Posted on December 09 2014 by Jack Peacock
Great levels make for a great game, but what are the elements of good level design? YouTube game analyst Sunder has a series titled LevelHead devoted to just this question. In his latest video he has teamed up with Todd Schlickbernd from Rated S Games to examine the level design in A Link Between Worlds. You can watch the video after the jump.
The vertically oriented Tower of Hera, with its hammer and mole puzzles and its giant googly eyed hamburger boss, is their choice of dungeon for analysis. Both Sunder and Schlickbernd are obviously in love with the game and its level design, and full of praise for the way it introduces the player to the dungeon’s mechanics and prevents frustration by anticipating the player’s obvious mistakes.
We’ve all likely experienced the frustration of bad level design at some point, whether in Zelda or some other game. We’ve all felt the frustration when the path is unclear and where we have to repeat tasks over and over and over again. Of course, frustration can just as much be brought on when the path is made too clear; too much signposting (Fi in Skyward Sword?) can be just as bad as too little. It can be hard for a developer to get the right balance, and I for one cannot argue with Sunder and Schlickbernd’s analysis that this particular game got much of it right.
Can you argue with their analysis? Did you find the Tower of Hera, or other dungeons in a Link Between Worlds frustrating? Let us know in the comments below.