A wall map with no real playability issues, but one that is weighed down by odd choices and overly safe mapping that fails to highlight the music in an engaging way.
I have played a lot of walls maps. I have also reviewed quite a few, both as a playtester and as a curator. As such, I feel like I have come to be quite familiar with the common issues that can plague wall maps, and my expectations for what they can be has only risen. Wall maps have only become more and more common, and it's not enough to simply have breathtaking visuals; the gameplay has to be solid, too. I'm happy to say that this map plays fine; it flows well and there are no nasty patterns. There are a few rhythm changes that feel unnatural or unintuitive, but it's all on-time. However, as a whole, the patterns feel largely uninspired and repetitive.
This map has no horizontal notes. Obviously, a map doesn't need horizontal notes to be a good map, but it stood out to me as I was playing, and the largest flaw in this was map becoming clear. All the patterns feel the same, and are all very basic. A good portion of this map is two reds, then two blues, then two reds, then two blues etc. Sometimes they're diagonals, and sometimes they're in a straight line, but it doesn't really work to make them feel distinct from each other. This is especially prevalent in the drop/chorus.
I have absolutely 0 problem with copying and pasting parts of a map. I think it is a natural part of the mapping process, and it helps to keep maps consistent. However, it's one thing to copy and paste a chorus, and entirely another to copy and paste within a chorus, and then use it in almost the same way again. This feels especially bad in that the drops/choruses are emphasised in almost the exact same way, but could not be more different. In the second drop, you have what is arguably THE moment of the song, the titular "GAS, GAS, GAS!". Yet, there's no emphasis, nothing to truly bring this moment to life. There's the walls going into 'hyperdrive', sure, but we saw that in the first drop, and the patterns are nearly identical, if not even more tame.
As a mapper, I think what really elevates a map from fine to great, is that attention to detail, and truly capturing the music within your maps with emphasis and engaging patterns. I don't believe this map has that. It plays fine, sure, but the notes and patterns felt like an afterthought to the walls. Even some of the walls felt like an afterthought to the core concept of the road and hyperdrive. If the walls were taken out of this map, it would not be able to stand on its on as a great experience. I believe that more care and consideration should have gone into the gameplay of this map, and ensuring it it was solid in its own right.
As for the walls, I think they're fine. Some aspects were very cool. The road was a neat idea, and was likely the initial concept that drove the creator to make this a wall map in the first place. I did think the hyper-speed effect was also really well done, and was definitely the highlight of the map. However, some parts did feel barren, or not appropriately synced to the music. In example, at 1:05, it felt there should have been some sort of extra movement to highlight the rise in the singer's voice, like there had been previously, but there was nothing. Another example would be the side walls, like at 1:25, where you expect them to rise and fall with the singer's tone, but instead it appears to be mostly random. Occasionally, the walls also did not seem to arrive on time, like the road after the first drop.
My biggest issue with the walls was the colours, which also goes in tandem with the lighting as whole. I don't claim to be a master on colour theory, nor am I really all that great of a lighter, but some of the colour choices did not blend at all. An example of poor blending would be the green to orange rotating walls at the end of the map, that clashed with the rainbow side walls. I'm not as opposed to 'rainbow' being a colour scheme as mush as some lighters are, but I think the standard red and blue of Beatsaber's default colours did not align well with that choice. This is likely why most wall mappers opt for either Chroma lighting, or no lights at all, which this mapper should have considered.
I applaud the effort the mapper is putting forth by undertaking wall mapping. It's certainly not easy. I can also appreciate that the mapper had a solid foundation on the basics of mapping, before attempting to elevate their maps with the use of Noodle Extensions. However, I would encourage the mapper to slow down and consider the music more. 3 wall maps in 9(?) days in almost unheard of, and is likely responsible for the overly simplistic nature of this map. I think with a little bit more consideration, the mapper could really elevate their maps to the next level, and bring their maps from fine to great. Keep at it, thelightdesigner!
Full disclosure: I did not curate this map, my review is separate.
This wall map is a bit more intense than my others, you will need a very hefty pc to run and record this. Have Fun!
Here’s a playthrough:
Here’s a playthrough by Nico (HQ Version):
(fixed formatting + removed stupid metadata 😉
I don’t see a problem with the note mapping being safe or simple because the simpler the notes are the more you can enjoy and take in the walls without needing to put so much thought into hitting the notes. I find that with harder wall maps you focus much more of your attention on hitting the notes and almost ‘zone out’ from the walls and can’t appreciate them as much because you are focusing so much on hitting the notes.
On some wall maps, I think what you’re saying is completely true, and it is a criticism I’ve had with other wall maps in the past. For maps like ‘Air’, ‘Wait’, or ‘Hide and Seek’, the walls truly become the focal point with tons of rich details: they seek to tell a story. In these niche situations, I would agree that being able to focus on the walls without being distracted by hitting notes works in their favour.
However, the walls in this map are not at that level. Which is fine, by the way; Beat Saber is ultimately a game and not every map can or should be a solely artistic experience. For the vast majority of wall maps, the walls seek to compliment and strike a balance with the gameplay, and should enhance the experience without being the only reason you would ever engage with the map at all. If this map did not have walls, it would (and is) be exceedingly basic. It has notes that happen to be in time with the music playing in the background, but it doesn’t highlight or engage with the song in the way a good map does. It is still a problem even with the walls. The walls themselves are very repetitive, and while they’re fine, they’re largely generic and similar to most other NE maps at this point. I don’t agree that your attention needs to be focused on them.
Wall maps are often given too much credit or leeway simply because they are wall maps. I don’t agree with that stance. Gameplay should come first and foremost in 95% of cases, and this is one of them. Had this not been a wall map, and had it not been curated, it’s very likely it would have never come on my radar at all. I don’t make a habit of going around and critiquing maps simply because they aren’t elevated to the next level. Nonetheless, I appreciate your comment and your feedback, even if I don’t necessarily agree in this case.
I understand your point of view, and I do mostly agree this was quite repetitive. Thanks for the reply anyway 🙂
I put out an ExpertPlus a few days ago so we can see if it is really a good idea.
Does not work on Quest 2
Would love to see an expert+ for this, the walls for this are fantastic. Would be perfect with a fast paced beatmap too