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Level: LB Advent Calendar 2008 - Laras Magical Xmas Adventures 3 - Magic Forest back home search
Author(s): Eva
total rating:9.29 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
afzalmiah 8 10 10 10
Andzia9 10 10 10 10
Bene 9 10 10 10
Czar 10 10 10 10
DJ Full 9 10 10 9
dmdibl 9 9 10 10
eRIC 8 9 10 9
Gerty 9 9 10 9
jawi 10 10 9 9
Jay 9 10 10 10
Jerry 8 8 10 9
Jose 8 8 8 10
Leeth 8 9 8 9
manarch2 8 10 10 9
MichaelP 9 9 9 9
Mman 9 10 10 10
Moonpooka 10 10 10 10
Mytly 8 8 10 10
OverRaider 9 9 6 8
Phil 10 10 10 10
reborn1995 9 9 8 8
Ruben 10 10 10 10
Ryan 9 9 10 10
Shady Croft 9 9 9 9
Shandroid 10 9 9 9
TombRaiderTim 8 10 9 10
TrueRaider 9 10 10 10
Zhyttya 8 9 7 9
category averages
(28 reviews)
8.93 9.39 9.36 9.46

Reviewer's comments

"The next level takes Lara to a snowy forest with good atmosphere and calming sounds. This level is also set at night like the previous level. Good puzzles to solve with the torch and a few well hidden secrets." - Ryan (29-Mar-2016)

"On this third part of the adventure Lara roams a forest with a bit more of a dark atmosphere, compared to the other parts. I don't have much complains except for the atmosphere. The background music chosen to this part was definitely not the best choice, in all honesty, it ruined a bit that Christmas feeling you were having from the previous parts." - Zhyttya (10-Dec-2015)

"This is a level where you can get lost on the map it self or the atmosphere. You can pass a lot of time just roaming around with no clue of what to do. The mechanics were great but some of there were a bit to random like the way to kill the fire. And you can pass the beginning of the level without catching the Laser sight.. But ignoring that, the level design was great, loved the little details but i think it could had better textures.. Really nothing that big to complain, i just think its not fair to the other levels to give higher than this.. Still, was REALLY enjoyable to play" - Leeth (10-Dec-2015)

"The next part of this adventure takes us to the nice small-village-like Magic Forest level which is visually very impressive but only visually!!! Why is here a catacomb background sound playing? It really really didn`t fit the environments and fully destroyed the atmosphere...Yes I know, I could have change it by renaming that wav file or replace it by any which it fits but!!! But why should players be forced to do that? And other thing is that my rating is the rating for the game as it is was created and intended. Next thing what really frustrated me was one camera hint missing!!! (Well I explain it: warning spoil! There is one flame puzzle, in which you lit some kind of pot and a flame appears somewhere near which you must folow and another flame appears and so on but how could I suppose to know it was intended? I thought it was just a "flame bug" which randomly appears in a level as I`ve seen it many times in many levels!!! So I was running in this level like headless chicken several hours not knowing what to do!!! just one simple camera would solve this problem. Also I spotted several texture mistakes, usually I can forgive some mistakes which are just minor or few, but here are quite many and quite big. Well thats really sad that a wrong choise of background music and no camera hint can lower score so much. because even if you think I hated this level thats not true, I liked it as there are several creative ideas, puzzles, tasks to accomplish, perfect looking areas and most of the five secrets are nicely hidden I mean really nicely. 9/9/6/8" - OverRaider (11-Dec-2013)

"The most complex level in this pack. Lara has to find two keys and two crosses at the beginning, but that does not quite tell how much work and thorough exploration has to be done, as the areas are very huge and it's not clear what to do for the first time, often not even if you have done all the things, you don't know that you have. Again, there were nice ideas in it, like the fire path or many different puzzles like the ice blocks or the many things that can be lit by torches. I also liked some doors open by using four switches or four torch lits in a certain area, which had to be searched for quite a while. There also was a fun slope room with accurate jumps to perform and a pseudo maze for the second key, that never was hard because there were no multiple ways to go. The atmosphere throughout the whole level was yet again perfect, but, just like DJ Full, I absolutely can't see why two or three secrets have to be found using unmarked ladders. Why not placing them in dark crawlspaces or - just somewhere else? These unmarked ladders are a big no for me, just because some players never would get secrets without the walkthrough. The witch house was very interestingly done, with a firepot that has to be shot, but how do we know that? Tried for ages to get in the crawlspace without it, until I used the walkthrough. All in all a good level, but it is a bit less good than the two previous." - manarch2 (20-Apr-2011)

"I really enjoyed this level. You are in a magical forest (obviously) trying to find the third altar piece. The texturing was really good and the lighting was very colourful. I didn't really like the gamepley because it was hard to know where to go but I gave it a big point because of the amazing rooms and puzzles. Recommended" - afzalmiah (04-Mar-2011)

"NOTE: Splitting this project up into four parts is misleading - many players won't notice it's a whole serious levelset. THIS REVIEW EXISTS IN 4 COPIES, AS IT DESCRIBES THE WHOLE PROJECT. ALSO, ALL 4 LEVELS SHARE THE SAME RATING, BECAUSE RATING THEM SEPARATELY HAS ALREADY MADE THE WHOLE ADVENTURE SERIOUSLY UNDERRATED.
The Village
A hub level. From here, we take on main adventures, one by one. Also, here we watch a great ending cutscene. Some puzzles are like never before - seems they were designed especially for this Advent. Solving them, You have to be as creative as their author constructing them. When I entered the forge and I realized how I am supposed to get the key, I was shocked by masha's creativity. Of course, the initial pushable is very misleading. Honestly, I found it the most efficient gameplay killer. How one is supposed to know where to place those cubes? I was so desperated I found it... but anyone not desperated enough may bin the game in the very beginning, losing the opportunity to watch all the following marvels. And lighting... Another level where it looks pretty, but often makes no sense.
The Golden Castle
The dragon is called Herman. HERMAN, but for some reason I still call him Raymond. Great work with that voice - that dialogue brought this part to life, and the impression remains till we finally feed Ray... I mean Herman and watch him fly away. In that moment, I don't know if I wanted to smile or cry. But I know it was beautiful. Palace roof is stunning, with a written date of erection and making use of it. Also, the golden cat, modified Winston, the cake, the ghost... everything matches everything, creating perfect unity and I'm sure there is no other palace similar to this one in the whole custom level world.
Magic Forest
Feels like a grandpa of Mystica. I can see no better comparison. Same atmosphere. Less polygons, so it isn't lagging. Also, the most challenging secret is placed in this part. Not a very challenging one, but You need to be observant. The only flaw is unmarked ladders... Why, oh, why?
Chapel in the Mountains
I like the landscape, giving an illusion of open space - it remains even if one gets to the end of graphics. I always like that feeling I can go everywhere, and that's why I was annoyed I couldn't get to the top of the frozen waterfall... Anyway, nearly every peak is accessible. Unfortunately, they all look flat and empty. Also, the house looks like it was made of plastic, not wood, killing atmosphere. Also, sounds are too "sharp" (it's good to rip old SFX from TR2, but in this version some samples hurt ears). All these issues made me take several breaks from the game, what didn't happen in any other level of this project. The new jumpswitches and their animation is great, also the camera sequence showing spikes emerging faster and faster. But the most thrilling, simply perfect trap is the boulder. With music warning a player just a split second before the ball falls, Spongebob couldn't synchronize them better (clap, clap).
SUMMARY: Here, authors of really relaxing Silent Snowy Place - Clara and masha - join their building power with another two creators - Eva and Spongebob - and together bring us something really challenging. And remarkable. What can help feel true ADVENT atmosphere more than making villagers WAIT for their relics to be returned to their church? This is not a raid (which is a robbery), but rather an anti-raid (which is a retrieval) - an inverted kind of such mission. Still, usual raiding feelings are present (just in case of "+" and "-", the opposite signs sharing the same absolute value). Explore various mystical places - a forest, a village, a mystic palace and some ruins, each of them of different atmosphere - but watch out! The artifacts are well hidden there, so completing this quest will require lots of thinking, with opening mind in every possible direction (unless You wanna get stuck) - thus, if You're a beginner, don't bother today, but remember this game and return to it when You are an experienced raider. Or anti-raider. That day, LMXA will burn lots of Your neurons, but will also leave lots of satisfaction when You make it to the very end. The best Xmas project I've played so far. It prompted me to play all remaining Advent levels soon, to make sure if I am right or not." - DJ Full (13-Feb-2011)

"Yet another level in this game that features a large 'open' area, which is great in terms of looks and atmosphere, but very confusing in terms of gameplay. The flyby at the beginning does provide some clues, but I finally just had to refer to the walkthrough regularly, as a lot of the gameplay is illogical (why does standing on flames makes flames appear in the snow nearby?), and there are so many switches and so few camera clues. Still, there is quite a lot of enjoyable gameplay as well, for example, shooting a pot of boiling water to put out the fire it is hanging over; and a nice slope jumping challenge. I arrived in this level with one cross already in my inventory - perhaps this is because I completed the previous level 'illegally'? In any case, this meant that I managed to get the altar piece after getting only one cross. I did the tasks for the second cross anyway, so as to experience the level fully.
I am glad there are no enemies, though I kept expecting to run into wolves any moment, because of the wolf howls in the ambient sound! The winter-wonderland atmosphere is simply superb. Some of the secrets are nice side-puzzles, like the one for which you have to light several wood-piles and a candle. But the others are illogical, like shooting ice crystals high up on a wall (who would even think that they were shootable?!) or unfair (note to builders: hiding stuff in pitch-black crawlspaces up unmarked climbable walls is never a good idea). Needless to say, I wouldn't have found either of these without the walkthrough.
Overall: Lots of eye candy, tons of atmosphere, plus some good gameplay - on the whole this level is very nice, albeit a bit confusing." - Mytly (05-May-2010)

"A more open level set around some church-like structures and buildings around some snowy landscapes and caves. You seem to start with no weapons for some reason, although this doesn't change too much (as there's no combat), and you get a revolver soon for puzzle solving. I was a little creeped out by some big spiderwebs in a couple of areas, but thankfully the Spiders have apparently gone on vacation elsewhere (the webs also seemed to have interestingly been intentionally placed to point out certain semi-hidden areas). Again there's a variety of tasks, from timed puzzles and block puzzles to a navigation puzzle in a large cave. Things toughen up a bit here and some of the jumping puzzles in particular are quite a bit more challenging than the earlier levels. I did find one shootable very obscure, but when I think about it it does make some logical sense. Another very high-quality level for the pack. I think the theme isn't quite as strong as the previous levels, but it's still better than most." - Mman (23-Apr-2010)

"This time we arrived at small but superb village. And there is wonderful moonlit night. The is a lot things to do. We can visit witch's house and amazing church. The scene with growing roses was perfect. Atmosphere was nice and peaceful." - Andzia9 (12-Dec-2009)

"I love snow based levels and this is one which has that christmas feeling in it, the atomosphere makes you want to be cautious at all times, also some good puzzles to figure out along the way. The enemies are good but i felt there could maybe have been a few more in game. The textures are laid out well and the lighting uses colours to make the level a more cold atomosphere. Some very well hidden secrets to find on this level plus the sounds are ok. Overall, this is a level you would want to play as a good little christmas raid." - TombRaiderTim (04-May-2009)

"This was another one that had me scratching my head a few times and going back and fro a lot, but all in a good course. The whole"flames in the snow" part eluded me big time though, but for the rest it was nice to figure out what to do. Very nice puzzles but I could use a bit more camera work, especially with the pushable block puzzle." - Gerty (21-Apr-2009)

"Well, this was not exactly what I pictured when I read the title "Magica forest". I was hoping for more trees, haunting and surreal snowy forest-y setting, but its still a great level and you get an great atmosphere of isolation. This level ,I thought, was more opened and just a little bit more complex than the previous two, but that's how I like my level, and Eva did not disappoint me at all with this one. You'll have to complete various and different tasks, torch puzzle, timed sequences and push-blocks to progress, as well as innovative ideas (one involving putting out a fire which has me stuck for a day...clever ;-) ). The texturing is carefully applied and varied with snowy, caves, cathedral and wooden cottages settings and lighting is just as great with bluish, cold-giving effects, and orange, warmth-giving lights. The author used a big set of objects that really added details to the level and were beautiful (and even made my computer slow down...but just for a bit). I definitely enjoyed this part, and the series was still going great. Another excellent level by Eva." - Shady Croft (26-Jan-2009)

"Another good level from this great adventure. No-lineal, you can explore a lot of places and sure that you'll have to go back looking for missed items; another times it's not easy to figure out what to do. Again, nice objects, not difficult tasks with good puzzles, excelent textured... I missed some more cameras with certain actions to help you a bit and some more musics in certain places. At the end, if you want to abandone the level with the torch, the game crashes." - Jose (23-Jan-2009)

"The look of this level is beautiful with a nice snowy atmosphere around a witch's cottage. The torch is the most important and mainly used item here and you better keep it with you while wandering around in order not to run back and fro to get it back where you left it or run around to find another one. On the downside the level is quite confusing. Lighting a fire bowl (nothing happens), then find a switch (nothing happens), find another fire bowl to light (still nothing happens) and so on and so on, and suddenly more or less incidentally you find yourself in some new area where you have to do some new things, find a key or two, while the fire bowl and switch quests are still incomplete. To cut it short this level is quite non-linear and very often I was wandering around not knowing what to do and where to go next. But this aside part 3 was my favourite level anyway as I found it to be the most atmospheric one out of the whole set." - Jerry (10-Jan-2009)

"Very well crafted areas for this mission where Lara will visit snowy clearing or caves , some house where a witch formerly lived , and a church. There are fine puzzles and good use of some objects as in the other levels of this Christmas adventure, but I found the gameplay a bit confusing and requiring much exploration and backtracking. I would have appreciated more camera guidance, for example when the pushable block is pushed over the raising block until the patterned tile, no camera show what happened. There are good timed tasks to do and a good use of the torch , a cave with some acrobatics which is always welcome, atmosphere is pretty good and I quite like the new textures used." - eRIC (04-Jan-2009)

"This review addresses Magic Forest, the third level in the Magical Christmas Adventures foursome. To me this level stands head and shoulders above the rest, and the only way I can convey this numerically is by awarding it top scores while awarding the other levels something less than top scores (although considered in isolation, I imagine that The Village and The Golden Castle would each merit at least one 10 in the four rating categories). Here you have just about everything: inventive puzzles, delightful seasonal music, grand vistas with stunning graphics, nifty timed runs, you name it. Moonpooka has given us a wonderfully clear walkthrough which takes all the worry out of navigating this complicated and enchanting game map. Highest recommendations." - Phil (29-Dec-2008)

"This was my least favorite of the level series. It's still a very fun level, but the least xmassy of the lot. i appreciate that the timed runs are not maddeningly difficult (some builders suck almost all the fun out of their levels by making those runs nearly impossible). This level had the least plot emphasis out of the four and i guess that's what it's missing more than anything. Maybe a long conversation with a witch and more of a story about hiding the altar piece would've helped(?)" - reborn1995 (25-Dec-2008)

"Nice christmas level. But I don't like background music. It isn't magical enough ;-). Textures are good but there are some places were they are stretched and they don't look well. In gameplay especially good are timed runs. I love them. It's really good work. Forest is magnificient! Lighting is perfect. I enjoyed this level." - jawi (22-Dec-2008)

"Third part of the wonderful XMas Series compiled by Masha , Clara , Eva and Spongebob. I will not go into details as every part is a marvellous adventure of its own. Thank You Eva for this Christmas Present , Frohe Weihnachten !" - Ruben (18-Dec-2008)

"This was probably my favourite of the level set, and here Lara has to find the 3rd altar piece. The level is set in a snowy abandoned village which was once inhabited by a witch. The witch hid the altar piece and guarded it well, but nothing is ever to hard for our Lara to find is it? And in this level she sure has some wonderful exploring to do. There are various rooms off of the main room, and to start with there is a timed block run to do. Lara will be searching for keys, the revolver and sight, the crowbar, two crosses and two roses. The roses are home grown and this was a most spectacular addition to this level. I think this will always be a fav of mine as it was great fun as well as being very beautiful. Thank you to all concerned for this 3rd advent adventure." - Moonpooka (13-Dec-2008)

"When Lara first arrived here, I wasn't thinking this to be a very magical level, as it seemed very dark and kind of scary! I was half-expecting a giant spider to jump out at me from the darkness. BUT never fear, this IS a Christmas level, and although the level is dark, it is meant to be mysterious. The puzzles are very unique, if a bit vague...follow the fires! This was a bit difficult to figure out in a lot of places, but highly rewarding in the end, with very nice objects." - Shandroid (13-Dec-2008)

"Magic indeed - beautiful and fascinating, with some extremely clever and unusual puzzles to solve. I must especially commend the delightful rose puzzle, which is both charming and highly original. This is quite an involved and at times confusing section and I really had to keep my wits about me to find the object of my quest and return to the village." - Jay (11-Dec-2008)

"A little bit trickier than the other levels in the series, but equally fun. Make sure you look around carefully wherever you are as even the smallest nook and cranny can be vital to progression. I did like this aspect though as it was a very rewarding feeling when you finally found something you knew you had to get. The setting is simply superb, again with custom objects galore. The part where you follow the flames across the snow was very clever I thought, as was the rose puzzle and having to put out a fire to get behind it. The background audio really makes you feel like you are in the forest, although I couldn't tell whether it was a cat or an owl who makes noise now and then. But anyway, another great adventure in the set." - TrueRaider (11-Dec-2008)

"A level with Christmas magic and fantasy. I loved the design and appearance of this level from the first moment, and such charming touches as the roses growing on the vines at the end. The timed runs, such as the one with the swing from the moon, are fun. But I found myself wandering back and forth, treading the same ground again and again. The shootable pot on the fire is a clever idea. But is it obvious that Lara should run through holy fires, when normally it's best to keep Lara away from fire? If the player misses this, it is impossible to reach the second cross, and the game comes to a total halt. I probably spent twice the time playing this level as any of the others. And when I replayed it, I spent almost as much time going through it as I did the first time. That is because I was looking for the last two secrets in this entire adventure series and, frankly, the last two secrets are downright unfair (the one at the Blue Angel, and the one near the end). And here I thought Lara was supposed to be playing a soothing, sweet, and relaxing Christmas level. Superior level, highly recommended, with great appearance, texturing, and atmosphere, but may take a bit of hunting and searching to find all the levers and switches." - dmdibl (11-Dec-2008)

"By the time the player reaches this, the third level in this years advent calendar level set, one is left wondering if it can get any better. As soon as we see the sky here, enjoyment is intensified yet further. Quite simply, it looks fantastic! I can't say enough good things about this level. The background audio is great, with a lone owl hooting intermittently. The lighting is just fantastic, adding much to the sense of enchantment pervading all the levels thus far. Exploration is a sheer pleasure in almost every way. All the secrets are very well placed, again allowing the player to feel some real achievement at collecting each of them. The maze in this level, whilst again not really being a maze, was a pleasure to navigate, being generally exciting in its atmosphere and not in the least taxing to the player. Granted, there did seem to be much to-ing and fro-ing, which ordinarily is a great annoyance, but in this level, it simply meant getting another eyeful of the delicious surroundings that Lara is in. One slight criticism is the first push block that the player has to push into the covered lean-to at the side of a building. This really is a little too long a distance for what can so often be a very tedious task. Really builders, keep push block tasks to a minimum, or spend some time making a double speed animation for the more complex or longer pushes you want in your levels. This level, quite independent of the others, proved more of a challenge both in terms of secrets and the finding and placement of puzzle elements. But this was never reduced to the point of irritation, for so pleasurable an experience it is to be 'in' this level, that one is always left with a sense of calm and enjoyment. Frankly, I really didn't want to leave this level at all, and found myself wishing that it would have been twice the generous size that it already is. *The set is spoiled slightly by the lack of uniformity in the menu items as was having pistols taken away between levels." - Czar (10-Dec-2008)

"*wow* Ghosts of snow and fire ghosts, a nicely placed first key and interesting timed sequences and a boiling water shatter pot, all set in a lovely snowy atmosphere - wonderful. Even if it did take me rather too long to figure that one out(lol), it was expertly done with the new object. The area of the second key was impressive and just plain fun. Innovative and a delight, perfectly fitting the story line and continuing the enchantment, with secret placement not too easy or too difficult, again, perfect. Really done well, Eva. Thank you." - Bene (10-Dec-2008)

"It is actually not easy to describe the beauty of this four level Christmas set, which consists of four individually just wonderful levels that in their entirty work together even better. These levels have it all - generally interesting gameplay that is not too hard and not too easy, beautiful and original custom objects and animations, a simple but effective storyline and they just ooze the Christmas mood from beginning to end.
Part 3, Magic Forest, is by far Eva's most accomplished work to date. I found the snowy landscape to be crafted in a very convincing way and the tasks are varied and interestig, even though a bit much relying on lighting things with the torch maybe. There is also a little twist given to each of the timed sequences which makes gameplay more interesing and the secrets, of which I found 4, are not easily to be had. About an hour spent in this part." - MichaelP (09-Dec-2008)
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