Seems like the game is letting you play dating sim as Theo here... Oh wait, you get to ask both questions anyway.
Okay I get it... this whole chapter is a big dialog sequence.
omg... okay so at least it's giving you the option to end it early with that "I should get some sleep" option, so that must mean there's not much left.
I noticed when you get to the end of that discussion, Madeline says "It's all of me or nothing.", almost like she's starting to accept her mirror demon self now. Then suddenly, it's night time and the sky is lit up, and there's a Banjo-Kazooie collectible floating there.
...WHAT!? It literally gives you temporary flying powers. I flew high up into the sky and now I'm in this Fountain of Dreams like area with amazing atmosphere. Then Madeline confronts her mirror self.
I thought this dialog confrontation with the mirror Madeline after that short and easy gold feather flying section would've been the end of the level, but then it destroys Madeline's breathing feather, and makes her fall... meanwhile Theo wakes up just as Madeline is falling off the mountain in her sleep.
She falls down a long way, into a deep cave and smashing through a bunch of spiky rocks and through a bunch of one-way floors that you'd normally only be able to go up from the bottom... and eventually lands in a pool of water at the bottom.
So it turns out this IS an actual level. The atmosphere down here is amazing too... it has kind of a Yoshi's Island vibe, but with some of them pretty dream-like effects going on... One new gimmick here is these square thwomp things that smash through walls in whatever direction you dash into it from. Oh and those gold feathers are also one of this level's gimmicks. I can see this becoming utilized really well later on.
This level is really fun. Sometimes you gotta use those thwomps to get around (they can destroy certain walls, but not most of them), and sometimes you use feathers. There's this really big vertical room where I'm pretty sure there's an extra thing at the top before moving on to the right, cuz there was a hidden feather I uncovered.
I haven't found any strawberries or anything in this level yet, but I found... the chaos emeralds?
This next gimmick that is introduced is literally the bouncy circle things in Sonic games. They refresh your dash ability and stamina too.
At first I was like, this level isn't too hard to navigate, usually there's just the options of going further up in the room you're in, and going to the left or right. And whenever there's a "go up to transition to another room" thing I assume that's one-way. But then it starts splitting off into multiple parallel paths. I mostly just took the bottom-most path, and I'm not sure if I'm missing anything or if all paths lead to the same place, but I keep feeling bad for not being able to go back and explore all the options. I get that there's no strawberries in this level, but if there's a B-side tape or a blue heart, I'm pretty sure I've missed them.
This is getting legit hard now, you gotta use chain dashes off these static bouncy enemies at just the right angle, then catching the feather with a dash and flying to safety... I can totally see the B-side of this level getting LIT... if only I could find the tape.
Oh shit is this a boss battle coming up? I noticed you could go one screen higher above where the old lady is, but can't actually get back up unless you use this elevator that's in the background, which I'm guessing will be used in a cutscene after I go and confront this thing.
This demonic aura is just running away from me as I approach it. So far this is just more of the level, except it's really easy now... This must be leading up to a boss...
Yep, here's the boss battle. This is cool... instead of avoiding her, now she's the one avoiding you... She just floats there and shoots projectiles trying to keep me away. There's also falling platforms but they're easy to dodge... and later she adds in a guardian laser attack.
Like the bouncy enemies, the Madeline bounces off her mirror self every time you hit her. Although it seems the angle you bounce off of her is scripted, but sometimes you still have to pay attention to where you bounce to and use your refreshed dash get to safety.
When she starts to use her laser attack more often, I find it's better to just take your time and updash while standing to dodge the laser and then move on a little bit at a time.
Except for this part where you're going down a vertical room and only have the walls to cling to after each hit, here I find it's better to just charge at her as soon as possible, and you can get to her before she even has a chance to charge the laser.
At some point, she stops attacking you completely, and now I'm the only one attacking her.
Okay that didn't last long, now she's back to attacking me. This boss battle is getting nearly as long as the level itself now... but I don't care this is really fun. It's like the end of Chapters 2 and 3 where it tests you on all the level gimmicks while an enemy chases you down.
OH SHIT IS THAT
Super Sonic! I found the last emerald!
So now I can dash in the air twice, just like in the Pico-8 game. All those things I missed in previous levels... they're totally up for grabs now I bet. (or, maybe not, it just might be that you don't get this powerup in older chapters and I just needed to explore better).
Not only does she have this double dash, but now Madeline's Mirror self can act as a red bubble and launch you up really high.
The level that I thought was gonna be a story-only thing turned out to be the best level yet. The music during that whole boss battle part was insanely good too.
I'm really curious to see what this new power can do in the older chapters (if I can in fact use it), and either way I now know that there's stuff in every level that I haven't found yet... but I'm equally curious about this next chapter.