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Level: TR Forge Advent Calendar 2015 - The Forge back home search
Author(s): Codo
total rating:9.13 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
Bigfoot 10 10 10 10
DJ Full 8 9 9 9
Gorty 9 10 10 10
Jay 8 9 9 9
Jose 8 10 9 10
Josey 8 10 9 10
manarch2 8 9 9 9
Mezcal 9 10 10 9
MichaelP 8 9 10 9
Mytly 8 9 10 10
Phil 9 9 10 9
Rambo 8 9 9 8
requiemsoul 7 9 9 9
Ryan 9 9 10 9
category averages
(14 reviews)
8.36 9.36 9.50 9.29

Reviewer's comments

"One of the most beautiful and most memorable levels I've played in a long time. I like the comment of a previous reviewer about what drugs the author had in his bloodstream. It starts with the probably greatest title flyby in TRLE history. The level centers around something like a princess castle or house with so many surreal elements that it just blows away. The design and architecture is very good and also very unique. The objects used are just fascinating. I think that most of them are new and exclusive for this level. The game could be classified partially as a joke level and I must say that the game reminds me heavily of the recent ˝Cakeworld˝, but just with proper texturing and light. Some fine texturing errors can be noticed occasionally. One negative point I can say about the level is the overall chaotic vibe it has making the gameplay sometimes too chaotic and hard to follow. Later, once I got used to the idea of the author, I had more fun than I thought I would have. The gameplay is also very very innovative and often non-classic. The light was great and turned out extremely good with some fog elements. Maybe a bit more diversity on some parts in the light would be great. Some rooms did too empty and uncreative compared to the whole level as one. I liked the inside parts less than the outside parts. Overall, a masterpiece of level building. Very memorable, unique and innovative. Highly recommended !" - Gorty (13-Nov-2017)

"No idea what Codo was smoking when she built this enchanting yet surreal floating islands adventure. If you're afraid of heights turn away, but you'd be missing one hell of an adventure. Beautifully textured and lit nice yet simple gameplay, save for a few tricky jumps. Recommended." - Ryan (16-Jun-2016)

"Gameplay & Puzzles: Good varied gameplay with clever jumps, puzzles and everything a good level needs. Perhaps a bit easy and short but it's good. Enemies, Objects & Secrets: No enemy except some you can't shoot, a good idea. The objects are fancy and plenty and the secrets are well hidden. Atmosphere, Sound & Cameras: Good atmosphere with a floating islands design, very interesting views and architecture is alright. The sounds and cameras are good to very good too. Almost perfect. Lighting & Textures: Textures are very faultlessly applied, very colourful views and the lighting is good but not perfect, it could have more highlights so that the parts differ from each other. Total: 8,5/10, a very good level." - Rambo (13-Apr-2016)

"The setting of this level reminds me quite a bit of the Magic Infinity level of King Arthur Project: a highly colourful, surreal, space-like place with floating islands. A floating islands setting always makes for a number of great platforming opportunities, and this level does not disappoint in this regard. There are several interesting ideas, such as the wind spirals that enable Lara to jump higher and giant floating flowers that form platforms that Lara can jump on. The indoor areas are good too, and involve some timed runs and puzzles, such as pushing a boulder down onto a glass floor to smash it. The planets puzzle at the end is very confusing I arranged them in what seemed to be a logical order, only to find out from the walkthrough that I was supposed to arrange them based on the very obscure hints in the note found much earlier.
Lara starts off the level with no weapons, but gets pistols halfway through. These are used only for shattering objects; though she encounters large dragonflies near the end, she is unable to shoot them. Im not sure why the builder would choose to include both enemies and weapons in a level, but then make the enemies unkillable. Wouldnt it make more sense if the dragonflies had appeared before Lara got the pistols, so that there would be a genuine reason for her to find an alternative method of getting rid of them?
I love the dream-like imagery of this level, such as a flying narwhal, rainbow butterflies and a even a mermaid. Both the colourful, surreal outdoor areas and the more sedate (though almost as colourful) indoor areas are absolutely lovely. My favourite spot is the central building, featuring a giant statue holding a globe. The final cutscene, with the Crystal of Creativity reactivating, is great.
Overall: A fun and creative level in a lovely setting. Highly recommended." - Mytly (30-Mar-2016)

"Ill have whatever the young Lady is smoking. A delightful raid which not only continues to portray the imaginative fantasies of this builders uniquely charming universo bizarro, but increasingly bends the envelope with brain meshing flip- flapping, endearingly confused, narwhale reeling, oxygenated for adapted up-scaling fish tailing, all-embracing madcap dancing along the cosmos trail of elementary particulate force- majeure of smack-faced joyous coloratura. OK by me since this is just why its right that the Reigns and Reins of the future belong to these wondrously creative young talents that fortunately pass this way reminding us what it means to find ourselves precisely where we never expected to be, except for the fact that we certainly are glad we went this way." - Mezcal (14-Mar-2016)

"The readme says "over-analyze at your own risk" and it's correct: here the first time you ask "why" might trigger a chain of wondering. Lara begins on a space platform, facing a giant statue of herself playing the world ball, frozen in time right after letting the globe out of her hand. This might mean uncertainity about the world's future, considering the game was started in 2012. Note this was the last year of the first calendar series as well, so the sculpture might also ask a question about what will happen to the event now, and is it the event horizon already. Giant flowers, neon fishes and lanterns may all symbolize hope for better times when the stings of wasps and pointy noses of patrolling narwhals - likely symbols of everyday obstacles - will fail to interfere with creativity and will only circle around it at a safe distance. But this will only happen through effortful cooperation, like a giant crystal charged by little crystals of the same kind. I may of course be wrong in my interpretation but it fits the declared point. Technically, I see a lot of care. The scenery is pleasant to watch, I almost didn't notice seams or misrotations usually bound to these games, all the texturing makes sense and is very well lit. Though we get some usual switches to pull, the puzzles are customized, varied and laborous enough to keep their solutions satisfying, while confusion almost doesn't appear. I think the central tower should have something more to do, maybe some ledge hanging, shimmying or platforming like usually occurs in such places, because that part appears really underplayed when compared to significantly longer water temple. Also there are some rooftops in this game which are never accessible - I guess the author didn't want us to hit the edge of the map, but I would just make them explorable, for it's always better to reach something than not to be able to. SUMMARY: Another fantasy world of Codo, but yet different from the previous ones. After ephemeral visual diabetis it shows logic though rather than the whole Forge it feels like the very core, with the rest of content located far beyond the starfield, so I feel like if something bigger should follow and I hope it does... and what's the "law of aspiration" anyway?" - DJ Full (16-Jan-2016)

"That is an game I have absolutely LOVED. It's a floating Island type level and we discovered Lara somewhere in this strange world to activate the big crystal in the center of a big tower. The level is not very hard but sometime we don't really know exactly how reach some platforms ... but if you are logical the solution is not very long to find. The news objects are very well designed like the big statue and the Earth in the tower. I have also loved the horizon object with the gas giant planet and the black hole. A good point for the flying animals, I have liked them. This level remember me a bit The Flying Temple of the same author ... and we can maybe suppose this one take place in the same universe. It's also with Flying Temple and Alien, one of my favorite level by Codo. The level is very clear and there are a perfect use of the textures. I have loved the mix between steampunk textures and fantasy ones. So to conclude I can just congratulate Codo for this pure jewel of science fiction adventure. Recommended for everyone." - Bigfoot (12-Jan-2016)

"I believe that 2015 is without a doubt the best year ever for Advent levels. Coming on the heels of an outstanding BtB, we have much to be thankful for over the past few months. Although I'm not a real fan of floating islands levels, The Forge exudes an irresistible charm that never dissipated during the hour that I spent here. The "no enemies" disclaimer is not quite true; those Tinnos wasps near the end will certainly do you in if you don't figure out in time that you can trap them in the nearby cage. There are four secrets documented in manarch2's walkthrough, but I passed on all but the last one (too hard either to get to or to return from, with no substantial reward for a successful detour). What stands out most in my mind is that sexily gyrating mermaid who greets you about halfway into the game, together with the narwhal seemingly swimming about in the nothingness of space as you go about your business. Highly recommended." - Phil (08-Jan-2016)

"Extraordinary design for this floating-islands-type level. Impressive and very well builded new objects, good use of cameras and musics, well applied new textures with a good taste. The gameplay is not lineal, but you'll never revisit the same places more than twice; the timed run was a bit tight, I had to use the flare trick to reach the door in time. Lara don't lose air underwater, I think it was not necessary 'cause the water rooms are not very large. Variety of tasks, the clue for the planets puzzle is not very clear, but enough. Recommended." - Jose (04-Jan-2016)

"A feast for the eyes: that's the best description of this lovely game. Its' beauty amazed me from the beginning, with that brilliantly coloured butterfly that greeted Lara. In terms of gameplay, I found the level a bit confusing, with so many possible actions and paths, and it took me sometime to discover that those beautiful flowers were a kind of ledges, can you believe it? And some secrets, although visible, were also too hard to grab. But it was very fun to see so many fishes swimming in the sky, and I enjoyed very much that planets' puzzle. Finally, nothing like a good dreamy, alien, bizarre environment to lighten life. Wonderful job!" - Josey (04-Jan-2016)

"Unique atmosphere with generic gameplay. A bit easy and short. Good objects and textures. Recommended." - requiemsoul (03-Jan-2016)

"This is a bit like a trip to fairyland with added vertigo. It's a floating islands style level overlaid with stunningly beautiful fantasy style objects and textures. Otherworldly creatures float through the air and, whilst Lara may not be able to fly, she does seem to have the ability to swim underwater without losing health, perhaps aided by the friendly mermaid she meets. The gameplay is quite varied and includes a rather nice planets puzzle and a short timed run. There's nothing difficult to accomplish and it should be suitable for players of all abilities provided they have a good head for heights. Charming." - Jay (02-Jan-2016)

"We have come a long way since The Flying Temple, but Codo really does floating island type levels so well and this instalment is riddled with an eclectic mix of objects that are so bizarre that it is quite amazing how it works so nicely together. Be prepared for an otherworldly tour de force here of about 45 minutes, with a fairly steady flow while you collect the four energy crystals. Good balance in gameplay, as it is not too hard and not too easy and the views are just breathtaking along the way. Definitely a good choice to end the raiding year 2015 for me! Looking forward to what 2016 has to offer..." - MichaelP (31-Dec-2015)

"A typically atypical Codo level with a lot of crazy ideas not only with the floating fauna, but also with psychedelic visuals and some nice gameplay ideas like a fun variation of the wind machines, a swim against the steam, teleporters and some more. The textures are nearly faultlessly applied and the lighting is good, while there's still a bit of room for improvement here and there with not so good contrast in some parts and different resolution textures in the "cistern" area, but nevertheless the visuals are quite expressive and beautiful. The object design is great too, the secrets are excellently hidden (some are quite hard to find and even harder to get); perhaps there could be more up with the enemies (there are only a few wasps you can cage in but it's not even necessary, but it's a nice idea you can't shoot them). The gameplay is sometimes obscure (like when you have to drop into a deep pool from an island) but it's never unfair and often quite nicely designed, of course also with all the nice puzzles, but still there could be even more up with it with a greater variety of tasks - it's a rather short level at 25 minutes and I was sad when it finished that early. Highly recommended." - manarch2 (30-Dec-2015)
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