Deleveled is a challenging puzzle-platformer developed by ToasterFuel and published by Quantum Astrophysicists Guild. It released on all platforms on September 10, 2020 and this review will be based on the PC version. Inspired by Newton’s third law of motion, it is a platformer that doesn’t utilise a jump button. Instead, you control two blocks at a time and all of the vertical movement of the blocks comes from bouncing or falling. It’s a really interesting take on the platformer mechanics, and it does get really challenging as you progress through the game worlds.
The challenge starts off simple, teaching you the gravity-based mechanics where you move through the level to hit switches, dodge spikes and gaps, and complete puzzles. Depending on the height from which one block falls to the ground, it will give the same momentum to the other block when it hits the ground. Switches require two blocks to be touching the switches at the same time and then press spacebar. This means you sometimes need to use vertical and lateral blockages to reduce the size of the bounce, or to time the splitting of the squares so they bounce on different sides of an obstacle.
The chiptune music tracks help to set a retro scene as you tackle these brain testers, with each world being stylised in different colours and patterns, with subtle lighting changes as you solve the switch puzzles.. By turning on all available switch combinations in a level, a final switch is revealed which is often harder than the previous ones. Completing a level with no mistakes will reward you with a star. As you progress through the levels, the complexity and difficulty ramp up and I started making mistakes. If you lose momentum by falling from a smaller height, or you fall off a ledge or bump the two blocks together, you’ll need to start again. Resetting a level means you cannot earn a star for completing the level. You have to complete the level on a fresh run to earn that shiny gold star.
There are 10 levels, a mystery secret level, and an unlockable level in each of the 10 worlds in Deleveled, so all up there are 120 challenging levels for you to master. Every 10 stars earned will unlock a final bonus level in each world. The mystery levels require completion of a specific level in that world, and it must be star completion.
It all sounds simple but part way through the first world, the brain started to get a warmup and then by a few levels into the second, I really had to put the thinking cap on. It did get to a point where I had to abandon the goal of completing with no errors, just so I could learn the solution to getting all switches. Often, I would complete all available levels in a world and not have earned many stars, so then must go back to try attempt perfect runs. There were also times where I had to take a break and tackle them again another day, but I do that with a lot of platformers where I get stuck.
Deleveled is not as easy as it looks, testing your patience and mental fortitude. I did struggle early on with the difficulty and it took me many attempts at some levels. It’s an interesting take on the platforming genre and you get a good sense of achievement finally nailing a difficult level and being rewarded with a gold star. I still haven’t completed several worlds but it’s always there if I’m looking for a quick challenge. Some people do sudoku and crosswords, I do clever games like Deleveled.