way, is actually a good thing. This is a level range when a player might be starting to really poke out into the world, and if they're willing to explore this far, they're likely to enjoy what they see. ..Just... mind the bloopers. This is where having saves starts to really pay off.
The Donut Plains have more to their name than you'd think at first glance. A miniquest ends here, there's a mini boss or two if you feel gutsy, and there is a significant item to be had that can be of use all over the cleft--for the player not afraid to use their head in addition to their trigger finger. There are even a couple easter egg drops for the fortunate--or persistent. Despite its moderate size, there's more content here than is immediately obvious, and this sense of discovery and turning the page on your adventure is one thing that makes the cleft so addicting.
You might be surprised to see such a high score in this category for the Plains. However, it's justified: This is essentially what I feel to be the midpoint between the two most major cities of the Cleft. When Viorar is a viable option as a starting town, it will be SOMEWHAT equidistant from there as it is from Truce--Luon Highway is one heck of a hike, though there's much less on that than there is obstructing your path from Truce to here. In addition to its role as an essential thoroughfare, you can access the Safari Zone and the Pipe Maze mini-dungeon from here, both of which can provide a pleasant side trek or, if you are like some players, a hair-ripping-out experience.
Recently I reviewed Joel Island, a zone which lost a lot of shine over the years to me--especially when I had to look at it with a critical and appraising eye. I must state that, playing here as Pix, I found the exact opposite to be true: I found the combats here to be fresh, even engaging, in a way I had not had the pleasure of experiencing in some time. Perhaps it was engaging them as a lower-level character that did it, though I suspect that is not the case; it could just be that I found my appetite constantly whetted to get a little further, to get a little more experience. I also found myself actually using my 'utility' skills here, while my experience with Kolem--Word of Recall AND illuminate, good lord, have I been spoiled--took a different, more brash approach. It actually felt GOOD to realize that, since nothing in this area really aggressively attacked me, there was literally no reason I should not, say, drop my sleeping bag, live off the land (and my fortunate use of the Create Water Spell), casting Flash when needed. The more I played around, the more I wanted to, and this really caught my eager eye. I almost forgot I was doing this review in the first place, and only when I minimized the MuD client did I realize what I originally intended to do.
(For the record, I take that as a very, very good sign.)