Hide & Seek – Amber Run – Imogen Heap cover (wall art)

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The wall art in this map is truly exceptional, but the experience is marred by awkward mapping practices.

I'd like to start off this review by saying that the wall art in this map is truly that: art. For the first minute of this map, I was absolutely blown away. The stick figures are so smooth they don't even look like walls anymore, and the lyrics flowing across the screen horizontally is a great idea. It was instantly emotional. Then the real patterns of the map kicked in, and the awe I had quickly turned to frustration.

For context, I played Nyri0's map 'Wait' when it was first released. While I thought that map had a few janky hits, I didn't find they detracted from the overall experience. In this map, however, some of the patterns feel like a severe downgrade. My attention was constantly being ripped away from the story and art to focus on the patterns that, at 8 NJS, were so dense, and were hard to read as a consequence. For a wall map, especially one trying to tell a story, this felt like a flaw and was actively detrimental to what the mapper was trying to accomplish.

I understand that this map intentionally uses 8 NJS for its walls. However, that is something that must be worked around. While the map comes at you slow enough to react to everything, I had to constantly be looking behind notes as they crawled towards me. This was especially prevalent during 'note-dense' sections when alternating colours blocked each other, like at 1:05. The diagonal red blocking the blue would be vision blocking on a normal NJS, at 1/2 speed between them, and even on 8 NJS it didn't feel intuitive.

Combined with poor readability, some of the patterns in this map are very uncomfortable. Some of the doubles up-swings were excessively awkward, like at 2:11. For some of the others, even with a large amount of time in between, they were still questionable. With the patterns in this map being used inconsistently, some of the double ups seemed unnecessary when they could have just as easily been double downs (or even better, follow parity) and been far more comfortable. It seemed like an odd choice to be mapping the same sound to a more awkward pattern than what is was previously, like the single saber two note patterns at 3:15+.

As a whole, parity issues really plagued this map. Some of the breaks in the conventional up-down flow were fine. An example of this was the intro, where every note was a double down. With the time between them, and the lack of notes overall, I was naturally resetting and it wasn't an issue. It was a bigger problem in the actual patterns, especially once horizontals started getting involved. For example, the pattern at 4:16. Those two blue horizontals are a naturally backhand/forehand motion without specific setup, but the following blue note is a forehand, making it a double directional. Is it playable at slow speed? Sure. Was it comfortable to reset? Not really.

There are more examples of DDs with not nearly enough time to comfortably reset (extremely slow NJS or not) at 3:13, 3:17, and other similar patterns past this time stamp. One of the most egregious of all was at 4:11. There are other patterns akin to this one that are uncomfortable in their own right, but this one features a double down/forehand swing. Previously, this pattern was set up so the blue on the right was hit with a backhand, but this one comes in on the forehand, making it a reset on top of an uncomfortable pattern.

As previously mentioned, though, that pattern and ones similar to it feature some awkward angles as a whole. Taking the one at 1:40 as an example, let's look at the diagonals. The first blue is fine, and the second one would be too, if it weren't for the followup. If you play the second diagonal blue as a diagonal, and not as a vertical, your arm/wrist is now moving parallel to the following double. To hit it, your arm needs to pull itself up short and swing around in a loop, which is very janky. For a hard map, where diagonals are already a challenging aspect, this feels poorly designed.

On the topic of this map being listed as a hard difficulty, there are some aspects of this map that are distinctly too difficult for a hard player. The diagonals are one example, although on the slow speed they could be passable if there were less of them, and the awkward angles were fixed. However, the vision blocked, 1/4 speed piano stream, like at 2:15, was a surprise even for me, and various other players I discussed this map with. For a hard player, that pattern seems borderline impossible. As well, there's the diagonal 1/4 streams at 2:08, 2:12, 2:24, and 2:28 that are likely too difficult.

This mapper is clearly extremely talented. I think that's part of the reason why I find some of these flow and readability issues to be so baffling. I mentioned before a lack of consistency within the map, and even the issues are inconsistent. Some of the patterns play out fine, and others that are extremely similar are painful. I'm not sure if it's an issue of not having it testplayed at all, or if the testplayers and the mapper himself all play with a unique grip and didn't notice these issues, or if these were all design choices that the mapper chose to keep even after having them pointed out.

Despite everything I've said in this review, I do think the map deserves to be seen, and I still recommended it on the grounds of it being a great artistic experience. I do believe that Nyri0 will continue to be one of the wall mapping innovators, as Noodle Extensions and his own ability only improves. I hope he reviews his mapping practices and makes some changes, but nonetheless, I'm excited to see what he has for us next!

Mapper: nyri0

This beautiful song conveys a deep sadness and anger, that I tried to render with the wall art. This was a lot of work but all the positive feedback that I received on Wait convinced me it’s worth the trouble.


A few tips:
– Set the sound effects volume to 0.5
– Enable “bloom post processing”
– Hide the HUD

If you make a video:
– Include a download link in the description
– I appreciate if you link my YouTube channel in the ending screen

It is currently not compatible with the Oculus Quest.

Why not the original version by Imogen Heap? This one has percussions that I can put notes on, and I like the beautiful harmonies.

Fun Factor0
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