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Level: TR Forge Advent Calendar 2012 - Somewhere in the Ice 2 back home search
Author(s): Piper
total rating:8.75 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
Akcy 10 10 9 8
Christian 8 8 10 9
DJ Full 8 8 8 8
dmdibl 8 10 9 8
Jay 9 10 9 9
Jose 8 9 10 10
Josey 9 10 9 6
manarch2 8 9 9 8
MichaelP 6 9 9 6
Phil 9 9 9 8
Ryan 9 9 9 8
TheStig 9 9 9 9
young Lara Croft 9 10 9 10
category averages
(13 reviews)
8.46 9.23 9.08 8.23

Reviewer's comments

"This is a quite complex Christmas level which provides some challenging sequences. The first part has you exploring icy caves, a peaceful outside area populated by penguins and a vast icy lake with many sneakily hidden openings, while the shorter second part takes place in an empty house which is mostly exploration based, but is spiced up with a few small puzzles and custom objects. The secrets are nicely placed and I enjoyed going after those. I enjoyed the gameplay and atmosphere very much overall, but I found it was a bit too dark in the first level for my taste, but it's not too bad elsewhere. There was also a maze for which a map was provided (but I followed the directions in the walkthrough) which wasn't too bad. An enchanting double level, definitely recommended." - Ryan (02-Dec-2017)

"A quite convincing icy scenery and a much better looking house both hide lots of puzzle creativity, from the cavern pullropes and frozen pickups to the explosionproof snowman and Penguin trade. Some items are hidden in far corners or masked by plants to make things unnecessarily difficult, what I can never agree with though, as well as with the design of some secrets - one of them is only accessible if the main gameplay thread is solved in certain order, and the other one is just buggy, though the remaining six provide a decent challenge and reward on their own. The house part and its surroundings require memorizing every square and spotting the difference between interactive and non-interactive gift box components. This is all solvable but still really hard - Lara is like Santa's elf busy with a secret task of preparing the whole house for Christmas, never to get noticed by the owners but also never to rest. After over an hour of thinking in several simultaneous directions to find these independent puzzle pieces I felt like a multicore processor. Still I somehow maintained 36 degrees, possibly because of all-surrounding ice cooling. And the fox was insanely cute, I think it should get some lines if the third part is out one day. SUMMARY: Might be an ordeal trap for Xmas relax expectators, but one worth to try if you're done resting and are ready to think a lot." - DJ Full (19-Aug-2015)

"Excelent work. Good ambience, good scenes, good objects... Some rooms are very dark but there are enough flares. I low a point in the gameplay 'cause the tedious tasks in the UW labyrinth, even with a map in hand. Another point 'cause the big BUG with the torch: I got the torch up the stairs and left it in the ground level of the house; then I went to the lake to do some tasks and when returning the torch wasn't there. I checked it several times and the torch always disappeared. So I had to reload an old savegame before entering the house and repeat again all the tasks to finish the level. Even so it's a fantastic level highly recommended." - Jose (26-Apr-2013)

"Piper's somewhere in the ice 2 gets the balance pretty much spot on for an advent level. While this is an ocassionally dark and dangerous place to explore, it's ambience and feel are also beautiful. It is simply somewhere worth getting lost in for a few hours. The environments are well crafted, with organic geometry, excellent lighting and well applied textures. Highlights for me include the under water maze. Normally this is something I loathe, but the author has thoughtfully spaced the air-pockets and designed the space in such a way that it took the usual frantic frustration away from the impact these sorts of puzzles can uually have. But crucially for me it's the sound track that really makes this level feel 'advent'. Sometimes it's easy to over-look the ambient sound when making a level, but I think Piper's selctions here are perfect. The wonderful piano track in the house meant I was happy to leave the level on the background while doing other things. The whole experience was soothing (even when hopelessly lost for a while trying to track down a few key items like the second billard ball in the house). All in all I netted just over 3 and half hours from Somewhere on the Ice 2. A great advent level that should definately be on your play-list! Highly recommended, Stiggy :)" - TheStig (02-Feb-2013)

"This two-part, two-hour adventure was something of a mixed bag for me. The longer beginning has you exploring an outdoor area and a vast lake that leads to a multitude of underground caverns. The gameplay is quite complex and confusing, and I'm glad I had Dutchy's excellent walkthrough to help guide me along. The concluding and shorter portion takes place in a more traditional Lara's home with Christmas trappings, but even here you have to return to the lake briefly to find an essential pickup. There are no enemies other than a rather persistent Arctic fox, and other fauna encountered in the lake area consist of penguins, orcas and a narwhal. There's a somewhat maddening underwater maze, but the builder has provided a map (which I didn't need because of Dutchy's written directions). You're treated to a true Christmas conclusion with the stuffing of stockings and the placing of presents. Appropriate for the season, or for that matter any time, provided you have the walkthrough handy to minimize the frustration factor. Highly recommended." - Phil (17-Jan-2013)

"I just finished this level. I know I might be the last person on earth to finish this one after Christmas and write this late review but it cannot go unnoticed. Spectacular adventure with interesting gameplay, a LOT of puzzles and things to go for. I had a ton of fun playing. Piper is an amazing builder! This level goes on the top 3 Christmas levels for this year! Outstanding!" - young Lara Croft (30-Dec-2012)

"Every now and then I come across a level which I consider very competently built, which provides great atmosphere, coherent setting, uses objects very well, has decent choice of music - in other words, all the ingredients for a great raising experience... but then it just does not work for me. This double level is a case in point, unfortunately. Part 1 (Frost) was a bit of an ordeal to play through for me and Part 2 (Homelike) I plain hated for its usual Lara's Home Level feature of having to search the house high and low for a series of obscure objects in obscure places. Add to that the almost constantly prevailing darkness and you can guess I was really, really glad when it finally ended after about 90 minutes. Now, make no mistake - As I said, this is objectively actually a great levelset. It has lots of exploration, jumps and platforming to do and the idea with the Penguin egg is a great one. But for each good gameplay element there is a bad one as well - like the underwater maze (even though a map is provided), several looong and tedious climbs, searching the big lake for yet another crack somewhere and so on. On the other hand - all these gripes will fade quickly and what will remain in memory is that really cute snowfox... Happy New Year!" - MichaelP (30-Dec-2012)

"Excellent pair of levels with lots to do, until everything come to its place. First we go through some icy land and caves to reach the house, where many things to do awaits Lara. Gameplaywise I preferred that latter parts around the house, more puzzles there, present hunting and packaging, and searching for the next step. I liked that only one torch was present, there was no need for more, and I had to bring it with me for the level changes won't make it disappear, as it is the players' responsibility to keep it. Texturing is fine, as far as I could see it, but too dark, fortunately the flare supply was enough, still could have been lighter and more cheerful. Luckily I played most of it in the night, probably that's why the darkness was tolerable, then finished it in the morning, and then I kept popping flares. A few minor bugs, Lara can stand on invisible platforms over the flat teles, and some of the ladders resist to the usual quick descend method. The seemingly static poles as pull chains perhaps wasn't a good solution. The 111 audio file is a strange mix, from one channel of the stereo file comes the music, from the other the ambient, I merged them to mono so the same stuff would come from all the speakers. Some charming touches, the cute Arctic Fox who wants to play and follows Lara, the egg to be returned to mommy in exchange for a tool. A charming level in the best Christmas level tradition, recommended, just play it in the night." - Akcy (29-Dec-2012)

"A very interesting game consisting of two levels, the player hast to change between them several times. There are lot of tasks to perform in cold, rough caves and underwater areas before we reach a manson with a christmas-like atmosphere. This is one of the levels I couldn't stop playing. Many gifts have to be collected on several floors, gameplay is quite innovative and shows an individual style. So we have to find some dynamite to bring an penguine-egg back to these very well created birds to receive the crowbar from them. There's a lot of creativity in this work. Without any doubt this is the best level from this very talented builder up to now. Regardless the fact that I don't like mazes it is a bit annoying to swim against invisible walls afte opening the related doors. It's not a new phenomenon, that torches disappear after a level change. As we have to interact between to levels in this game it could have made sense, to provide more than only one torch.... The atmosphere created in the manson is amazing. Highly recommended!" - Christian (20-Dec-2012)

"I enjoyed this follow up to the original Somewhere in the Ice even more than the first. The Christmassy atmosphere is beautifully created, there's lovely snow filled scenery to admire, a cute Arctic fox at one point and, in the second part, some delightful (and helpful) penguins. There are of course no enemies to encounter, but the gameplay is nicely rounded in all other aspects, including timed elements and puzzles, plus some most cleverly hidden secrets. I have to thank the builder for including a map of the underwater maze - I'm utterly useless at navigating mazes with the added hazard of drowning, so I appreciated the assistance. I particularly enjoyed exploring the house in the second part of the level, locating some super Christmas objects and figuring out where to use them is always fun. Highly recommended for some seasonal cheer." - Jay (18-Dec-2012)

"The game would be one of the best, if it was not so dark. As it is, the darkness spoils a big part of the fun. I loved in special the cute fox (cute, but not very nice, for it was always trying to push Lara down the loooooonnng ladder) and the finding and giving back of the penguin's egg. Very creative! If you don't mind dark places, you will enjoy very much this game. Recommended." - Josey (18-Dec-2012)

"In many ways these are just what Christmas levels should be with intriguing exploration in an icy environment, and cute companions like a white Arctic fox, or the well-done penguins, who figure into the plot. There is even a deep pool with orcas and a narwhal with its unicorn-like horn. This starts out being a hunt for levers, and jump switches can be all too easy to miss as they are now translucent ice. At first, play feels like it ought to be easy, and would indeed be fairly straightforward with a walkthrough, but Lara is often confronted with little puzzles. For instance, pull chains are now represented as poles, and it isn't clear how many times Lara has to pull them. In one place there are clever hints, but in another place it was tug repeatedly on a pole until a door opens. Secrets are good, and sometimes there is an audio clue of a trapdoor falling open. There were many places where I felt scores should be higher than what was given. One can't help but like the penguins. But there are still frustrations. There is so much darkness, or dark corners that figure in this author's design, so that I gave Lara hundreds of extra flares. There is a lack of camera clues, and this was particularly trying at the narwhal pool where several rooms can be reached underwater, and where some buttons give no clue what they do. In one such room Lara is supposed to climb a pole, then back flip/twist to grab a climbing surface, but this never came close to working. This caused a long delay. I found a savegame on the forum to handle this, but instead used a creative cheat to get Lara on top a pillar. There are other potential problems here. In another room Lara must push buttons first, then use jump switches--if she does it the other way around, half the button pairs become unreachable. The entry to the second house level is nearby. Lara needs to go back and forth between levels, but this may cause a single provided torch to disappear. I left the torch untouched until Lara concluded all her business back in the first level, meaning getting a screwdriver from penguins. The house level is a search for gifts, stocking stuffers, and billiard balls that was so involved that I was surprised when it finally came together, and Lara got to place everything. Looking back, this was quite enjoyable, although there may be times when the house section is baffling. These levels kept me playing, they can be beautiful and charming, but they took a full three and a half hours to get through. Recommended." - dmdibl (18-Dec-2012)

"Despite not having played the first version, I got myself to play this new release before playing the other one (took me a lot of willpower). I must say that I liked the first level quite a lot in general. It has a good mix of puzzles, platforming and exploration, and I never felt completely stuck in the first level which had a very nice flow. I'm known to not be a huge fan of underwater mazes, but there were enough airpockets and a map of the builder so that it was more fun than tedious. The penguins later in this level were hilarious and I liked how a nice substory was implemented to enhance the gameplay experience. You can find a lot of great custom objects here that, despite of the in comparison rather mediocre texturing on closer look and a tad too dark ambience (throughout both levels), created a rather modern feel to the level and a good atmosphere which also benefits from good sound usage (one cutscene was silent though). Although both levels in this game are interconnected, I think the second level was not as fun as the first as there was too much of to and fro in the house and many unobvious situations, like pushable knights that seemed to be just part of the decor or non-marked climbable raising blocks. A lot of doors in the whole mansion have to be opened after obtaining the screwdriver from the penguins (great scene) - most of them in places you already explored and you'll most likely forget those doors, so be observant and remember those locations, otherwise you will be stuck pretty often. The house setting is highly convincing though and I found the rooms to be quite nicely built, one small bug was the invisible block above the TV, but who cares. So this second level does lower my gameplay score by one point, but the first level is really enjoyable in my opinion. I found all seven secrets and really liked their hideout much with secrets you can see but have to figure out how to get (mostly with finding items and levers) and one small secret system (find one secret to find another). Altogether I spent 90 minutes in this charming level. My personal favourite from this year's advent levels until now." - manarch2 (15-Dec-2012)
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