The map starts with a short rush section. It reminds me a little of asteroidrun, you balance your speed to be fast enough that the turrets behind you don’t loose their emp before you’re out of range, but slow enough to regenerate the health you’ll loose where you can’t emp a turret before it shoots. There’re a few places you can stop to rest, or if you don’t want to rush, the turrets can be killed to get through more easily, so it works as a gentle introduction to the map.
After that comes a section of low-health high-damage turrets, where you look for gaps and angles to safely shoot at the turrets without entering their range, or quicky move in and out of cover when that’s not possible.
Once you figure out the order in which to kill the turrets, and the safe spots to hide in while doing so, they can be beaten quite quickly. In execution it’s a step up in difficulty from the first part; some mistakes can be recovered from by moving back to safety, but stalling or crashing is fatal. There’s room to go faster (by skipping killing the last few sets of turrets) if you’re willing to take the extra risk.
Once that’s done you get to the hardest part of the map – not loosing the ball while you kill the large green turret from below :3
My current tactic is to hover over the missile powerup with rev, then turn and shoot the ball and as many missiles as I can before I start falling, and hope I can grab the ball while I turn around to get back into position. This part will be a lot easier with a team ^^
On that note, I’m not sure what the intended route is for multiple people. Maybe the green can be killed from above, so half the team can start killing the second set of yellows, but I haven’t tried myself.
Either way, I’m not sure it would save much time, since after that green turret the map can be completed without killing.
In the center of the map is a circle of slow, low-damage turrets. Once you get the hang of these, at least with mouse, they’re rarely dangerous. I’d like this to be a little more difficult, though that might throw off the difficulty curve for keyboard players (or players who aren’t already familiar with this obstacle.)
The rest of the map is all about well-timed and accurate emps, with the difficulty increasing at the end: There’s a wavey corridor of fast shooting turrets, where the distances between the turrets gets smaller the further you go, forcing you to stay just out of range both behind and ahead of you while you emp each turret. If any emp is a little early, a little late, or doesn’t hit it’s target, there’s not much chance to survive. I haven’t figured out the timing for this bit yet, it’s a nice challenge, and a good way to end the map.
I like how well-delimited the sections are; each little bit of the map has a clear purpose, a skill it’s testing you on.
Many coop maps seem to start with a theme, build on the theme to create a map layout, then add the challenges on top. It can work, but graphite is more well thought out than that, the gameplay seems to come first, the flow of the map is directed by ideas for challenges, then the theme is entirely stylistic. It makes each part of the map distinct and memorable, especially with the classic use of different turret colours for different types of challenges.
Most of the difficulty comes from execution rather than figuring out what to do, and for that the map is well scaled – nothing feels too short or too repetitive, both for the map as a whole and the individual sections. The difficulty curve is spot on, gradually more challenging sections of action are seperated by safe spots, and the map ends with a spike in difficulty as a final test.
I think 5 minutes would be a good time solo, and probably down to 3/4 minutes with a team.
I haven’t found any major skips yet, but you can get past the last two red turrets without emping them, just by waiting for the health in the corner.
Thanks for another fantactic coop map