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Level: LB Advent Calendar 2013 - Laras Adventure back home search
Author(s): Eelkemama
total rating:7.79 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
Christian 8 7 7 8
DJ Full 8 7 6 7
EssGee 8 7 7 7
Gerty 7 8 8 7
Jay 8 8 8 7
Jose 7 8 8 8
Josey 10 10 9 8
manarch2 7 7 7 7
MichaelP 7 8 8 7
Nina Croft 9 9 9 8
Orbit Dream 8 7 8 9
Phil 8 8 8 9
Ryan 8 8 8 9
young Lara Croft 8 7 7 7
category averages
(14 reviews)
7.93 7.79 7.71 7.71

Reviewer's comments

"This is not a traditional Advent level, although it may be classed as such. Instead it is a nice adventure set in South America and uses the BtB 2008 texture set. The first part is quite short and should be seen as a warm up. The second part is the bulk of the adventure with many tasks and puzzles to solve. At the end the party starts and the level ends. Good fun." - Ryan (17-Jun-2016)

"Another good level from this author. Sometimes no-lineal but you'll never have to return to the same places many times. Not difficult tasks, the gameplay is not very fluid 'cause sometimes there are important items placed in ground floor instead of a pedestal or well visible places; the small brown keys were very hard to spot. Another times is difficult to discover moveable blocks or shootable objects. Environment is fine, and generally the musics are well chosen, except the background music for the third level. Anyway an adventure to enjoy and recommended." - Jose (20-Jan-2014)

"Nice adventure in Peru style and if you played some of her levels you know to look for sneaky levers. I have to admit there weren't that many this time around and sure enough I missed two of them. Teach me to look around a bit more. Luck was with me on finding the key as I was pondering what to do now and happen to have Lara look at the floor and Lo and behold.. Finding quite some artefacts and going through quite a lot of puzzles made it a pleasant hour and a half for me." - Gerty (20-Dec-2013)

"This one has surprisingly good gameplay as for such a small map made of already known stuff. Lighting is still really flat, but at least I didn't need any flares, and the only pack obtained in the end didn't feel late at all. I found all secrets and enjoyed the custom 005.wav, however I seriously missed some obligatory pickup/solution/reveal theme and the looped Lambada tune rather disturbed me. Some flyby cameras seemed unnecessary, but I also didn't need more hints, as I was never lost (here I recall e.g. the shootswitch clue). One remarkable fact is although the setting is Peruvian, it consists of no traps, unusually for this particularly bloody class. SUMMARY: There's nothing challenging in this game, but You can always count on Eelkemama when it comes to fast-paced and relaxing games of "get home" objective, suitable for busy Advent time barely allowing us to play something difficult instead." - DJ Full (19-Dec-2013)

"I always had probelms with the structure of the levels by this author, the logical composition of gameplay. I likded this ittle adventure; Lara has a lot of items to find, a lot of puzzles to solve to finally come home for Christmas in time. The classic concept with a main area, from where several tasks have to be performed is spiced up here with some refreshing ideas. All in all a nice peaceful game!" - Christian (17-Dec-2013)

"This counts as a four-part level, although only the second one has any real meat to it. The first three have to do with Christmas only if it happens to be late December in Peru, but the final segment (which doesn't appear to have a finish trigger) definitely puts you in a festive mood. I found four of the five secrets, which is considerably above my usual average. The first level takes five or ten minutes, is easy and linear, and provides at least one secret. I call it a confidence booster. Then you get into the real guts of the adventure, a complicated second level with a cavernous hub area from which you work. There are some real brain teasers here, and I had an enjoyable time trying to sort things out on my own (with occasional resort to the stuck thread) without having a walkthrough close at hand. I was a bit put off by the builder's violation of a cardinal rule here: don't let the player get in a place where he needs a previously obtainable item that he can't now retrace his steps to get. Part of my foul mood was undoubtedly attributable to the fact that I was one of several players who found himself so stuck. However, replaying that part of the game wasn't unduly burdensome, and I soon found myself enthralled once more by the gameplay. The third level offered more of the same, but it was about as brief as the first level. The concluding part makes you try to figure out a way into Lara's warm and cozy house before you freeze out there in the fenced-in courtyard. I was stumped for a while before I realized you had to combine two items before they would work on the snowman. A very nice enemy-free collection of levels to enjoy as we approach Christmas. Recommended." - Phil (17-Dec-2013)

"First of all, before I start with the review, I would like to make an announcement: the builder DID NOT make ANY cardinal mistake with that key; if you happen not to pick up that key at the entrance, before the pit, you have ANOTHER key near three sequence buttons (as well as another additional option to return to the first side of the pit). So, it is not a bug, or a cardinal mistake of the builder, it is the rule "best played with open eyes" disregarded by the players and reviewers (sorry, Phil). Now, back to the review: I notice that the levels of Eelkemama are better and better with each release, so we can here see a rather nicely built level, unlike most of other Eelkemama's levels whose geometry was a bit too blocky. However, there are still some elements typical for the levels of this builder. Just like in all other levels of hers, we now also have many keys, puzzles, pressure plates, side missions, and above all, very fluent gameplay. The level is not at all hard to play, and you can progress with almost no problems at all, provided that you open your eyes while playing ;) While playing the first level which is straightforward and typical for this builder, you don't even imagine the joy with which you will play the second level. The second level is everything but straightforward. There are many items to collect, but you can do it in any order you want. There are a couple of keys and buttons a bit hard to find, but that is just another positive moment of the level, which prevents it from being too easy. There are almost no enemies (except two wolves you don't need to kill), the level is decorated, but not excessively, and the secrets are very easy to find (it is Christmas after all). The builder provided sufficient camera hits and the overall atmosphere would have been perfect if there had not been that Lambada track that was completely out of place (and time). Lighting is decent, and the only downside would be texturing. The builder chose nice textures, but still applied them with cracks and with not enough attention. And also, THERE IS A FINISH TRIGGER for those who play the game with the eyes open (again, sorry, Phil). In technical sense, this levelset is PERFECT. There is a necessary balance, the gameplay is fluent, there are no bugs or glitches, nothing is overdone, and maybe the only problem is the association of this level with Christmas, which I failed to understand. Nevertheless, I can recommend this level to everyone, as it is immensely interesting, fluent and a school example of well-balanced level we can so rarely find nowadays." - Nina Croft (17-Dec-2013)

"A fairly easy game from this builder, with not so many well-hidden items (but enough to let me be stuck several times); especially the puzzles don't take much to solve which I found a bit disappointing and most of the time you'll just find and use items. Secrets weren't very well hidden either. The looks are solidly crafted, the architecture is not as blocky anymore and more realistic but the lighting is not very well done and looking rather bland. Also, the sound choice is not always to the level's benefit, especially in the third level. I only praised a level for using the Lambada track in a perfect moment, but using it as a looping audio is rather annoying, even if this particular level is short at about seven minutes and actually the most interesting gameplaywise. This level has some low moments and some better ones, but overall it feels slightly above average and homogenous in any regard, which explains my ratings. Finished in nearly one hour." - manarch2 (17-Dec-2013)

"This xmas gift level was a nice surprise. I guess I was expecting a single level, but I got four levels. Whoopee! Happy Days. Granted a couple of them are shortish, but yeah it was a nice surprise. Lara has ventured off to Peru for some quick pre-Christmas tomb-raiding, and wants to get back home to the manor in time for her Christmas celebrations. Whilst the texturing and lighting and thus the atmosphere could do with improvement, particularly in the cave settings, the gameplay is fast-paced and poses enough challenge to keep you interested and generally feeling like you are being rewarded for persistent searching. I got stuck a couple of times but I felt it was player fault for not paying attention rather than any design error. Overall, I enjoyed the mix of gameplay elements. A couple of my pet peeves found their way into the game - cryptic wall levers with no wall slots and an item that appears when a solid block is lowered - physical impossibility. It's lack of attention to detail and is an area that could be improved on future levels. The audio choices were at time a bit odd - something more fitting the Peru setting may have been a better choice. I found three secrets and had a good giggle when I finally delivered Lara safely home to her xmas party. Thank you Eelke for a nice xmas present and enjoyable raid." - EssGee (16-Dec-2013)

"I can testify that this level was pure joy for me, I won't even complain about it not being snowy nor will I pick on the linear play. Initially, I thought this was a single level, but I was pleasantly surprised to discover that it was split into parts, thus making me want to progress and solve the puzzles to advance further. The complexity is fairly easy, objects were placed mainly in the vicinity of keyholes or slots. Another thing I liked was when Lara arrived home, honestly I wasn't expecting that bit, I thought that after boarding on the helicopter the level would end, so I was surprised to see the snowy yard in front of the manor and solve the snowmen puzzles.Over the course of my play time I managed to get 4 out of 5 secret plates. One bizarre thing I encountered was the menu music at the beginning which didn't fit into place at least for me." - young Lara Croft (16-Dec-2013)

"Good grief, I actually found all five secrets - now I really know it's Christmas! In the main, this is not a Christmas level, set as it is in Peru, but it has the peaceful element to it, as the action is enemy free and Lara only has to get her pistols out to shoot inanimate objects. Otherwise, the gameplay is nicely varied, with plenty of exploring, some agility tests, well hidden switches etc., and the three switch puzzle put to good use (although I could have done without the relentlessly jolly music). There are several medipacks to collect along the way, but you won't need them. The short end section where Lara returns home is a nice nod to the season, with the snow laden grounds, snowmen to decorate and a decidedly eclectic bunch of guests waiting to greet her. Wonderful fun and a lovely treat for Advent." - Jay (16-Dec-2013)

"This is quite coincidentally the second Eelkemama level that I've played in the space of a week;and in many ways it was similar to the first in its mis-advertising as a Seasonal level,as 95% of it takes place in rainy South America;but this time around I enjoyed it a great deal - probably due to the careful texturing ad overall attention to detail in the scenery and gameplay ideas.The puzzles and challenges have been well devised and are creative and full of variety.Pushable puzzles,a mirror room,a timed run,switch conundrums,and loads and loads of exploring every nook and cranny for cunningly placed levers(and secrets;of which,probably for the first time ever,I managed to collect the whole lot!) There were only two elements that backfired:a shatterable object that looked just like all the other non-shatterables;and a hard to discern key which,if not picked up,causes a potentialy horrible game-stopping bug.If it were not for these,the first three levels would be hard indeed to fault.Despite the complete lack of enemies,I found the atmosphere in the large second level to be quite gripping;although the third was slightly spoiled by the bafflingly incongruous choice of The Lambada as background accompanying music.The final level (which has nothing at all to do with the previous three)is a short and quirky excursion into the 'do something silly and a door will open' style of gameplay,leading to the surprise revelation that Lara wants to spend Christmas with a Viking (among others). A few more camera hints would not have gone amiss,neither would the inclusion of one or two opponents in order to ramp up the excitement quotient a little (I had to make do with shooting harmless dogs in an enclosure in order to satisfy my need for bloodlust);but overall this was a great fun and very well made four-level adventure which kept me thoroughly entertained and absorbed for an entire afternoon.Highly recommended!" - Orbit Dream (16-Dec-2013)

"I always enjoy Eelke's levels, and this one didn't disappoint me. The puzzles and gameplay in general are very smart indeed, always bringing forth the unexpected and challenging the player; see, for example, the scene of the flying trunk that opens a passage; or the high room where Lara is certain there is no way of climbing... but... is it true? No, I won't spoil the surprise. In resume, the level is full of instances such as these, and is best played with the eyes fully opened. There was only one thing that I didn't approve: all of us know that Eelke is expert in hiding items, even when they are at plain view. So, she did hide a key by camouflage, and my Lara passed to the other side of a room without this key - only to find out that, after finishing a lot of tasks, she couldn't go back because she didn't have the key! It was not fair, there should have been some other way of going back. But this is a minor point. And concerning the fact that this is more a Peru level than a Christmas one, who cares? It is perfect! Thank you very much and a GREAT CHRISTMAS!" - Josey (16-Dec-2013)

"Another nice offering from the LB Advent Calendar, although it has to be mentioned that the only Christmas seasonal element in here is maybe Lara's red coloured fingernails and of course the final scene when she gets home into her snowy manor. The majority of this adventure plays in Peru though, with a quick linear initial level to get you to the rather interesting second level where you get to explore quite a bit for four beetles (and several other vital items) and gameplay is quite fun, with some good camera hints added and the not often used 3 button puzzle added as well. Once you manage to make your way through here another quick level follows where you need to collect three ruby cubes to reach your helicopter and then in part four some funny actions are required to get into you own house. Whatever may have been left of Christmas spirit was probably ruined by the odd choice of using the Lambada tune as background audio in part 3 - lol - but all in all I was really nicely entertained by this raid of a little over an hour. Missed 1 of the 5 secrets..." - MichaelP (15-Dec-2013)
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