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LB Advent Calendar 2009 - Christmas Castle by Jonson

DJ Full 6 7 8 8
dmdibl 9 9 10 9
drguycrain 9 8 10 9
eRIC 8 8 10 8
Gerty 8 8 9 8
jawi 7 7 9 8
Jay 8 8 9 10
John 8 7 8 8
Jorge22 7 7 8 9
Jose 8 8 9 8
manarch2 8 7 9 9
MichaelP 8 8 9 8
misho98 8 8 8 9
Moonpooka 9 8 9 9
nerdfury 6 6 8 6
Orbit Dream 7 7 10 10
Phil 9 9 9 9
rtrger 9 9 9 9
Ryan 8 8 9 9
Scottie 9 8 9 9
Shandroid 8 8 8 8
sharnilal 9 8 9 10
TheStig 9 9 9 9
Treeble 8 8 9 9
release date: 05-Dec-2009
# of downloads: 143

average rating: 8.36
review count: 24
review this level

file size: 36.70 MB
file type: TR4
class: Xmas

author profile(s):

Reviewer's comments
"Mostly we just proceed forwards and places feel similar. The flipmap is the best moment but you can't legit explore it - a proper design would let a player through. One door never opens. One switch feels like a way back but in fact it sets you back for a reason unknown. So, while the mood is good, the game feels incomplete, like if it was released before it could become a palpable adventure. The abundance of flares makes me think it was never supposed to air at Xmas time, but ammo and guns were swapped to peaceful pickups. Am I incorrect? Optional." - DJ Full (10-May-2024)
"Perhaps not quite what you'd expect out of a castle level, but I definitely enjoyed the level design here, both the indoor areas and especially the surrounding caves and valleys overtaken by snow. Very soothing and neat to navigate. Gameplay wise nothing really stands out other than, perhaps, the excessive amount of flares you can retrieve when you don't ever need one — if only we had a way to retain our inventory from one custom game to the next, am I right? Still, it's more than enjoyable to warrant your attention for a good and relaxing time. 30 minutes, 2 secrets. 03/23" - Treeble (26-Mar-2023)
"This level is taking place partly in an icy wilderness and its caves and partly inside and around a castle. Its really fun and intriguing to explore around the different environments here and i really enjoyed some of the puzzles and tasks such as the torch puzzle with the raising blocks and the timed run with trapdoor as well as the platforming, swimming and climbing around, the frozen lake puzzle and the pushable object puzzles. The horizon outside along with waterfalls and haunting music and great camera work was just to die for it really adds to the atmosphere. The gameplay is mostly simple and easy, despite me having to check out a walkthrough a couple of times and there isnt any enemies or traps but hey its a christmas level so that's to be expected and their absences did nothing to take away any enjoyment that i certainly had playing this gorgeous level" - John (21-Dec-2021)
"(6) Gameplay & Puzzles: This is an easy level that took me about 40 minutes. There is nothing frustrating about the gameplay flow, but it is not very exciting either. You just move from one area to the next, using levers and performing some basic platforming. There's a few torches to light but as a whole the adventure is really lacking in puzzles. I know that many holiday levels don't have enemies/traps, however you can still incorporate exciting tasks without utilizing these. For example, "LB Advent Calendar 2015 - Pegasus Fairytale" is a holiday level with interesting platforming and a variety of puzzles. (6) Enemies, Objects & Secrets: The outdoor upper areas are nicely decorated with trees and plants. However other areas are lacking in objects, such as lakes and pools with no underwater plants, rocks, etc. Many smaller castle rooms have only a single object, a set of wooden crates. I think that a lot more could have been done with ornate objects to bring the castle rooms to life. (8) Atmosphere, Sound & Cameras: This is a well-done category, with no areas looking overly boxy. Static cameras and flybys are good. I noticed 2 minor issues: there are several areas where the rocky boundaries look paper thin and the end of the world is visible; also, the giant castle room has TRL wilderness music. I do not think this particular song is an appropriate fit for a castle; it would be fitting for jungle areas. (6) Lighting & Textures: I think this category is overrated. Rocky cavern areas look OK, although wallpapering is not uncommon. The animated waterfall textures are awfully messy. Castle rooms, especially the first giant castle room, have lots of misaligned geometry and it looks unprofessional. Warped textures are also common on triangular-sized tiles. The lighting is generally good (much more polished than the texturing). However, the amount of flare pickups is ridiculous, and the giant castle room has blobs of colored lighting all over, lacking a consistent theme. Overall, I did not find the gameplay or aesthetics memorable. I honestly find it surprising that this level has a similar rating to the builder's newer "Trident of the Invictus", when the latter is much higher quality in both gameplay and aesthetics. I am sorry for my harsh words -- I'm glad that the builder is back after a long break, and I hope he'll have another release soon. 6/6/8/6." - nerdfury (09-Dec-2021)
"What a delightful Christmas level. The gameplay progression is straightforward but nonetheless absorbing, the lighting is good (hooray for it not being too dark), the rooms are wonderfully crafted and there are some neat ideas thrown in for good measure, particularly the frozen lake sequence and the torch puzzle. Sit back, relax and enjoy." - Ryan (19-May-2017)
"This is a nice level to get into the advent mood. Have to admit I had a nice time running through this snow-white landscape. Also it is very relaxing, as you don't have to look over the shoulder fearing for your life. Pushing some blocks, finding loads of flares, some apples and banana's and even some secrets. Love the idea of the frozen waterfall and the pushing of the ball." - Gerty (20-Jun-2016)
"This is one of those immaculately crafted levels that you really don't want to ever come to an end - although,in this case,the playing area has a real sense of interconnected geography to it;and prolonging the experience may therefore have made it feel less effective.The progression is neatly sequential,with the player constantly criss-crossing areas they've already been to but from unexpected directions;and the gameplay is really quite straightforward (there are very few actual puzzles) but extremely satisfying all the same.The technical side of things is exemplary;and although there are very few puzzles,and no enemies whatsoever,these are not especially missed.The highlight must be the water- freezing sequence;but actually,so much of the duration is filled with pleasing moments (the monkey-swing over the huge chamber;the boulder smashing through the ice) that I could pretty much describe the entire level as a highlight.Although the placing of Christmas presents seemed a little contrived in order to give it a somewhat festive air,this is nonetheless a delightful and tranquil seasonal adventure." - Orbit Dream (23-Dec-2014)
"Good-looking level with some nice and not very hard puzzles. That's perfect for me. I expected a more Christmasy atmosphere and I was dissapointed, because it's really like a simple snowy level, only a few gifts around the paths are conected to Christmas. Anyway, the first puzzle was quite nice, I also liked the one where you have to freeze the waterfall. No enemies or at least I can't remember killing someone. Some nice camera views always show you were to go. Lighting and textures were great. Recommended!" - misho98 (16-Nov-2012)
"I have played this level a long time ago and found it very interesting. Right at the start you get an interesting torch puzzle in a well crafted castle, soon you get outside and the exploration was quite interesting. The level had good atmosphere and I surely can recommend it, it's also suitable for beginners as there were no difficult points." - manarch2 (05-Apr-2011)
"This level has unique atmosphere. The castle and the outside areas are very well crafted. They have great atmosphere. The gameplay is very easy, it moreless contains exploring and jumping. Textures are placed well, although I found some stretched and squished textures, which were looking like placed in hurry. If the author had paid the attention to it, some areas would have been better looking. I found all secrets, because it was obvious where they were. I personally would have deleted those ‘Christmas gift’ objects because they didn’t fit with the environment, but this level meant to be Christmassy so they may stay. All in all it’s very peaceful level, which I enjoyed. I recommend it to everyone who wants to relax ;-)." - jawi (16-Feb-2010)
"I'm not sure what the story-line was here, but from what I made of it, Lara arrives in a castle, makes her way in and out of it and then leaves. You are basically exploring in this level, and you need to find levers to open the various doors; the final one being the exit door. Pick-ups are health and I found 2 secrets. The castle and it's outdoor areas are quite beautiful. Snowy hills lie beyond the castle and the pools and waterfall areas were lovely to explore. Inside the castle there are small piles of xmas pressies lying around; giving it a slightly festive feeling. The atmosphere is also very nice, but you sort of feel very lonely without enemies popping out, and I did miss having a few animals to gaze at. However, this is not a bad thing, just something I felt was lacking. Game-play is straight forward; so you won't be tearing your hair out. Lighting was superb and even in the purposely dimly lit areas you will find plenty of flares. There are no puzzles as such, just some block shifting and a table to move. All in all, this was really pleasant to play and will be every explorers dream." - Moonpooka (24-Jan-2010)
"Out of all of the Christmas levels that I have played so far, this one definately has the best balance. Nice relaxing game play, wonderful winter ambience, with flowing game play which wont lead to any frustration for the player. Definately worth playing. Took me around an hour to complete." - TheStig (30-Dec-2009)
"Very good debut level with tons of flares to collect, an awesome castle to conquer, in a beautiful setting. Don't think I should write more about this one. Go and try it immediately!" - rtrger (30-Dec-2009)
"I've played only a handful of the 2009 Christmas levels to date, but this one has the best "look" so far. There's a nearly perfect blend of the frigid outdoors, framed with gently falling snow, and cozy indoor activity (quite a change from the jungle level I played just before this one). The puzzles are well conceived and sufficiently challenging without becoming the least bit frustrating. There's even a timed "run" that's so generous that the walkthrough does not even acknowledge it as such. This is a nice romp through the wilderness that takes just under an hour, and I enjoyed it a great deal. High recommendations." - Phil (23-Dec-2009)
"A very enjoyable raid of 40 minutes in typical Advent Calendar fashion, ie no hard thinking needed, no enemies, no traps, with the only (small) challenges being the occasional push block to spot and a torch/raising block task to figure out. I really liked how the waterfall freezing was designed and realized and the drop of the boulder through the ice. No idea what all the tons of flare pick ups were for, as not a single one is really required. Great looking scenery, maybe a bit too much running around before you get the next little task, but a level just right for the season. 2 secrets found." - MichaelP (23-Dec-2009)
"It seems that this author is a disciple of GMac. Good! (I love Gmac's levels) As he said in the readme, he visited a lot the skribblerz web (like me). A level easy to play with a fast gameplay and few backtracking. Nice natural environment with big outside areas to explore, but not incredibly hidden switches or so. Sure that for some expert players this was a piece of cake and not interesting level, but I found it very entertaining, with a real and old TR style, leading the players to the classic TR games. The secrets I found were very innocent, and there were no enemies or dangers. Ambience is really good, but lights and textures are not very well worked though. A level to have a good time. Thanks, I've really enjoyed it!" - Jose (09-Dec-2009)
"Finally, once more a new level of Jonson. And even more nicely it is which has become it a Christmas level. Lara runs here through wonderfully formed sceneries and rooms. And anyhow I have the feeling that Santa Claus has taken exactly the same way and has lost the Christmas presents, because they lie about everywhere. And the many Flares can even be from Santa Claus, because at night it is dark and he needs the Flares to orientate himself. Particularly I like the night sky with the polar lights. But why on earth runs Lara around in those short trousers? It's very cold these days. There is a cold preprogrammed. A waterfall including the sea which solidified later to ice was very nice. With those many Flares I already had the worst fears, but, however, it was seldom so dark that one had to use a Flare. Result: All together a very good and diverse level which well fits to the season" - Scottie (08-Dec-2009)
"I enjoyed this level very much as it followed a very logical progression and didn't involve a lot of backtracking. I haven't played any other levels by this builder, but if this excellent effort is anything to go by, I will give his others a try sometime. The lighting and texturing were faultless and the environment very well built. Though there wasn't a lot in the way of secrets and no (what I would call) "real" puzzles, most of the gameplay involved getting from one place to the next - and I nearly missed the final trip up to the top of the main room because I hadn't realised the lake had frozen over. I was beginning to think I wouldn't get to the top of the main room and then down into the pool. My hope is that this is just the beginning of a larger level by this builder, but whether it is or not, I am looking forward to his next offering." - sharnilal (08-Dec-2009)
"I'll agree that this is more a winter level than a Christmas level despite the amount of gifts spread all over the place. The textures look quite good and there are even a few inspired moments regarding the lighting but the final feeling I get is that of starting in one place and following a linear route to another with no visible aim in sight. It's still interesting enough." - Jorge22 (06-Dec-2009)
"This level has no enemies but still has a quick, non-stop action pace. Lara must traverse various underground chambers and snowy mountain passes. The genius of the level is that you feel like you've gone much too far much too soon and must've missed lots of gameplay. But you always end up coming back around and the gameplay you do far away is all connected with the beginning. The atmosphere is very well done. There's an excellent use of music. There are far, far more flare pick-ups than necessary; i'm not sure what the author was after there. My biggest complaint about the level is that there was no plot or story or mission or purpose. In the end it was just a lot of puzzles wrapped well together. It definitely held me over for advent, but i'm not sure i'd ever revisit this level." - drguycrain (06-Dec-2009)
"Although not very festive, this Christmas level is pretty enjoyable. This is actually a level that features a castle that is sort of built-in to a mountainous region with a few Christmas gifts thown around to make it Christmasy. The gameplay is pretty good, and the author included over 160 flares in case you want to have rarely required additional illumination. This won't get you very excited for Christmas, but it is definitely recommended anyway." - Shandroid (06-Dec-2009)
"More a 'Winter' level than a 'Christmas' one as you explore here a Castle and outside windy areas in a straightforward way but with reentrances. The tasks at hand are of the simple kind , with a few pushable objects , a torch to use, an easy timed door , no obscure thing to do , no fancy/silly objects , the gameplay was much to my liking with a few places where the way to go seems to stop until you spot a hole or a slope or a crack that leads you farther or upper. I had a very good time playing with an excellent atmosphere and good musics that accompany you all the time, in some parts that reminded me somehow of TR2 bits. Some new textures I haven't seen elsewhere , good flybys , flipmaps , exactly the good number of cameras. Peaceful , fluent , pleasant and recommanded. [45 minutes / 2 secrets ]" - eRIC (05-Dec-2009)
"This is a very impressive looking level, with its glorious snowy landscapes and imposing castle interiors, slightly softened by Christmas decorations and presents. Even the slightly gloomy corners don't seem too dark, thanks to the very well done lighting, but in any case you will pick up an abundance of flares along the way, plus some lovely fruity medipacks and a couple of nice Christmas themed secrets (well I have no idea how many secrets there actually were, but I found two). Initially, I felt as though I was rushing through a bit and possibly missing things, but actually the game is quite linear and 'joins up' really nicely, so just relax and go with the flow." - Jay (05-Dec-2009)
"I enjoy this sort of exploration. Lara is out in the snow, with goose bumps on her legs, with hints of TR2 in her costume and the northern sky. After an initial castle room, she wanders farther and farther afield, and one begins to wonder if something was left undone right at the start. Then the trails loop back, and finally that big spike ball from the beginning that is up near the ceiling plays its role. Lovely waterfalls, landscape, and atmospheric touches, and good game play progression. Lots of different winter scenery for Lara to enjoy, perfect for the season. Just about the right length at about an hour, to keep up one's interest. And nothing really difficult, as long as players doesn't get flustered by apparent dead-ends, but look about--so suitable for everyone. A real improvement by this author. Highly recommended." - dmdibl (05-Dec-2009)