App Army Assemble: Levelhead - Does this platformer's level editor make it a must-have mobile game?

We ask the App Army

App Army Assemble: Levelhead - Does this platformer's level editor make it a must-have mobile game?
| Levelhead

Levelhead is the latest game from developer Butterscotch Shenanigans who are best known for the stellar Crashlands. This time around they've made a game with a solid level editor to allow players to potentially create endless amounts of content for other people to enjoy. We sent in our App Army to find out if it's good.

Here's what they said:

Oksana Ryan

This is a colourful, quirky game with plenty of interesting things to keep you entertained. At first glance it is like most platform games jumping over enemies, running up and down walls and collecting diamonds on the way, all with the objective of delivering parcels. There is the usual campaign mode, or you can take on the challenge of levels created by other players or create and share your own levels. I only tried the campaign mode because of time constraints and found it a brilliant example of the genre.

However, although the game itself was worth 5 stars there was one annoying thing that drove me crazy - the controls. In their original position, they were too far away from the side to be comfortable. After adjusting them the iPad felt to0 heavy and difficult to hold comfortably. I did persevere but I lost part of the joy of playing. For me, a great game ruined by awkward controls.

Ed Davis

This is a great little replacement from those that wish they could get into the Mario Maker series but just don’t have the means. You play the role of a little robot destined to deliver boxes, but he needs to be trained on how to do so. You are walked through a fairly quick tutorial and then shown how to create levels of your own.
The controls are very fiddly (but customisable) and I have yet to find a setting where it feels comfortable. Definitely a game best played with a controller.

The animation and humour are great and just what you expect from Butterscotch shenanigans. This is a great game that you could sink hours into, trying to perfect completing that level your mate made who claims it can be done in a time that you simply deem impossible!

Armaan Modi

Levelhead is a new and much-anticipated game by fans of BS. It is a fun, challenging, engaging game with a playful feel to it. The game is like other good platformer/arcade games where it's difficult, engaging and makes you try again and again. What I liked about the game that it feels well-made and has cross-platform and also a nice level creator.

What I don't really love about this game is the art style/graphics. They're not bad, but I didn't find the environments to be beautiful. Some levels can get strangely difficult because you're not expecting that level of difficulty. Overall, Levelhead is a good game in which people can spend a lot of time, something which I know quite a few people are interested in.

Pierpaolo Morgante

This game is a little gem, which does not come as a surprise knowing it’s from Butterscotch Shenanigans. The graphics are very colourful, polished and bright, it is a pleasure to look at every single level (I only played ~10, I didn’t have much time, unfortunately). The “play again” value is very high thanks to the level editor, very intuitive and fun to use.

My only negative comment is for the controls, I got a little frustrated with the movements’ “wheel”. You can adjust it, but it doesn’t feel as comfortable as the joypad-like controls I am used to by playing other games (including Crashlands). I think you can get used to it though while progressing in the game. My final rating is 10/10

Dries Pretorius

If you know Butterscotch Shenanigans then you understand the wholesome quality they deliver, from their now completely free and fun early catalogue of games to the tongue in cheek hilarity that is the open-world gem: Crashlands. They shift their focus here to platforming puzzle design. The levels that ship with the game are brilliant, introducing novel concepts and mechanics with every stage, the level creator is robust and easy to use, and the presentation ensures that you never feel overwhelmed by the sheer scope.

There must be thousands of user-created levels, and search conditions to ensure you find exactly the sort of levels you want among them. The colour pallet is vibrant and the animations are joyful to behold as your little R-18 unit bounds through levels with childlike glee. When you buy Levelhead you are buying more than a highly polished creative platformer, you are buying into a community creative content developers who are all engaging with each other, there is near-infinite replayability to be had here. I can not recommend this game enough, regardless of genre preference, Levelhead is a landmark mobile title.

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Jim Linford

I adore this game and it makes a nice addition to the create a level games such as Super Mario Maker. While it won’t be as well known as the other games in this genre. It oozes charm and deserves to sell well. Platforming is tight and responsive. It’s really fun. I’ve been playing with the level editor and it’s great. My fault I am having brain freeze to design a great level. The tools are there to create brilliant levels. I highly recommend this game. Get it on whatever platform is your platform of choice.

Brandon Jones

Butterscotch Shenanigans know how to make beautiful games. In so many ways, its a real joy to play. The graphics are fresh and distinct, the story and design are quite clever and it comes with significant replay value built right in (due to the level editor). It's not without its challenges though; I found the touch controls frustrating on a phone. The action buttons on the right-hand side just blended into one another too much.

The level editor, while functional on the phone, works much better on a larger screen. I think I'd much prefer to build on a tablet while playing on a phone. Frustration with the controls aside, Levelhead is still the best platformer I have played in some time and I look forward to seeing how the level gallery evolves.

D.T Stroschein

Butterscotch Shenanigans has done it again. This is the closest thing you'll get to having a proper Mario Maker-esque type of game without owning a Nintendo and the devs did an absolutely great job overall. Levelhead offers the same extremely vibrant colours, graphics, and art style as Crashlands which is a masterpiece in its own right.

You play the role of training your very own delivery robot in space that's tasked with delivering a package that also acts as an extension of yourself to ward off baddies, activate items in levels, and helps to solve puzzles in various ways to get you through from start to finish in each level.

Starting out, the game does a fantastic job of getting you acclimated to the overall goal of the game with a progressive tutorial into where the game really starts to shine by creating your own levels for the world to share. This brings me to my only real qualm which is the controls. Quickly into the tutorial you are prompted to tweak and test the UI to your liking.

The movement stick is spot on, however the jump, and execute controls will take you some time to adjust (speaking for iPad) because it's a square that's split in three and you can only really adjust the size. What I really hope for is an update that will make these independent so you're not reliant on being restricted to a box with limited tweaking which takes some time to get it right without cramping your thumb. Once you get this out of the way the fun starts to begin.

A couple of levels into the tutorial, you unlock the Bureau of Shipping and open up areas like the Workshop where you can build, tweak, and save your very own creations which offer a pretty vast amount of freedom and also very user friendly to build which is super welcoming for all levels of gamer. Levels can be built from super short to super long with everything in between like enemies, paths, hazards, music, powers, programmable items, switches, currency, the ability to copy and paste, erase, weather, the list just goes on.

You also open the Marketing Department where user-generated levels are available based plays to rank them higher. What's really cool is the amount of info you're given per user level in terms of difficulty, length, plays, likes, exposure bucks earned, playlists of levels, etc... This gives the gamer endless playability.

The Tower is where you can filter user-generated levels with a large number of filters to fit your needs and even a playlist where you can play several in a world as opposed to one at a time. There's also your room where you have all your stats, unlocked avatars, levels, favourites, and bookmarks. You'll probably spend the majority of your time here if you're not chipping away at the 90+ level the devs already packed into the game.

There is also cross-platform play and cloud saving. I enjoyed this game so much that it was no brainier to buy it for my OnePlus 7t Pro where my control UI challenges were non-existent and it's just as easy to build levels on the smaller screen and picking up where you left off from one device to another is a breeze. A huge plus is you can download levels for offline play. I also love that every level comes with a Leaderboard where you can compete for high scores and speed for trophy spots.

If this isn't considered an Editor's Choice game yet, it will be very soon. Everything is just done right with Levelhead and I'd consider this a must-have platformer for mobile.

Mark Abukoff

Even just as a platformer this is a good game. It’s bright, fun and creative and there’s plenty of obstacles and grabbing and tossing your little pick up... to knock bad guys into a pit or to jump on to reach another level. The onscreen controls are not the absolute best. There is the ability to move them, in options, but so far I haven’t been able to put them exactly the way I want them. But I got used to it and really it takes away very little. The game is a challenge but not so much that you give up in frustration and walk away. Persistence and trying things will get you through.

But then there’s the level editor. I’ve noticed games that have this in the App Store but never thought to try them. And I’ve only started on the building tutorial, but it looks like it’s pretty easy to use and there’s lots of potential, and there is plenty of high-quality user-made levels already. I’m really looking forward to exploring and designing my own. Definitely a keeper!

Naail Zahid

The game is seriously amazing to look at. The devs have done an amazing job with the level designs, character animations, and the overall quality of gameplay. However, and this may be personal preference, touch screen controls will never trump a controller, and since this is a platform game with an emphasis on tight controls, I wish there was an option to use controllers. Don't know if it's my controllers not being compatible, but all my controllers didn't work with the game.

That said, the sound design is also quite good. It's very upbeat if that makes any sense. Now the heart of this game is to be like Mario Maker, and it does emulate the creation aspect well. I just wish the game didn't force you to go through such a lengthy process before you can start actually designing your own stages. Also, I've noticed sometimes in the tutorial when you are asked to do something, the game doesn't acknowledge that you did what it asked you to do to progress to the next section in the tutorial (might be a bug?).

Thankfully once you get through that, designing levels is easy and I've already seen a fair share of user-created levels that feel as good as levels made by the Platform genre champions like Nintendo or Rare. Great job people! The tools available are similar to what you'd find in the first Mario Maker, including copy and paste tools and multi selecting tools, plus a nice drag and drop tool. It could be a bit confusing for someone just starting out but everyone will get used to it in time.

All in all, it's a great build your own level game, and it's got a charming personality. Controls aside, at least for me, the game is one of the few great ones these days on mobile and I'd highly recommend it to anyone who likes to build and play, and especially someone who wants a chill, but challenging platformer.

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Stephen Gregson-Wood
Stephen Gregson-Wood
Stephen brings both a love of games and a very formal-sounding journalism qualification to the Pocket Gamer team.