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LB Advent Calendar 2014 - Spriggans Heart by mugs

Bene 9 9 8 9
DJ Full 6 7 7 8
Drakan 9 9 9 9
Jay 8 9 9 9
John 8 8 8 9
Jorge22 9 9 9 9
Jose 8 8 8 9
Josey 10 10 10 9
manarch2 8 7 7 6
MichaelP 8 8 9 9
Obig 9 9 9 9
Phil 9 8 10 9
Rambo 8 7 7 7
Ryan 8 8 9 9
young Lara Croft 9 9 9 8
release date: 21-Dec-2014
# of downloads: 133

average rating: 8.45
review count: 15
review this level

file size: 57.70 MB
file type: TR4
class: Xmas

author profile(s):

Reviewer's comments
"When it comes to this snowy level the environment, layout and setting is just fantastic, it was such a joy to explore around these snowy structures, buildings, barns, courtyards and caves on a mission to find the 3 hearts needed to complete the level. My favourite areas was the barn with the timed run and the snowmobile rides and tasks in the second level. The tasks involving the cold health timer was clever and challenging and turn the simple tasks of swimming underwater to another area or exploring the bottom of an icy room for items or progression into timed runs of death! Lol Speaking of timed runs there are quite a few in here and they were welcome with me especially as some involved avoiding traps at the same time. Now the block puzzle I have mixed feelings because while I did really enjoy finding all the blocks and placing them i didn’t know there was supposed to be a pattern on top and when I did read a walkthrough and rearrange the blocks to make the pattern it didn’t work! therefore I had to reload and follow a video walkthrough to make sure I didn’t make any wrong steps, quite frustrating! In the second level we get to explore new areas and caves with the tricky but fun use of the snowmobile and even more timed tasks involving boulders and platforms, a switch sequence, a passage of fire traps and some tricky platforming in a small dark cave. The negatives for me was Lara’s voice that would come on sometimes for a hint was just so outstandingly loud and robotic sounding that it felt jarring after a while. Oh and once again some obscurely hidden tasks that just would never be found without a walkthrough I feel, for example: the tiny objects that needed shooting, hidden shimmy crevices and a pull down trapdoor. Overall the positives far outweigh and dwarf the negatives here as this level has great fun challenges in a wonderful and gorgeous setting and I can definitely see myself replaying this in the future." - John (27-Jul-2023)
"Yet another level I hadn't reviewed at the time, by our dear late friend Mugs (is it Pat's voice that we can hear everytime Lara talks?). It isn't a typical Christmas level, but the snowy environments are beautiful, and there are Merry Christmas wishes at the end. It's a two parter, being that the second part includes a lot of snowmobile riding. Some of the icy underwater parts were a bit on the tough side, if you didn't know where to go. It's varied, generally fair, and lovely. Thank you so much." - Jorge22 (02-Nov-2022)
"When I started this track, I was presented with a very nicely textured track. Maybe that's why I expected wonders from this game. Unfortunately, in the end, I have to say, I didn't like it. My constant feeling of lack was only compounded by the ending. If it's part of a complex course, then hats off. You have to find 3 hearts in the game, or in part 2, in combination with a box, put them on 3 consoles to progress. This part of the game is exhausted by jumping around in a freezing, gaseous cave system. There's also a time switch or two to make things difficult, and if you fall, you'll either freeze or suffocate. :( We're not over-equipped with life packs either, so it's a good idea to save them. The 3 hearts can be obtained from 3 green monsters, but since we have explosive arrows, this is not a challenge. Finally, we snowmobile through to the second part of the course, where the number of secrets is not set. (2/70). Here again, the challenge is to overcome the obstacles. But there are no enemies. Once all 3 hearts are in place, the exit opens and we exit, ending the game. For those who like sado mazo tracks, I highly recommend it. :) Otherwise, thanks to the editor for the track. Have a nice hair day everyone. :D You can get used to it by the second or third playthrough. :) Hungaian videowalkthrough, and savegames, pictures:" - Obig (15-Mar-2022)
"A wonderful festive two-level game from Pat. It may not be entirely Christmassy in the traditional sense, but snow is falling and there's a chilly atmosphere around, so this is perfect for the Christmas season (or any time of the year). Be on the watch for sneakily hidden switches, movable blocks and crawlspaces as the way to go is often right in front of your nose, and those timed runs definitely proved a challenge. Enjoyable stuff." - Ryan (13-Jun-2017)
"Although part of the Advent Calendar '14, this is not a Christmasy tale but more of a Winter's tale and a very good one at that. All the hallmarks of mugs' work are here: very sneaky gameplay, good use of light/dark areas, believable atmosphere and with enough med packs to see the game through to the end.....a much appreciated gift to any Raider. As to actual gameplay, and objects there is a snowball from hell with a not obvious way to escape without Lara freezing to death and speaking of not obvious (to me, at least) were the ins and outs of the underwater levers - not overly hard at all once I figured out the correct routes. The 2nd part has 2 well-hidden (maybe too well) ladders that had me running Lara everywhere but the right place, even with a look at the walkthrough. Well done, Pat. This was a perfect level to get me back to game mode....thank you." - Bene (24-May-2015)
"Riiight... I don't know if it's true, but it really feels like if some of these locations were built with total care, and the other without enough time left to the calendar deadline. A lush (frozen but still somehow lush) bike canyon section deserving a max score for atmosphere borders without any transition with boxy halls and tight corridors of the following altar zone. Maybe not that well-working but surely instantly recognizable mixture of Nordic/Steampunk village is an entrance to underground system of caves, with some challenges to keep us busy - all very Tomb Raidic, but the spriggans located down there seem very lonely, possibly because of stone texturing surrounding them from all directions. If the altars have these greenish, branchy signs of Ent civilization, why not to include them in a surreal domain such creatures are supposed to dwell in? I don't mind the pushable, I know how to deal with such things - five minutes of replay is not much. The real biggest letdown lies outside - a whole unexplorable part of the village, cut off from rest of the map with a locked door that never opens - the casual raider will most likely react to it with a "WhyYYYyyyYYYyyyYYYyyy?????!!!!". The best cure for this game would be just fixing this - opening the rest of the village and filling it with more diverse descent preparation, so each different section leads to a different heart, not the way like it's now - all bundled close to each other. Of course the Ent domain could be small yet e.g. split up with clever usage of opacity, so we already see two other hearts when we find the first one, so our curiosity builds up and the items feel more important. The level also lacks progression and a proper climax - we just solve a sequence of tasks, then place these hearts and nothing happens except another door opening. If I was her, I would add a trap sequence that can't hurt Lara (as for gained "luck) and ending with a bag of runic coins (for "prosperity"). But I know this builder - I know she's capable of creating a masterpiece no level can be similar to, just because the idea is so unique that the point to repeat it is instantly lost. So I'm [u]totally[/u] sure she would also apply a proper reward, and all other things necessary, if there was enough time to build. SUMMARY: Not a bad game, but very, very unfinished. The NL package is still underused - and capable for much more, just like this builder. I hope Pat will return to this project some day and fills it with more life, because this idea and these resources should by default result in a Hall-of-Famer. And if the game gets a revision, even its first version will become more enjoyable, as a curious return to the beginnings." - DJ Full (19-Apr-2015)
"At the very beginning you can get disoriented when exploring a large area, but once you find the crowbar door and the torch, gameplay is more fluid and entertaining, with variety of tasks and not too hard at all. In fisrt level I hadn't good luck, 'cause in the four moveable blocks room I moved one of the blocks over the corner where the raising block was so when I used the floor lever to lower the block I got stucked forever. Also after got the third heart I found an unmarked climbable wall under the opened trapdoor to go up to the room above to the exit door. In second level there wasn't a good idea to force the players to reload in the room with the timed platforms puzzle; also the invisible cracks. Except for this the levels have a good design and I think you'll never get bored and enjoy the whole adventure. Recommended." - Jose (17-Mar-2015)
"Quite a typical level for mugs, as you get her unique style of often very small rooms with tricky triangles to maneuver around and often sneakily hidden switches or items. So be prepared to keep your eyes wide open. The setting is rather convincing and progression always remains interesting. There is a really nice block puzzle in part 1 that for some reason I managed to screw up completely and the door would not open, so I had to start from a save again to get it right and then it worked out as intended. The snowmobile is used well in getting us into and through the initial area of part 2. For some reason, I really did not like the Lara voice overs and could have done without them, but obviously that did not really hamper the fun I had overall with this seasonal hour long adventure." - MichaelP (15-Mar-2015)
"I enjoyed the builder's feisty repartee in the stuck thread almost as much as I enjoyed playing the levels themselves. OBig paved the way for me with a posted speed-run glitch- free video, upon which I relied heavily in preparing a written walkthrough. I therefore experienced none of the so- called bugs pointed out in some of the reviews and stuck thread posts. The game itself is perfect for the Christmas season, being enemy free (except for those skeletons that must be blown away in order to obtain the eponymous hearts) and boasting a season-appropriate shiver factor with the falling snow and subzero temperatures. I never would have found that sneaky shaft ladder at the beginning of the second level on my own (and would have joined the "anything to do here?" chorus), but other than that I feel that the gameplay was geared to the raider of average skills. I assume there were technical reasons for breaking the game down into two parts, but for me everything flowed together quite seamlessly. The environs were pleasing to the eye, the lighting was impeccable, the gameplay was fun and challenging, and I had a grand time here. Highly recommended." - Phil (09-Jan-2015)
"Level through the snow in December. The Mugs levels are often made of small rooms with never obvious passages. The best for me was in the cold room and the puzzle with the blocks. It is nicely textured and lit and pleasant to go. Excellent!" - Drakan (09-Jan-2015)
"Gameplay & Puzzles: Very good mix of everything here, there are good and sometimes challenging tasks, quite elaborate puzzles and much cold water. I really enjoyed the snowmobile, even more could be possible with it. It's still a bit linear and not very hard but quite good stuff. Enemies, Objects & Secrets: Some enemies here but not that shooter-like as advent level (the spriggans were a good idea), but there are other things to enjoy here. The object design is solid but nothing most special, secrets are too simple. Atmosphere, Sound & Cameras: The atmosphere is solid too, the architecture is good but not very complex. Sounds and cameras are solid too although one camera moves through a black wall. Lighting & Textures: The textures are quite okay, sometimes they felt a bit artificial, the lighting could be improved a bit. Total: 7,25/10, again a rather enjoyable game which might have needed, this time slight, improvements in the looks." - Rambo (29-Dec-2014)
"I enjoyed very much the two levels of this game and found them brilliant, both in conception and gameplay. It's Mugs alright, and at her best: to finish the game you must use your sense of exploration, and remember that things are never so difficult as they seem to be. Here are some examples: when you think a jump is too difficult for words, you find that it is not necessary at all, because there's a ladder or a crack cunningly hidden in the dark; when you suppose that you arrived at the end of line (and of your wits), calm yourself, and have a good look around - there's always a way to proceed; and even when a timed swim by icy waters seem impossible to you, it only means that you are following the wrong path. Here, puzzles and action sequences are cleverly challenging, but never impossibly difficult, and give a warm feeling of satisfaction when mastered. Enemies are fun, specially the "spriggans" (I don't mind those little spiders, but only their fathers and mothers). I also found no flaw in terms of sound & cameras, and if the environment is somewhat dark and forbidding at places, and if this is not a lovely and beautiful Christmas level in the classic conception, it is certainly very much so in terms of fun. Great job!" - Josey (25-Dec-2014)
"This isn't a Christmas level as such, but it is very much a winter wonderland. This is probably quite the best way to experience the beauty of snow - the festooned trees, the sculpted ice patterns (not to mention some spectacular ice breaking animations), without the inconvenience of disrupted travel plans, shivering and chilblains. I'm only too pleased to sit in centrally heated, doubled glazed comfort and be beguiled by falling snow. If you've played Pat's previous levels, you'll be expecting solid entertainment and you won't be disappointed. The storyline is intriguing and the search for the hearts involves a nice roundelay of timed runs, exploring, puzzle solving and spiders (eek - and I was glad to know Lara feels exactly as I do on that subject), not to mention an always enjoyable jaunt on the snowmobile. Keep your eyes peeled for cunningly concealed passages and crawlspaces and hopefully you won't go far wrong. As an added Christmas treat, I actually found both secrets, so I've obviously been a good girl this year. Yeah, right. Great fun." - Jay (24-Dec-2014)
"Mugs' latest games were a bit disappointing for me, but this one was a clear step upwards, at least gameplaywise. After some initial confusion because I couldn't find the well hidden torch, the game turned out to be quite entertaining with quite a bunch of tasks to solve - timed runs, a nice block puzzle, tough swimming sessions in cold water, quite a bit of interesting platforming and of course the very nice snowmobile ride in the second level. Its constant progression and variety of tasks are creating an experience that never feels dull or tedious even if the ideas might not be the most unique and could be even more creative. Lookwise, this is much more of a mixed bag though. The outside and several of the inside areas are far too bright and suffer from the lack of realistic lighting, while the texturing is also often rough and architecture doesn't work quite well in some of the interior chambers. Some of the arch objects also feel out of place and a few inventory items are called "load", one camera goes through a part of a wall. Still, the atmosphere is decent enough, there's a good use of sound and mainly because of the good gameplay I spent most enjoyable 40 minutes in here, with two way too easy secrets found in the first level, although the end came a bit abrupt for me..." - manarch2 (23-Dec-2014)
"A fun cold/snowy level in 2 parts. I prefered the first part because it was much more structured and ecause it contained a lot of puzzles. The second part had a simple line to follow and it was pretty linear. As a whole this level had a lot of pleasant parts, I have to mention one thing that was cleverly put and was nicely crafted- the frozen pond with the breakable ice on top when Lara steps onto. The outdoors looked great as well as the temples and areas in which one needs to progress through. I have to mention the lack of atmospheric sounds, it kind of felt stale and uninviting, I wish there was a nice song that would play in the background when running outside. All in all it is a solid level comprized of two parts with immersive gameplay and well built areas, but don't ignore the fact that it has some bugs take alter Lara's life bar. Patience is adviced because it is worth the effort!" - young Lara Croft (21-Dec-2014)