Hello there, and welcome to my CTM review page! I wrote reviews of many CTMs for a while (most of them terrible), and have now decided to collect them into one convenient location!
How my reviews work:
Map Version/Played Version if Unknown
I have 2 types of review-styles: Area-based and map-based. For major, full-length CTMs, I'll generally use area-based style, with short segments for every area. Big CTMs, especially linear-branching ones, are usually best described as the sum of their parts. For smaller, or open-world CTMs, I'll use map-based style, with a piece on the map as a whole.
For each map, I have four categories I grade them on, listed in order of importance:
Gameplay - by and large the most important thing in the map, this is at the top of the scale. If the gameplay is fun, original, or engaging(or better yet, multiple of those), it will get a high rating here. Gameplay is what makes or breaks a map, and its review score.
Aesthetics - Initially, I considered aesthetics to be important. Over time, my opinion has changed, and I now consider them to be very important. Not as important as gameplay, but a nice-looking map is extremely important to review score.
Functionality - How well the map works. If it uses command blocks and redstone, do they break or work? Am I at any point required to cheat to make the map function? If there's less redstone, how well does the map make sure I know where to go and what to do? A good score here won't affect the overall score much, but a bad score can drag down the map a lot, even if the other categories are good.
Story - More often than not, you'll see an N/A here, as I don't count a book at the start of the map explaining what you're doing. It's Minecraft, we don't expect too much of a story. Still, I always try to read lore if I can, and if I notice an above-average story running through the map - nice bonus!
The Verdict is the sum of all these parts.
Do note: I put my reviews in spoilers, as I generally try to include screenshots of each area if I can. I think having the visuals is very important.
I’d like to begin by saying one thing: this map comes with a resource pack. Now oftentimes, resource packs in minecraft maps can fill a number of functions, from being obnoxious and over-the-top with replacing Minecraft’s whole palette, to providing background music or necessary voice acting. However, the resource pack for this map only did one thing: Added a few special-looking objectives, and changed some blocks to slightly-modified versions of their current textures. Even though they were small changes, this was one of the best use of resource packs I’ve ever seen - because this map looks AMAZING. I constantly wanted to (and did) stop and stare at the beautiful environments! The entire thing gave off a Dark Souls vibe for looks, but with Minecraft’s brighter colors. Normally, I don’t devote too much time to talking about aesthetics, but this map did a truly special job, and even gave you a binocular-type item so you could take a closer look!
With that out of the way, most of the other things about the map came off as average – a very solid average. The gameplay wasn’t anything special that hadn’t been done before, but it all came off as a very polished package, with the mobs and loot being well-balanced. One thing I particularly liked was the complete removal of natural mobs from the map, allowing it to rely solely on spawners. An audacious change, but a very effective tool in the hands of the right map – which this one was! The areas and world felt alive and interconnected, with side paths containing bonus loot frequently appearing, and usually in ways that felt organic and natural.
Without getting into too many specifics – I don’t want to spoil it for those who want to play it – I had a good time playing this map, and I would recommend it without hesitation to someone looking for a shorter and simpler CTM to play.
The beginning of the map was very simple. A minecart track to take you where you needed to go, and a short walk until you make it to a basic base and the intersection for the next areas. The resource management is immediately odd – you’re given the resources you need to make stone tools and some basic farms right off the bat, but it doesn’t provide wood in chests, forcing you to break wooden planks from the environment to get what you need.
Other than that, the lack of honeyboxes is immediately apparent, as the base area is a small well-lit square surrounded by total darkness, which resulted in an eternal siege of zombies during my stay at the intersection. Surprisingly, it actually made for a fairly interesting start – but got annoying fast after I was done gathering resources. The intersection was overall simple, and with no order book saying where to go first. It was only by luck I went the right ways first.
Intersection rating: 6/10 Too many mobs…
Workshop and Research*(White Wool):
The map surprised me here – upon walking in I expected an extension to the base. Until I saw the spawners. With the high numbers of natural spawns and the cramped nature of the area, this place managed to hit the mark of challenging without being too hard only because it had very few spawners. The place was full of brewing stands right away, but netherwart was never available at any point during the map. Overall, the area was winding and twisty, with a lot of dead ends, but still quite short and overall okay.
Area Rating: 7/10 A surprisingly good starting area
*: I’ve put the area names into google translate - the map is in French
Red Cave(Orange wool):
This area is immediately much bigger and more open than the previous one, but also more difficult. The natural mobs are still everywhere, but thankfully, there are few spawners so we’re still dealing with just them. Despite the objective only being a short walk away from the start, the large amount of mobs made it feel like a drawn-out struggle. I managed to remain deathless by virtue of the potions I was generously provided at the beginning of the area – potions are the one thing the map gives out on a whim.
Area Rating: 6/10 A very simple area, with surprisingly large numbers of enemies
Massif arkeoma*(Magenta wool):
Deaths: 3(2 Accidental lava slip, 1 surprise creeper attack, 2 attempting to retrieve stuff after surprise attack)
At the beginning of this area, it really seemed like the map had stopped pulling its punches. It proved MORE than willing to throw out skeleton spawners in an area consisting of hole-filled bridges over lava, making the place feel incredibly tense and stressful. And then, 1 minute in, all that ended, with the area seguing into a much simpler inferno-mines style sandstone cavern, with natural spawns aided by the occasional creeper spawner. This proved to be more challenging than expected, but the spawners were hidden in ways that made it hard to find and disable them - always an annoyance.
Even further in, we got our first show of random loot, which can be best described as an incredible inventory-filling deluge of good things. Hardly unwelcome, but wholly in contrast to what the map had provided so far. Continuing onwards, the area changed again, into a stone cave pockmarked with many, many small spider-filled holes. It proved easier to run through than try to eliminate anything. This area was significantly longer than the other two, and varied vastly in difficulty throughout. It did at least provide you with good rewards. The loot chest was a definite highlight.
Area Rating: 7/10 Good but too much lava.
*Google translate failed me here
Intersection of Fire and Explosions*:
While exploring massif arkeoma, I noticed in the bridge over lava portion a bridge which didn’t connect to anything. Upon bridging over, there was a little dungeon-type area with some zombies and loot. It initially seemed like a neat side-area… until I found the ladder tucked in the corner. The ladder led down into a little chamber with some more loot and a tree in the middle, with creepers and lava guarding it. This also wasn’t the end – there was another side-cavern, leading into the place you see in the picture above. Now, I thought this was a full separate side area. But I was wrong! It’s an entire intersection! I was lucky, sure, but it’d be incredibly easy to miss this!
What’s more, just look at it. Can you see why I didn’t think it’s an intersection? It has creepers, dangerous bridges above lava… and worse yet, there’s no base or chests or teleporters or railways back or ANYTHING! The only thing telling you its an intersection at all is an area with four poles and some signs! What’s worse, this proved to be a consistent theme through the map. Moving your items every which way is a huge hassle, so its better to set up a new base for each new place you go to, which gets annoying after a while.
All in all… Hard to find, no base setup of any kind, no convenient way back to the previous base, unnecessary and frustratingly hazardous… this place has all the parts of a bad intersection.
2/10 A decidedly mean little place!
*: My personal name for it
Cavern of Water/Main Point:
I was only able to find this on a tip from someone else. Back in the first intersection, there was a small hole in the walls on the coal-filled part of the area. This led to a large water drop into a cave, which led straight to another intersection, also fairly easily accessible from the first areas! At this point, the map started to seem confused. There were 2 intersections stemming off from the first one, neither with a base or any connection to the others, and the remaining area left in the first intersection was lategame content (surprise – I’ll talk about this later). The map was expanding rapidly in every direction, but I had no idea where to go next or what order to do things in, and the map refused to provide any indication. Even some of those carpets along the ground indicating which area had what wool would have been helpful!
With no other choice, I decided I would set up base at the new intersection I had just found and try to get stuff done here. The intersection itself wasn’t too bad, but still lacked any semblance of a base*. Or a way to get back up the massive water drop I had gotten through to get down there.
Extra note: The water cavern you see in this picture? Even though there’s no indication its anything but a small transitional area for the next intersection, it contains the entrance to 2 wools, brown and yellow (see if you can find the one in the picture). Brown is just in a small cave led to by a hole in the ground, but yellow is an entire dungeon that I didn’t know was there until someone else told me.
*There actually was a small base in Infernal Road, but if you didn’t go to that area first you would be out of luck.
Intersection Rating: 3/10 Less dangerous but same problems as the other one
Infernal Road(Gray Wool):
The entire area was pretty much just the road you see above. A hole-filled, boring, burning road. Walking along it is very easy, and if you stick to it, you’ll make it to the wool without problems. There are a handful of ghast spawners along the way, but they aren’t primed and won’t be triggered if you’re quick. Though there were some dangerous-looking custom mobs at the bottom of the road, I never saw any reason to actually leave the road. Overall, the whole area just felt… pointless. Why have a giant road if nothing’s going to attack you along it? Is the map relying on people slipping off into the lava below? Why?
Rating: 4/10 Boring.
Skeletown(Cyan Wool AND Light Gray wool):
This place seemed like it was going to be pretty terrible. And it wasn’t great. There were lots of skeletons. Skeleton spam and eventually blaze spam was what the entire area relied on for its challenge. The “meat” of the area relied on buildings, some with spawners inside and some not, shoved very close together, so that while you were taking care of any one area, the others were filling up with mobs at an alarming rate, until you needed to retreat for a little while so things could cool down. I had to retreat a few times for things to be manageable. But there was one even more major problem with this area: It had 2 wools in it. Okay, that’s not the problem, it’s how that’s indicated to the player that’s the problem. Specifically, it isn’t indicated to the player. The wools are hidden in 2 places: One in a tucked-away underground sewers-type section, the other in a large, important-looking building on the surface. I got lucky, and found the sewers wool first by pure accident. But I could easily see someone in a hurry to get through the area(because, skeletons) getting the wool in the building, and fleeing the area never to return, because, why would this area specifically have more than wool? It’s not like areas having more than one wool is presented as a possibility early on. This area just happens to have more than one wool.
This is especially bad since the entire intersection is far away from the rest of the map, and it would be a huge hassle to come back here when you found yourself one wool short later on.
We can be thankful for one thing: These were 1.8.9 skeletons, not 1.9+ skeletons.
Rating: 5/10 Not boring, at least
Fungal Gallery(Purple Wool):
This area’s aesthetic tells a lot about it: Its just a stone cave that happens to have mushrooms on the floor. The primary enemy is natural mobs, along with some clumpings of cave spider spawners along the way. The area felt more annoying than challenging, but as usual, it didn’t last too long. Even the final challenge was simply boring – there was an island above lava you had to approach, but the only thing defending it were non-primed witch spawners. It was all very easy, and it never really presents any interesting problems for you to solve.
Rating: 4/10 Also boring.
Of note, there was a shortcut in this area that led back to Magenta wool. If you don’t like blocking your way back up huge water drops, this is your only way back to the intersection you started in.
At this point, we’re out of the water-drop intersection and back at the first intersection, there were some areas I hadn’t gone to yet.
The Furnace(Green wool):
Yes, the green wool was connected to the first intersection. It was behind a glass wall on a minecart track on the way to the last area of the first intersection I was actually trying to get to.
Now, I imagine trying to just bridge this area would be hell, even though the map does provide you some blocks. I instead used a water bucket, which proved to be… surprisingly not area-breaking! The design of the lava, in upper and lower parts, meant that it would often flow into my obsidian pathway, sealing off my exit. The prevalent natural mobs would also spawn behind me and mess me up. Plus, the main challenge is trying to get up to the highest part while ghasts assault you, which needs blocks with or without a water bucket. I made it through okay, but… why is this in the same region as the earlygame areas? There isn’t even any indication its meant for the endgame! Just… lava cave with ghasts, this is your life now if you didn’t think to go to other places first!
6/10 – Dangerous and misplaced
At this point, I headed back to the intersection buried in Magenta.
Creeper Climb*(Light blue wool):
This area was just creepers blowing up. Repeatedly. Over and over. The entire thing consists of you trying to climb up while creepers spawn from spawners in clumps of 4 and rain down upon you. The area is designed so that you can’t get up to the creepers easily, but they can get down to you with no troubles. I’m happy I had the loot from the later areas for this one! The place is devoid of loot, which should be a point against it, but it probably would have just been blown up by the creepers anyway! At least, it was mercifully short.
Rating: 6/10 – Short but explodey
*No name was provided, I made it up
Magma Sector(Red Wool):
Notice anything? Yeah, this looks really similar to The Furnace with Green Wool, doesn’t it? Just, a straight path instead of a big circle. I ended up water bucketing myself a path forwards, wondering what would attack me. Ghasts? Blazes? Wither skeletons?
…Nothing attacked me. Literally nothing. I got in, grabbed the wool, and got out with zero mobs seen whatsoever. And a free fire resist potion was provided at the end, presumably to help with The Furnace, which may or may not have been intended to play before or after this. I don’t even know what to say. Why even make an area if nothing is going to happen to the player in it? There’s nothing here! Just a lava-filled cave with wool at the end! It wasn’t even brown wool! Why?? Is this all some master-level trolling course!?
2/10 – Defied expectations…
Apothecary Ruins(Lime Wool):
Have you ever wanted a much shorter, more compact version of Inferno mine’s Lush Ruins? Well here you go! Outside of the main “ruins” area, many of the spawners were hidden in such a way that they were hard to find. The inside was a little better, with the spawners not hidden but appearing in clumps of up to as many as 8 at a time. The area would probably have been really hard if you took the “intended” path, but you can get through fairly easily if you choose to break the 1-block thick walls and go into rooms from the side.
Even if it was really spammy, it was probably my favorite area of the map – stuff was finally happening, and it was a more tense area.
At the beginning, this place was a desperate run through a bunch of nether-themed diamond MCedit brushes, while being assaulted by the Vestige Protector forces – our first semblance of a custom mob, even if the only custom thing about them is their spawners, which have a wider detection radius and a faster spawn rate. It proved to be a fair challenge, so the first part of the area wasn’t too bad – but getting the wool was a massive pain. It was another repeat of some previous challenges, with you needing to block up to the top to reach the wool – this time over 127 blocks of distance! And throughout, you would only be attacked at one point: The very tippy top, where blazes would unexpectedly spawn and shoot you down, forcing you to go aaallllllll the way back up, assuming you didn’t splat from the unexpected fall.
In the end, not a terrible place, but getting the wool was the worst part. Once I found the monument and nether portal to the final area, I was ready to be done. Sadly, it turns out I had missed a few things.
Rating – 6/10 The pointless climb to the wool drags down what would otherwise be okay
The Monument of Explorers:
Other than being hidden at the bottom of a big hole in Final Vestige, there is nothing special about the monument whatsoever. It comes with some average-level loot, and doesn’t want metal blocks. There isn’t much more for me to say.
Monument rating: 6/10 – it works as a monument, but isn’t anything special.
Creeper Cave(Yellow wool):
I was only able to find this wool thanks to someone else telling me, so by the time I got to exploring this dungeon, I had full diamond gear. If I had had anything less, then this place probably would have been terrible. The entire dungeon can be essentially summed up as “creepers”. Creeper spawners in stacks, creeper spawners in the walls and floor, with no indication of where… and each area is blocked off by gravel, which you need to break, ensuring they have time to spawn. This would be genius, if it wasn’t HORRIBLE. It is blessedly short, but if you tried to attempt this in the earlier parts of the game when it was initially available for you to find, you would end up just flat-out destroyed. There isn’t any thought to the spawners, there’s just a lot of them.
Rating – 4/10 mob spam
Bedrock Zone*(Pink Wool):
Also found only with someone else’s help, this was hidden behind a wall of vines in Magenta wool, and you had to bridge over a pit of lava to get to it. And then go down a LONG ladder. It wasn’t worth the effort to find it. It’s a simple, short bedrock cave with a bunch of spawners, with the map’s only proper boss fight at the end. The boss itself is a simple skeleton, with a lot of health and nothing special except having Thorns armor, the least fun enchantment in the game. Fighting him consisted of smacking him with a sword over and over, while occasionally taking a break to heal yourself for no reason other than thorns damage.
Rating – 4/10 Hard to find and annoying
*No name was provided, named it myself
The Finale(Black wool):
Through a nether portal located just above the monument entrance, this place could be found. The picture you see sums it up well – bedrock walls and lining, with tons of monster spawners everywhere, forcing you to slowly conquer it. It’s not a bad concept for a final area, but the main problem is – it’s been done before! By a lot of people! And they did it better! It wasn’t necessarily unfun, but very unoriginal.
At the very end, the map provided me with a small base(FINALLY), and a teleport to the last area. I thought we’d finally get a REAL boss, but it was just one last wool, guarded by standard mobs plus an extra-fast spider. A fairly disappointing conclusion. But, at the very least… we’re done.
Rating – 3/10 Unoriginal and unfulfilling
This map was boring and confused. It felt like it was trying to emulate a lot of other maps, rather than doing its own thing. All the area designs were simple and unoriginal, if you could even get to them all, what with how they were hidden. It seems to be trying to channel Myriad Caves’ spirit with a more open-world linear-branching style, but instead it just sort of goes everywhere without feeling interconnected at all. Easy areas are smashed in right next to difficult areas, and its hard to tell where you should go at any given time. Any area you enter could be far too hard for you or incredibly easy. The fact that many wools are hidden in obscure locations doesn’t help at all. The aesthetics were very simple, if not ugly, the gameplay did nothing special, with the lack of custom mobs making it play like a map from a much earlier version. Overall, while not explicitly painful to play, it isn’t worth the effort required.
The map's beginning... well, it makes the top ten for "most insane". It gives you nothing, yet immediately expects you to do parkour and fight off hordes of natural mobs. Well, it does give you one thing, in an open chest marked "for Vechs":
I used it without hesitation. Or I would have, if in my first attempt at the parkour, I forgot I had to delete options.txt to make the older version work. I pressed q instinctively, expecting to spring. Instead, I threw the door into the lava. Then jumped into the lava.
Aside from that upset, this room you see here pretty much sums up everything about the area, except for the creeper fountain in the back. If you manage to get through an area filled with lava and enemies with literally no gear to your name, you’ll be set on iron forever! The start is really difficult, but the entire rest of the map afterwards is much easier. You also have to do a sponge parkour to get wood. Yeah, if you can’t tell, this area is REALLY weird. And it sets a well-followed precedent for the rest of the map.
Rating: 4/10 - So weird I don't know where to place it
(I won't rate the intersections, as neither of them are notable in any way)
The shrine(read: monument) was an absolutely excellent base, providing you with everything you would need to get started, if you were willing to do some farming. Of special note is the mon- SHRINE... it used non-wool blocks, instead being composed of every ore and ore block type, and even had a door that would open when every block was placed. Somehow, this feels almost ahead of its time.
Tree of Souls(lapis lazuli ore):
This area was similar to the last one – chock-full at the start, but very easy after you cleared out the horde of natural spawns. Once you made it inside the titular tree, it's very simple, with no threats but a few spiders(and you have iron gear now, plus a Sharp X Looting V hoe). The only thing was, one wall off to the side had some bedrock-surrounded spider spawners, as you can see. You can’t disable them, or stop them. They aren’t guarding anything, as far as I could tell. I have only one question… why!?
Other than that, the map once again tries to force you to do parkour towards the top. But let's be real here, the whole reason anyone plays a CTM is so they won't have to do parkour. I just blocked past it.
Rating 3/10 Just a tree
The Graveyard(coal ore):
As you might notice from the screenshot, there's a small blast hole. As soon as you walk into the area, it explodes. No real reason, or way to prevent it. It just explodes.
From there, you have a very simple environment, with no threats except natural spawns. You have the standard gravel graves, but nothing in them. Two bedrock creepers, one with loot and one with an intersection. And one big grave with coal ore. And that's all.
Rating 3/10 Why did it explode?
The armory(diamond ore):
Upon walking into this area, you were handed some weapons. If you stuck around, you could find a gravel/sand ceiling, with the diamond ore chest hidden inside. If this were a normal map, I'd consider this the "brown/troll wool" equivalent, but in all honesty - this really wasn't much easier or harder than most of the other areas so far!
The mines(gold ore):
What you see above is pretty much the entire area. The minecart track didn't even work at the start - when it wasn't intentionally bringing you down dead ends, it was too choked with natural spawns to be usable. The end managed to be actually threatening, with skeletons and spiders coming out to swarm you. It ends very quickly though, with no loot to get.
Rating 3/10 - At least it had some spawners!
Castle siege(redstone ore???):
Looking at the name, I expected something interesting! What I got was a floating bedrock platform with four monster spawners. But the ore wasn't on it. In a one-block hole in the ceiling above, you could find four more spawners in a mob grinder setup designed to drop enemies on the floors below. The ore wasn't there either. There were four small openings in the corners of the ceiling on the main level. Three were empty, and in the last one, there was a chest containing... iron ore.
In the end, I gave up. I had searched high and low and found no ore to speak of whatsoever.
Rating 2/10 - A dissapointment with a simply terrible and confounding scavenger hunt. That's not why I came to this map, dangit!
This map is entirely confused. The loot throughout is incredibly broken, each area is simply a cave with some stuff in it, and the difficulty ranges from ridiculous to ridiculously easy. I frequently saw things that made no sense, or were easily bypassed and pointless. In the end, the map managed to defeat me, not with any combat-based challenge, but by hiding the wool in a spot that I couldn’t find, even with the entire place cleared.
And I had a good time! Remember, this map is REALLY OLD – back from the beginning era of CTMs. And its interesting to play through a map from the time back when CTM mapmaking – and all “adventure mapmaking” in general - was still much more experimental than it was today. I think its safe to say that a map like this would never have been released in today’s minecraft era. Seeing all the insane design might not have been particularly engaging, or immersive, or good, or even fun… but it was certainly entertaining!
(Doesn’t change that the map is total garbage by today’s standards, though)
Gameplay: ++++----- 4/10
Aesthetics: ++-------- 2/10
Functionality: +++++----- 5/10
Verdict: +++------- 3/10
Oh, and the door didn't lead to anything special, if you're wondering.
To preface, this is a sequel to Magical Mines. The Magical Mines was the first in the series, and this is the third. I skipped the second, Volcanic Wastelands, because it looked like a tiny open world map. Looking at this one, I think I made the right decision.
This map is much like the first, but with much of the whimsy removed. While Magical Mines toed the line between between being annoying with its general insanity and that insanity being somewhat fun, this map just spends every single area doing nothing but troll you. The beginning area has a cave with a few natural spawns, and a trap fortress that spawns tons of mobs on you. It’s the closest the map gets to a real challenge. Every single other area is nothing but a troll – every single one! You have all the standard tricks, endermen swarms, void drops, gravel traps, etc, but the map only very rarely uses actual, normal mob spawners. You’re handed loot more than strong enough to take care of all the natural mobs(the primary source of actual enemies) but it doesn’t matter much when you’re constantly being destroyed by unavoidable proximity TNT traps. I get that the map only had 1.3 tools to work with, but most of the traps aren’t particularly creative or interesting – with the exception of the one trap fortress I mentioned with hordes falling from constantly triggering dispensers above.
For example, this is what one of the BIGGER areas looked like. This is about the closest it gets to providing a real challenge rather than trolling:
In fact, this sequel makes me doubt my first review. The last one was fun to play because of how insane it was, but this one went off the deep end, taking the design decisions of the first map taken to their logical extreme – and it isn’t pretty. The map never provided any good food, so I was always starving. You were never provided with a base, but it didn’t matter, because the map is 30 minutes long if you’re going at a good pace and don’t get dragged down by the unnecessarily well-hidden ore blocks.
The map maybe could have been improved if it stuck to at least trying to maintain a semblance of structure and challenge like the first did, however insane it was – but instead, it continues to trap and blow you up right up until the end. It isn’t a CTM, so much as it is one of those “troll” adventure maps, so if that’s what you’re looking for, maybe fire it up – but if you enjoyed the first for what it was, then this one probably won’t make you happy.
Gameplay: ++-------- 2/10
Aesthetics: +++------- 3/10
Functionality: +++++++---- 6/10
Verdict: ++-------- 2/10
(This map has nothing to do with Herobrine, by the way)
Immediately upon starting the map, we can see that this map uses some newer, special stuff – maybe it wouldn’t be considered so today, but at the time, this stuff was the newest of the new! All natural spawns are removed, but rather than being replaced entirely by spawners, the areas are filled with “persistent”(non-despawning) enemies, which lets the mapmaker carefully design his encounters. Once the mobs are dead, the area is clear. How well the map used it varied depending on the area, and for this area, I’d say it was done… fairly well. However, the first challenge of the map has you swimming up – in water - to attack two skeletons, with nothing but your bare fists. No more will spawn in to help them, but it doesn’t make things any less impossible. Pitting you against two skeletons in a water area as the map’s first real challenge is an incredibly rough introduction, and it would have been fine to have you simply dodge some zombies in the water.
Once you get a handful of unbreakable wooden tools and stacks upon stacks of cookies, things get a little easier. You have to go through a cave to get to the first intersection, and it’s a nice introduction to the concept! There are a lot of nooks and crannies where mobs will attack you, and there are a few interesting encounters there. The map has a fairly solid start!
Rating – 7/10 Good introduction to the map’s capabilities
Intersection 1: There was a skeleton ladder climbing challenge, but you didn’t need to do it – it was easy to just build up the cliffs to make it to the intersection. Other than that, the intersection is fairly normal.
Rating – 6/10 What’s with the skeleton ladder?
Happy Happy Fun Times(White wool):
Deaths: 2(Falling injuries)
This area was almost too simple. Giant stone pillars protruded from the walls, and you needed to get down to the bottom to acquire the wool. The area had permanent enemies hanging out to harass you as you proceeded downwards, but no clear intended structure or route. Getting down was done by simply dropping from spike to spike. When you reached the bottom and acquired the wool, you were left stranded, with no ladders or shortcuts to take you back. Getting back up wasn’t hard, but with no blocks provided in chests and only wooden tools available, it took an aggravatingly long time. It could have been improved by providing a clear way back up, and possibly a path down as well.
On that note, we also see the map’s second gimmick, that each wool is guarded by a special custom mob. For every single area save Black wool, that mob is always an iron-armored zombie holding the wool color. This map came up with the idea of using boss mobs, but it doesn’t really do anything with them – it’s different from a wool box, but its still the same thing over and over throughout the map.
Rating – 5/10 Getting down is only half the fun…
Troll Caves(orange wool):
A very simple, but brutal area. A cave with more spikes protruding from the floor, which spawned invisible endermen and… wither skeletons carrying Flame bows. At a point when we not only don’t have our own bow and arrows, but have only leather armor and wooden tools. The progression in this map is so restricted, we haven’t even seen wood yet! Not no saplings or anything, but we haven’t had a single wooden plank so far! Getting through the area is a matter of successfully avoiding the wither skeletons, as they’ll likely kill you or at least seriously injure you if you end up fighting even one. There is some good loot in a few corners to encourage exploration, and the “boss” was backed up by a spider spawner and 2 witches (remember, some of the mobs don’t respawn). Overall, the wither skeletons were too intense for this early on, and it felt like I was in the same environment as last area. If they were just regular skeletons with a Punch bow or something, then it would have been much fairer.
Rating – 5/10 I hate skeletons!
Duality island(magenta wool):
At the start of this area, to counter the long trails ahead, we were given enough minecarts, tracks, and powered rails to build an impressive minecart track! The problem: The chest didn’t contain levers or redstone torches or any such thing, and with wood still entirely unavailable, that left us with no way to power the minecart tracks. Well, it’s the thought that counts.
The area consisted of a two-sided island, with a fortress on top. The outer portion was completely devoid of mobs, but did contain trees (made of wooden half-slabs… yaaaaaaayy…) and a reliable food source to replace our cookies (melons… yaaaaaayyyy…). There was also a brief “mine” portion where we were given TNT and levers with which to explode coal deposits. Sure, we still have no wood, which means no sticks to make torches, and there was a major TNT clump in the mines serving as a trap, but again, it’s the thought that counts.
The fortress consisted of 2 parts, a building made entirely of gravel and sand which collapses into the void at the slightest poke – its blatantly obvious that it’s a trap, but you’d be in for a bad time if you didn’t notice. The second portion is an obsidian fortress with skeletons (both of the regular and flame-wither varieties) sitting on blocks to shoot you down as you tried to ascend. However, we were finally given a bow and arrows, so we could just shoot them off their platforms. Given that, the area was surprisingly easy!
Overall, this area could have been improved if there were more things interesting to do in the outer portion without the fortresses – but other than that, it was okay.
Rating – 7/10
Intersection 2: Another “underground stone cave” design. No checkpoint back, which is bad since the previous area began with a huge drop into water. Have fun blocking back up!
Rating – 5/10 – No skeleton ladders this time.
The High Way(Light blue wool):
At the start of this area, the map hands you some very long-lasting Swiftness IV and Jump Boost IV potions(!!!), and a nigh-infinite ladder supply – as if it actually expects you to parkour, well, THAT in the picture. If your immediate reaction the very idea is the word “NO” repeated over and over ad infinitum, then we’re on the same page. The area is the biggest one we’ve seen yet, and gives you no indication of which direction you’re supposed to be going. The only enemies are some skeletons hanging around on blocks to screw you over, which we’ve already seen before. This map overall seems to have an odd obsession with skeletons, especially skeletons sitting on blocks shooting you and making you fall down. Which is bad, because skeletons are my least favorite enemy. Once you actually find and make it to the boss area(a small mossy cobblestone platform), getting the wool is no big deal… if you built a bridge through the area, like I did. It’s okay to have some parkour in an area, or to have floating platforms with enemies. But this is just a random bunch of single blocks scattered around, and you’re told nothing but “make it to the (unseen) end”. There was no point to even entertaining the parkour idea the area presents you, as there’s no reward for doing anything but “cheesing” it by building a bridge like any normal CTM player would and SHOULD.
Another note: While most of the blocks are silverfish stone, but there’s some iron ore scattered in there, too. I didn’t get any. It’s not worth it. It’s just… not worth it…
Rating – 3/10 Too stressful to play legitimately.
Web of Water(Yellow wool):
This has got to be one of the worst areas I’ve ever played, in any CTM.
It’s a water maze. But not your average water maze. It’s a BORING water maze. There is no aesthetic variation whatsoever, with the walls being made entirely of lapis blocks. The maze is very large, and filled with dead ends – most of which have no chests or rewards for getting to them, making exploration feel pointless and stupid. The map does provide some night vision/water breathing potions, which you will need to complete the area… but because that isn’t brutality enough, they have hunger and Mining Fatigue tacked on for no real reason. It also gives a fair amount of glowstone to mark your way and where you’ve been, but if you don’t get lucky and find the end quickly, there isn’t enough to last you, even when used fairly conservatively.
The only actual threats in this area are a handful of cave spiders, which only appear intermittently throughout the whole thing – the rest is just you swimming and hoping to actually find something. Since we’re in water, and this is before Guardians, its generally very hard to make combat in water actually interesting – and this map doesn’t really try too hard. Just stay below the ceiling where the spiders are swimming, and you’ll be completely fine.
The main flaw of this area wasn’t the bad aesthetics (which it had), or the bad combat (which it had). It was that it was long, and boring, and pointless. It would need a complete overhaul to be any good at all. Fill the dead ends with loot to make the exploration feel less terrible. Vary the aesthetics as you go through to give some sense of progression. And add some actual challenges and threats. As it stands, the area has none of those things. It’s just a boring swimming exercise with nothing to do but test your patience!
Rating – 2/10 Terrible.
Blazing Fields(Lime wool):
This area was over in 2 minutes.
It’s literally just a trek through a (very short) netherrack field, that has more spikes protruding from the ground. Sometimes, you’re attacked by blazes which don’t respawn. There’s also the occasional non-primed and easy-to-destroy creeper spawner. The “boss” at the end was totally unguarded, and the way to the next intersection was immediately behind him.
Rating – 5/10 I was expecting more.
Please refer to my Intersection 2 segment. Because this one is basically the same.
The monument! It’s perfectly serviceable, comes with some items – and best of all: It has shortcuts to both the previous intersections! Both very inconveniently designed with minecart tracks instead of teleporters, but it’s better than walking!
Rating – 7/10 Finally, a place to set up and take a break.
Tree of Life(Pink Wool):
Deaths: 2(Flame bow Wither skeletons!)
This area was split into 3 sections; a giant stone plain filled to the brim with more flame-bow wither skeletons. When I saw them the first time, I expected them to use more custom mobs. But instead its just these same skeletons, over and over again. They aren’t placed creatively, just dotted throughout in a huge crowd! The field is harder to get through than it needs to be, being completely empty with no cover, and arrows are still a very limited resource. When you get to the tree, you then must climb a mostly empty mossy cobblestone spiral (The “Tree of Life”), while occasionally being jumped by a skeleton or two. The third part is the only interesting part, where you have to dig up from underground into an area filled with regular skeletons and the armored wool enemy.
The central problem with this area is that its just so EMPTY. The stone plain you see in the background of the picture is the first part I’m talking about, it contains NOTHING but those stupid skeletons. The tree climb is boring, and only the end has anything interesting to offer. It’s just an area filled with nothing but skeletons. If it was actually filled with loot and buildings and other interesting things, then maybe it wouldn’t be so bad.
Rating – 3/10 More like, Tree of Death
Race of the Demigods(Gray wool):
To start, this area extended from a side passage from the previous area – and since the previous area mostly consisted of a long, boring walk to the destination, that wasn’t a good sign.
This area actually had something of a gimmick – at the start, it gave you some carrots-on-a-stick and saddled pigs to ride! Its an interesting idea, but… the map did nothing with it. The entire area once again consists of the mostly-empty sand field you see in the picture above, and you’re occasionally attacked by immortal ghasts. There’s nothing to do with your pig friend except watch him struggle to jump up the very hilly terrain. If you chose to totally ignore the area’s gimmick and walk, you would lose nothing. You might even get done faster. The problem with this area is that, again, it’s totally empty. It does try to be interesting, but the gimmick it gives you is totally useless. If the sands were filled with buildings to take shelter in, or some sort of challenge where having a pig to ride would have actually helped, then it would have been much better. It might have even been interesting.
Rating – 4/10 If the picture looks boring, it's because the area is boring!
Explosive Nest(Light Gray Wool):
VOID! The horror!
In all seriousness, this area is actually interesting, if only because the void provides suddenly greater tension. That said, the level of resources the map provides don’t feel sufficient for void to appear just yet – with how little loot chests are in all the areas, it would be very difficult to recover from a major inventory wipe.
The area does keep things interesting by throwing creepers at you, but it doesn’t do much to vary things, and you can create a safe path through for yourself if you’re observant of where the spawners are – this area lacks the usual pre-placed enemies. If there had been a little more going on than creepers and bridging over void – and maybe replacing the void with something less deadly. The entire area’s concept also feels very unoriginal – even in the 1.4 mapmaking era, “creepers attack you with TNT and void nearby” was a pretty well-used concept.
Rating – 6/10 Scary…
Again, see my comments on Intersection 2. It feels especially bad to have no way back here, since the monument actually gave us some minecarts back to old intersections, but no more ways back were ever provided from this point onwards.
Experimental Alchemy(Cyan Wool):
Deaths: 3(Misguided choices)
This area was actually interesting! It essentially had many rooms where it would pose a riddle, and based on that you had to choose one of 4 buttons. One would give you the potions you needed to pass through, one would hurt you but let you live, and the other two were instant death. The riddles started out as simple logic puzzles, but quickly progressed into obscure minecraft knowledge(use cobblestone blocks to find north!). Though not perfect, it does get points for actually being interesting!
Rating – 7/10 – Actually an okay gimmick!
Caves of Brutality/Seeds of Hope(Purple wool):
Deaths: 1(Tried to run past skeletons)
One thing about this map, it has good names for its areas. But that only makes me feel more disappointed when the areas don’t live up to them. This area was – AGAIN – a stone cave, made of obvious MCedit diamond brush strokes. It was very windy, and though the actual wool wasn’t hard to find (just go in a straight line from the start, and at one point pillar up a cliff), there were a lot of pointless dead ends going every which way, with little loot to fill them up. I do have one good thing to say about this area; it finally varied the enemies! In addition to the flame bow wither skeletons we’ve been seeing… and seeing… and seeing… we also got resistance-buffed zombies and normal skeletons to go with them! And even a handful of spiders too! Hurrah! The area could have been improved with varied aesthetics – if you’re going to copy Vechs diamond-shaped MCedit brush area, at least go the full way and make it sandstone and nethherrack too. It should have also been more focused – make the main path a bit longer, but remove a lot of the pointless side-hallways. Other than that… this one was okay.
Rating – 6/10 It wasn’t particularly brutal.
Also, this area did have one gimmick, hence the “seeds of hope” alternate title. It had one absolutely crucial, critical, insane piece of loot: Guess it. Come on. Guess. What have I mentioned I’ve been lacking since the map’s beginning?
This is the first point in the entire map we actually get wood! Have I mentioned that the loot curve in this map is very odd? When it does give chests they generally have stuff that is absolutely critical to you, but it gives very, very few chests. Our main food source is still cookies, melons, and some apples (okay, you could get bread if you were willing to grind forever), and we have iron, but not sticks to actually make it into stuff. Denying wood actually causes some problems up to this point, like being unable to make new tools or torches, certainly dooming you if you lost too much stuff. Up to this point, I suffered no completely catastrophic(IE, can’t recover items) deaths, but if I did, since I don’t have sticks to make new tools and the map is very stingy on giving them out, I probably would have been left practically unable to keep going. With all the void and lava this map tosses around, it just doesn’t give enough loot to justify it!
Super Maze of ???(Blue wool):
At first, this had all the makings of another Web of Water. The entire thing was made out of stone corridors filled with more annoying resistance-clad zombies and skeletons. However, I was pleasantly surprised! Not only was I able to find the wool and intersection pretty fast, it actually had loot in a lot of places, even the dead ends! If for that alone, this area was an improvement. The aesthetic and design consisted entirely of “stone-surrounded 3x3x3 corridors”, but other than that, it was okay! Plus, I’m getting used to having absolutely no aesthetics involved by now. Still, there was little variation and not much reason to explore it fully.
Rating – 6/10 What was the ??? ?
Sandstone-Bedrock Zone(Brown wool):
Do note that this area and the next were not named, I made them up. These two areas were also in the nether, but there was no real reason why this one couldn’t have been in the overworld. It was very simple, you were given several very short paths filled with monsters, and you needed to pick one and get through it to get the wool. The brown wool is generally supposed to be a shorter “troll” area, so it gets a pass for being really, really easy. There was also a loot chest guarded by an invincible skeleton, which was a neat touch. This area was, overall, itself – it could have been improved by having an aesthetic other than “bedrock”, or by having more to do, or loot to encourage going more than one of the paths.
Rating – 6/10 Brown wool.
Stone Brick Zone(Green wool):
Deaths: 8(3 Mob swarms, 5 attempts to retrieve dropped items from other 3 deaths)
This place… phew. A very simply designed dungeon, made out of stonebrick rooms. In them were six pillars piercing through the whole fort that contained massive columns of spawners, which spawned every mob type in the game. If you didn’t realize what was going on immediately – and even if you did – then these columns would quickly cause the area to be swarming with MASSIVE amounts of regular minecraft mobs. At this point, we MAYBE have some diamond tools and iron armor. Good, but not enough to handle the insane outpouring of mobs this area gives out! The gameplay is trying to destroy the spawners, which are hidden in huge pillars, while not dying, because if you do, its going to be very, very difficult to get all your items back. There’s no reward at all for trying to scale the fort the normal way(the entire area seemed to be devoid of any loot), so the best option is to simply use the spawner-columns to pillar to the top floor and get the wool out as quickly as possible.
Despite that… at least this area wasn’t boring. Stuff was happening. It felt the most like a “normal” CTM dungeon, using spawners instead of pre-placed mobs. Still, if the spawners and area had had some semblance of structure and balance, instead of just a building flooded with uncontrolled amounts of enemies, then it would have been better.
Rating – 5/10 Spammy.
Minotaur’s Maze(Red wool):
Back to the overworld for our last areas! This area initially seemed to present almost a conundrum – if you stayed down inside the maze, the buffed spiders couldn’t get to you, since the entire thing was made of twisty 1-block wide passages. The problem is that the maze is too insane to even consider solving “legitimately”, and the spiders aren’t a big enough issue to make it worth it. Beyond that, this area is MASSIVE, and the only thing filling it is row after row of spider spawners. They’re all arranged in giant rows, with no thought given. The wool within is hard to find, hidden in a little part below an identical-looking maze, and I only stumbled upon it by pure chance. There is, again, no loot to be had. All in all, it’s a very poor maze. It isn’t even a maze at all. It should have either been replaced with an actual, reasonable, solvable maze, or a wholly different dungeon.
Rating – 3/10 We’ve had enough mazes already
Forest of Imagination(Black wool):
This was… sort of an interesting final area? I wasn’t expecting to come out into a forest, of all possible environments. At the start, you’re handed a massive stash of diamonds(assuming you survive the trap guarding it). Then, you’re subjected to a huge climb up the “volcano” in the middle – yet another stone-based hill. There’s a staircase ringing the volcano, but its swarmed with insurmountable amounts of blazes. Enchanting and potions aren’t really an option, due to the type of loot the map gives you, so trying to climb the mountain with the staircase is sure to end in pain. However, there is nothing stopping you from digging up a staircase through the stone mountain and skipping everything – which I did. The final boss is in a small arena dangling over lava, and its… a wither skeleton, with a Fire Aspect(insert high number here) sword, and a projectile protection chestplate. Defeating it is easy. That’s the final boss. That’s the end. We’re done. That’s all.
This last area could have been improved by making the climb up the volcano feel more rewarding and necessary, as the setup was actually somewhat epic – its just too difficult to play it in the epic way the map wants you to. For example, the blazes could have swarmed outside but the path up could have had some walls and a ceiling, letting you avoid the blaze swarm and encouraging you to stay on the path. Or even just put loot on the path to reward people who decide to take it with some last-minute endgame loot to help with the final boss. As it is, the main path is just too hard and unnecessary.
Rating – 5/10 At least the forest looked kind of nice.
The map starts with a unique concept, but fails to execute on it well. The first area is the only one which tries to use the pre-placed non-despawning mobs in any meaningful way that couldn’t have been done with spawners. After that, it simply feels like either they’re replacing natural mobs, or serving the same purpose that spawner mobs would have – And by the end of the map is almost entirely relying on spawners. The areas consistently look drab and dull, and the map constantly revolves between 2 difficulties: “Boring” and “Way too hard”. Web of water was 20 minutes of boring. The first part of Tree of Life was unreasonably hard. Loot is provided in quantities too small, leaving things very open to the possibility of losing everything good you have and being forced to rely on “the crap gear” - made far worse by the lack of wood and sticks. All of this adds up to a map that is all-around regular bad, and its central gimmick – which was a good idea – isn’t enough to save it. It makes me really sad, too. If this map had been better, then more people might have picked up and used the idea of “no natural spawns” early on.
All in all. It’s a major disappointment with little inspiration or fun to be had.
Preface: This map is the first map in a very brief and now abandoned series called Hardened Fury. The specific title is Consumed by Darkness, although that has little meaning on what the map is all about. Inspired by Super Hostile, the difficulty is labeled “Easy”. Let’s see if it lives up to the labeled difficulty or the difficulty promised in the series’s name!
Starting Area(White wool):
Deaths: 1(1.5 skeletons)
Upon logging in, I was pleasantly surprised. The area was a huge valley, made with stone, glowstone, grass, and some sloppy circle MCedit brushing (there were some holes in the walls that weren’t patched over). However, after the last several maps I played, this was the first one in a long time that seemed to put an actual effort forth into looking even a little bit good.
The actual spawn area was neat – you COULD simply head straight on to the first intersection, but if you so desired, you could stay, explore, and gather useful resources like an anvil and enchanting table. Right from the start, it gives the player some options, which is very much appreciated. The area itself is very short, with a few spawners out in the open. With natural mobs around, and no armor given, it still felt like an appropriate challenge for the beginning. Overall, I approve!
Rating – 8/10 An above-average starting area!
Intersection 1: Not dangerous. Free glowstone + Lapis, if you dug up the walls. An okay intersection. Rating - 7/10
The monument area, bright and early! It made me happy to get it right away. Other than that, there was nothing to say about it, save that the ore blocks were moved to a “bonus monument” area rather than being included in the main monument. A bit of an odd decision, but otherwise the monument was fine.
Rating – 7/10
Burnt-Chip Caverns(orange wool):
Deaths: 1(Skeleton + Creeper combo)
This area was very simple. All you needed to do was travel forward, as the game threw natural mobs, skeletons, and lots of creepers at you. Speaking of natural mobs, this place was full of them. At this point, we still don’t have food or bows/arrows to handle skeletons properly, making it frustrating when the area seemed to contain a disproportionate amount. However, there weren’t too many spawners around, making the place have average, if very random, difficulty. It could have done better by having a little bit more “going on”, so to speak. The only notable parts are the end cave, with an abundance of creeper spawners, and a tower with some skeletons and loot on top. There’s a lot of unused space just spent on “forest”, and filling it up would have done some good.
Rating – 6/10 The difficulty begins to climb
Deathly Shallows(Magenta wool):
Deaths: 1(4x skeleton attack)
This area began with a large upper plains-type area, which was easy to traverse in day and overcrowded with natural spawns at night – typical of sunlight-exposed areas. Just below it was a simple path with water and void, where you luckily weren’t attacked by mobs. This is the only place where the “shallows” part comes into play. The meat of the area is in the small maze you have to get through. Like mazes I’d seen before, finding the end was easy – just go straight forward, more-or-less – but there were many pointless side-paths.
Mazes can oftentimes be not fun to explore, but if you put a little reward in every dead end, it makes the player feel much better and makes the maze more fun. Why, they might even stick around once the maze is finished! But if you don’t put rewards or any reason to navigate the maze, it just feels frustrating every time they meet a dead end. This maze sadly was in the latter category. Once you’ve found the exit, there really is no reason to stick around. Not helping was that the maze area was full of natural spawns in an incredibly cramped area, and all the spawners it did have were witches – the difficulty is already getting a little too hot. It could have definitely been improved by seeding the maze with more loot but making the end harder to find. It’s no Web of Water maze, but it’s not a good maze either.
Rating – 6/10 Spammy
Intersection 2: No checkpoint, but railways were provided. Aesthetic much the same as I1. Not dangerous. Okay intersection.
Rating – 6/10 for repetition
The Malicious Mushrooms(Light Blue wool):
Deaths: 3(Burning enemies)
Let’s do a little gear check, just to give you an idea of what gear the average player has. Weapons/Tools? Stone. Food? Zombie flesh, if that – its amazing how stingy the map has been with food. Armor? Leather. So what mob would be the best to put in right now? BLAZES! Better yet, the spawners should be hidden, giving the blazes plenty of time to spawn! And the whole area should be filled with natural mobs, forcing the player to contend with skeletons and spiders while trying to search for the hidden spawners, with blazes that can kill them in 3 fireball hits spawning all the while!
And that’s pretty much how the area went! The design of the area was simply walking around on a mushroom shoreline next to a lava ocean, while being constantly attacked by hidden blaze spawners. The player doesn’t have the gear to handle blazes properly yet, and the only real option is to pull back and attack with limited arrow supplies, and then hope you can find the hidden spawner before more spawn. At least, the food problem is solved by the end, with mooshroom spawn eggs and bowls provided to our starving selves. This ends up being the primary food source for the rest of the map.
The second part of the area is aesthetically uninspired (it is literally a stone cave) but it has more to offer with gameplay, having spawners that spawned zombies with diamond swords, but also slowness. They created a more interesting challenge, since they actually had something to balance out the huge damage they did when they hit. I only have two complaints: It went on for too long, and if you wanted, you could grind them until you got your own stash of diamond swords – which is a little too powerful this early on.
Rating – 3/10 All the fire but nothing to put it out…
7x10 Horror Festival:
This area tried to mix it up a little bit. It promised an extra-hard area, with good loot at the end but no wool. The area itself is just a long hallway filled with tons and tons of spawners. However, it’s really bright from the lava flows. So bright, the vast majority of the spawners don’t even work! It actually adds an odd element of strategy, with you having to figure out which spawners are dangerous and produce enemies and which ones you can destroy at your own pace. It helps that at the end, actual useful loot is provided, and it doesn’t go the “stick” route, one of my initial fears upon entering the area.
It could have been improved by being a little less spammy overall, and possibly by seeding the loot throughout the area rather than having it in one chest all at the end, giving the player the opportunity to leave if they wanted to. This area really only works as an optional sideshow, but as an optional sideshow, it works okay!
Rating – 7/10 A neat side-area
Nether Passage(Yellow wool):
This area was designed far too simply. The entire thing is just a long, winding “bridge” that isn’t hanging over anything but netherrack ground a couple blocks below. Skeleton spawners are scattered throughout, but they aren’t primed, so you can simply run up and destroy most of them. You just keep walking, get handed some loot, and eventually you arrive at the wool. If you decide to stick around and get the loot near the wool, things get a little more interesting, and it starts to throw the same skeleton spawners at you in much larger quantities. But it’s too little, too late, and the loot isn’t even worth the trouble.
Overall, this area could have varied on its theme. As it is, it is literally just walking down a path and taking out spawners until you reach the wool. It’s terribly boring.
Rating – 4/10 Skeletons and boredom, my least favorite things.
I3: Hanging over void, but no traps. No checkpoints back were provided, but a rail kit was. It looks sort of nice, and at least a little unique.
Rating – 6/10
Explosive Death Floors(Pink wool):
Just so long as you weren’t playing stupidly, this place was actually pretty relaxed! It did live up to its name, throwing creeper spawners at you constantly, which forced slow-but-steady play to not be blown up into the lava below. Once you made it past the short pathway and into the tower, there weren’t that many floors to fall, and the wool was at the bottom rather than lava, making things surprisingly easy. The area wasn’t all that bad, and I don’t have too many complaints, just that it would be better to have more loot and the tower should be a little more dangerous. As it is, once you make it past the area approach, the tension disappears.
Rating – 6/10
Miner-Intense Zone(Lime wool):
Upon entering the cave, there was one thing you’d see right off the bat: Iron. And LOTS of it. This area essentially began with a huge gear upgrade, as you couldn’t have gotten even gold or chain from the chests thus far. Aside from that, however, the place was rather boring. There was a water cavern, with some holes in the water to drag you under, but nothing you’d encounter when swimming through. There was the occasional creeper spawner, but they weren’t primed, and even with the water I could generally break them before they did anything. Its more-or-less just a straight shot to the wool with few detours.
There was one interesting part, and one I saw as a lost opportunity. The wool box is positioned in the middle of a large circle of creeper spawners, but one part of the circle is open, so you can just swim straight through. Now here, there could have been a trap of sorts; once you got inside the wool box, you would have been in the perfect range to activate all the creeper spawners, potentially leaving the player fleeing with tons of creepers on their trail. However, the wool box was too far away to activate the spawners, and there was no reason to deal with them at all. Overall, it is once again, easy and not particularly fury-inducing.
Rating – 5/10 Thanks for the iron!
Lava-Cold caverns(Gray wool):
At the start, this area was just a lava river with ghast spawners on the side. There was no real purpose to traversing the river, so how the area actually worked was that you walked on the side, hoping the natural spawns wouldn’t blow you into the lava. It was boring, but bearable. The second part was again when things got a little more interesting, with a cobweb-filled area combined with creeper spawners. It was a more interesting challenge than simply ghasts above a lava river. That seems to have become a theme of the map, with having first portions that are easy and boring, and second portions which do something more interesting and mix things up.
Rating – 6/10 The second half saved it
I4: Bridges hanging above lava, the aesthetic is a netherrack dome. A railway kit was once again provided in place of a teleporter, which is less excusable this time, as the previous area was a lava river followed by a cobweb cave.
Rating – 5/10
Deep-Creep arena(Light gray wool):
The entire area was just a giant downward spiral with lots of mob spawners that spawned zombies, creepers, and of course, plenty of skeletons. There isn’t much to say about it other than that it felt way longer than it was. At this point we can handle normal mob spam just fine, so it wasn’t difficult as much as it was annoying. There was no loot until the bottom, and this area just didn’t feel good to play through at all. The only thing I felt at all was my armor durability slowly draining. It could have been improved by adding any variation to the environment at all, besides just a giant cave-type downwards spiral. It didn’t even have a more-interesting second half to round it out!
Rating – 4/10 Spam
Light-streak ravine(Cyan wool):
This area was very short, which is good because there wouldn’t have been any point to extending it. It’s a cobweb-filled cave, which is supposed to be filled with cave spiders, but there’s surprisingly few of them, so you spend most of the time contending with natural mobs. At the end, you have to build up into a giant cobweb with the wool box inside, but nothing attacks you up there, making it somewhat pointless. I can’t say it didn’t have ANYTHING interesting about it – the area you play in is made entirely of redstone lamps, and the map gives you a chest full of levers at the beginning of the area, letting you use them to trigger the lamps instead of your regular torches. It falls into the “kind of neat” category, but isn’t enough to prevent the area from being anything but a bore.
Rating – 4/10 Not spidery enough.
Blazing Lava tunnel(Purple wool):
It began simply enough, and… well, stayed that way. As you can see in the image, its nether-brick fences hanging above lava, meaning you can’t use your water bucket to neutralize it. If you want to use the water bucket to go below the fences, the map predicts you, with the fences slowly going closer to the lava as the area continues. By the end, the fences are directly on top of the lava… but its TOO close, as the mass of spawners surrounding the wool is lit up so much by the lava that they can’t even spawn anything! In any event, the area’s main threat can be completely neutralized just by sticking to the side and breaking yourself a little path in the netherrack. It could have been improved by, again, adding variations on the theme and giving the player reason to actually fight on the fences – such as chests located in the middle of the path.
Rating – 3/10 A short walk over lava
Intersection 5: A giant obsidian hole, with a natural spawn honeypot at the bottom. No teleporters, just another rail kit.
Rating – 4/10 for unoriginality. None of these intersections are interesting.
Silverhead ceiling(Blue wool):
Deaths: 1(Creeper attack)
At this point, I believe we should stop for a minute and talk about the map as a whole. Its settling into a theme. A theme poison to creativity, and one I’ve seen many times before in many minecraft maps. It’s “hallway syndrome”. This map’s first few areas seemed inspired, oftentimes having a second half which mixed things up. But as time has gone by, we’ve seen this same area template again and again: A giant hallway that leads to the wool. The only thing that changes is the block variation and types of spawners. The hallway doesn’t steadily ramp up the challenge or try different variations, instead, it gives you the same challenge 10 times in a row, and then has a slightly more insane version guarding the wool (but still one simple to overcome). The most clear evidence of this settling in is the disturbing lack of any type of loot. This entire area was devoid of a single loot chest, save the wool box. The map as a whole has been stingy in giving out its backup loot, but this area takes it to ridiculous heights. Loot is an incredibly important part of CTM map design, because it serves as the “bait” countering the freedoms given by survival mode. The map lacking it is a major problem, as it makes playing through the areas feel much less satisfying than it should.
Back to the area itself… The challenge that this area is SUPPOSED to have is “fight silverfish from spawners while some of the blocks in the area around you happen to be silverfish blocks.” Not exactly original, but okay. But what REALLY happens is that this area has TONS of natural spawns. Just SWARMS of them. The whole silverfish thing is really just a side-note compared to the mountains of skeletons, creepers, and spiders that appear in giant crowds! In general, its far better for maps to have lots of honey boxes to control the natural mobs, and the purpose of natural mobs is to make the area appear a little more active, and give your spawners time to spawn – but we’re more than halfway through the map, and the natural spawns are so dense, they’re the primary challenge! This makes the area very intense, but not in a fun way.
Rating – 3/10 Hallway syndrome’s result, and the map's lowest point
Demonic Slim-Caves(Green wool):
Luckily, the map’s final areas do at least manage to break out of hallway syndrome. This area is a small netherrack cave, with some custom mobs finally populating it – zombies with leather armor, iron swords, and speed I. They can do surprising amounts of damage when underestimated, and they were actually fun to play against. The natural mobs again got in the way way too much, but at least the area’s mobs were actually a threat this time. It was certainly better than the last area. It’s very short, however. It could have been improved by being a bit longer or doing more interesting things with the custom mobs aside from just scattering them everywhere.
It also contained a nether portal, our gateway to the map’s endgame.
Rating – 6/10 Better than the last one
The Death Rock Findings(Brown wool):
This place looks a little better, at least! At the start, you have to walk through a bedrock cave with a lot of creeper spawners. Then, you have to walk on a bridge above void with creeper spawners and a huge number of natural spawns. Then, you have to walk through a straight 5x5 tunnel with creeper spawners. Things do change, but there’s little real variation – its just a giant walk with bedrock and creeper spawners. If it had thrown different types of challenges at you on the void bridge, instead of just having pairs of 2 spawners at consistent intervals, or made the final part into a dungeon rather than a big hallway, then this could have been a better area. But as it is, it’s just another hallway!
Rating – 4/10
The Nether(Red and black wool):
I was expecting some truly Hardened-Fury final area. The final areas of these maps vary, being intense, or, well, this. The last areas are just… nothing. The hallway split you see in the picture leads to both the red and black wool, and you almost immediately reach them. To get the red wool, there’s a big void hole, with skeleton spawners on each side. However, the walls are made of netherrack – just break a path through it and you can skip it entirely. There is literally no reason to try and build a bridge. The black wool isn’t much better. Once you cross the blaze lava pool, you immediately reach this place, the FINAL ULTIMATE CHALLENGE:
Two circles surrounding a small island with the black wool. It could have been a proper spiral, where you had to run around and slowly approach the center, but instead you can just bridge straight there. The spawners aren’t primed, giving you plenty time to break them. I didn’t see anything but pigmen for the entire little area. Once you reach the black wool, all you need to do is grab it and leave. And then that’s it. We’re done. The end. I’d say more, but there’s nothing to say – that’s all these areas are. Let’s go talk about the map as a whole.
Rating – 2/10 – one of the most disappointing finishes I’ve seen.
At the start, the map was okay. The areas felt at least a little inspired, and had something interesting about them. But as it went on, it just… died. The areas lose their spark, and become formulaic hallways. By the very last wools, there was nothing left but boredom. Green wool was the closest thing the map had to anything resembling a genuine challenge, but after that, it just dissipated.
Aside from the hallway system and sluggish pacing of the areas, there were many other consistent problems. As you went through the map, the natural mobs got worse instead of better, and multiple times provided the primary source of challenge for areas even in the endgame wools. There is shockingly little loot provided in the map, and I suspect that a few catastrophic deaths in the frequent void and lava would have left you seriously crippled in your ability to complete the map – though thankfully, the map is easy enough that it’s unlikely for a skilled player. So little loot means that taking the fun path in many areas feels entirely pointless, and there’s no reason not to cheese the very easily cheesable areas. Once hallway syndrome sets in, there was very little redeeming about the map onwards. If you’re going to play it, feel free to drop it after the first intersection if you don’t find it fun. The gameplay becomes boring, the aesthetics are uninspired and rely way too much on stone, and stone-cave-type areas. I will say one good thing, at least I generally knew where things were and what I needed to do. Other than that, this map is nothing but a lot of boring areas; some with lost potential, others that were always irredeemable.
This map is the very first in a 4-part series. I’ll play through each map in the series, and review each one, examining how the maps change as we go on through the series – and how they changed, for better or for worse, as the maps go on.
The Humble Apprentice:
Deaths: 1(Fail fall)
It’s not too special of a starting area, but its hardly a bad one. There’s plenty of loot to get and lots to do – it even has a small optional side-dungeon with some loot hidden within! The map gives you some leather armor, tools, and food to start you off, with wood around, and if you search you can find –
…Yeah. The loot distribution in this map can be best described as “an unceasing flood of wonderful things”. Chest filled with lots of good random loot are placed very liberally, and you’re unlikely to ever want for anything, Which is good, because of reasons I’ll discuss in the next area.
In any event, moving on from this area to the intersection is no trouble at all.
Rating – 7/10 Good start.
Intersection 1: Full of annoying vines for no real reason, but otherwise not a bad place.
Rating – 6/10
The Mysterious Castle(orange wool/Sethbling’s head):
The map continues to give an unceasing flood of amazing things in every chest. However, the mob spam begins – the outside of the castle is dotted with several spawners, making the approach to the castle fairly difficult. But the actual inside of the castle has a huge number of regular spawners – making it incredibly enemy-filled.
Let’s talk a little bit about how minecraft’s spawners work. They spawn theoretically infinite numbers of whatever type of entity they’re set to spawn – but only in specific conditions (for most enemies, those conditions can be summed up as “being in darkness”), AND while the player is near them. By default, a spawner has a range of about 16 blocks in every direction. When you’re in that radius, they’ll start spinning up and preparing to spawn things, and when you’re outside it, it stops – but retains how “close” it was to spawning its next batch of entities. Because of this, when you’re in a CTM area, not all the spawners are active at once, only the ones immediately around you. Because of this, most good CTM maps are designed so that when you’re fighting one grouping of spawners, you’re fighting just that grouping – the others are far away, or placed just close enough to give you a sense of urgency in destroying the one you’re on. This map is filled with fortresses and close-together rooms – and it lacks that balance. In this area, while you’re fighting the outside spawners, the ones in the castle are spawning. While you’re fighting the inside spawners, the spawners in the wool room and roof are spawning. Because of this, you’re always fighting TONS of enemies – it adds up quickly, and hordes build up surprisingly fast with minecraft’s spawner rules.
\With all the enchanted gear, it’s easy to cut through the mobs, but there’s so MANY of them, they’ll bring you down if you don’t move fast. There’s so much gear, even at this early part of the map, that it isn’t a big deal in any case. It has a pretty good design for an earlygame area, but there are so MANY mobs…
It also introduces the map’s secondary “bonus” objective, which is to collect the heads of various youtubers in chests guarded by custom mobs. I’ll discuss the heads in the conclusion.
Rating – 6/10 Spam-tastic
Ender pearls(magenta wool):
I liked this area! It had an interesting concept: There are many islands with mobs and chests full of amazing things, and you can use enderpearls to travel between them. It doesn’t give you quite enough enderpearls to explore them all without blocks to supplement, but that’s okay. The wool is easy to get, and once you have it, you can continue harvesting the area for as much or as little loot as you want depending on your patience. It’s the sort of place you could come back to later with a water bucket, if you felt like getting everything you could out of it. It also introduces some custom mobs, such as sword-carrying skeletons and a few other novelties. Kind of gimmicky, but it mixes things up enough to be interesting.
Rating – 7/10 Unique.
Overrun Watch Tower(white wool):
I didn’t find this area until I went back to the start – ah well!
From the outside, the watch tower looks kind of nice, even if the area around it is just a giant stone hole. On the inside, the place plays almost exactly like The Mysterious Castle – huge numbers of spawners and mob spam, with tons of loot to balance it all out. When played in the day, the daylight will neutralize the greater number of spawners, but this place would be a very hard beginning if you tried it at night. For that reason, I’d say the area could be improved immensely by toning down the spawners but putting it in darkness.
Rating – 6/10
Stairway to heav-hell(Light blue wool/Etho’s head):
This area was where the map’s mob spam began to reach its height. This area was simple stonebrick rooms, with nothing but TONS of spawners. Spawners embedded in the walls. Spawners in pillars. Even spawners lying right out in the open! Spawners that would activate as you tried to destroy other spawners! The mobs became an unceasing flood if you weren’t constantly moving forward (due to the overlapping spawner ranges discussed), and even with the amazing armor you had, and chests that provided even MORE great things placed every few blocks… the horde were still incredibly hard to cut through. For perspective, I broke 5-6 stone/iron swords just trying to cut through all the mob!
Overall, this area is more or less a distilled version of the whole map. It spams loot at you, it spams spawners, it spams enemies… it isn’t a carefully crafted experience. Even though you’re constantly in combat, it’s easy to zone out because all the mob slaughtering you’re doing starts to blur together. There’s never a break or pause, just constant destruction. If you like that, then you’ll like this map. If not, then you won’t. And I’d rather have interesting challenging situations than the mindless slaughter of this area.
Rating – 4/10
Intersection 2: A very boring intersection, clearly not designed to serve as anything but a transition.
Rating – 5/10
Back to Basics:
It’s the monument! And with it, comes a very nice base-type area – it only lacks a spot with chests to put your items, but that can be added on. It even contains something interesting; a bonus loot section where you can make a choice between 3 incredibly amazing loot chests with various specialties. The monument has everything you need, and was a very welcome rest amidst everything else. It even looked kind of nice.
Rating – 8/10
Another Day, Another Zombie(Yellow wool + Guude Head):
The mob spam problems I’ve already talked about were present in this area too, so I won’t rant about them too much. But this area is exactly what you expect it to be from the moment you walk in. A “town” with spawners shoved in every possible location. It did look okay, and the central tall building at the end was surprisingly easy compared to the rest of it. However, it doesn’t do much interesting except be filled with buildings which are filled with enemies. The mindless slaughter continues.
Rating – 5/10 It lives up to its name.
Souls of the Dead(Pink wool):
This area was one of the more interesting ones! The mob spam was toned down *slightly*, and the area had multiple interesting parts – the graveyard has custom mobs in it, such as fast-moving skeletons and invisible zombies. The mansion had witches (too many of them). There was a portion with buildings and a long-range spawner that spawned enemies at ridiculous rate, but once destroyed things cooled down. It actually tried to mix things up rather than throwing enemies at you, and I wish that this trend had continued more than it did. For that reason, it’s a better area.
This was really overall a terrible place. It starts with a totally random stone cave with spawners in the walls… for some reason. There’s no reason why it couldn’t just be a regular cave, serving as a short walk to the area, without tons of enemies. But that’s only the first blip on the terrible radar. The “real” area is a giant fortress, far bigger than any area we’ve seen thus far, full of twisting hallways and multiple branches, with lots of dead ends, that sticks to a main central area with stuff falling down on you from above as you ascend it. There are even more spawners than normal, and since the pathways are very close together, while you’re dealing with one, all the other paths near you are spawning more for you to deal with – retreating to reset the enemies is a must to bring things even to a manageable level!
Worse yet, this area spams custom mobs at you, rather than spamming vanilla mobs like normal – extremely durable zombies with knockback swords and Thorns armor! And they come at you in swarms! Its terrible! If they corner you, or knock you off the thin hole-filled pathways to fall into the lava below, you’re essentially immediately dead. This area alone was far, far harder than anything I faced in Hardened Fury or Brutality or any of the other “hard” maps I played! The fact that you get chests full or amazing iron gear and top-tier food the whole way doesn’t make it any better! You just die anyway! It’s a giant thoughtless mess, only balanced out by the loot distribution being an equally thoughtless giant mess! If 80% of the spawners hadn’t existed or at least exposed so I could destroy them all, then maybe it could have been better.
Rating – 2/10 A giant mess.
Intersection 4: Of all the areas to be connected to, did it really have to stem from… there’s still no teleporter, and it again clearly isn’t there to serve as anything but a transition.
The Mansion in the Woods(Cyan wool, BdoubleO’s head, GenerikB’s head):
This area began with a clump of spawners, but it was completely misleading. The actual area is surprisingly different from the norm! The first part has a few spawners that spawn massive amounts of mobs and activate from far away. The problem is, these mobs are speed-buffed skeletons, and they’re almost impossible to approach even all on their own. It spawns them faster than you can kill them, and they’ll charge out and try to slap you away before you can break the spawner. As I was building up from the top to destroy them, I had to deal with this crowd:
Still, one incredibly dangerous spawner is better than many hundreds of little spawners. The second part of the area has a smaller number of spawners than normal, spawning semi-powerful custom mobs. It actually felt like a normal area! It was somewhat fun to play! I actually liked this area! It even looked nice! A very nice break after the last one.
Rating – 7/10 Less spammy than normal!
Maze upon Maze upon Maze(Gray wool, Light gray wool, Amlup’s head):
This area began with an abandoned mineshaft, ripped straight from vanilla, filled up with spawners. It wasn’t difficult, but it was very boring. The wool was easy to find, at least. If it had been any longer it would have been much worse. But that was just a prelude to the “real” area. This entrance hides the way into the maze:
Even though it looks nice, the actual maze was a disappointment. The walls were made of leaves one block thick and were easily destroyed by the frequent creepers, spawned from spawners hidden in the ground. There was one nice touch; the whole maze being lit on fire at the end. I love to see terrible places burning down.
Rating – 5/10 The mineshaft was harder than the real maze
Diamond pit(Brown wool):
A lot of the areas we’ve seen so far have started with small, spawner-filled caves. This area initially had me wondering when the “real” area would start… but it was just a horrible, HORRIBLE spawner-filled cave the whole time. The spawners were hidden in the walls, in the floors, in an environment full of nondescript stone blocks. Even if you could see one of the buried spawners and destroy it, there were five more in your range that were spawning enemies while you were doing so. Trying to actually make the place safe was extremely frustrating with the incessant swarm of skeletons, creepers, and spiders, now with blazes and wither skeletons mixed in. The regular gear at this point was iron armor w/some diamond, and powerfully enchanted iron swords. The mobs weren’t really threatening as much as they were just really, REALLY annoying and frustrating!
When you actually made it to the “diamond pit”, it wasn’t actually a pit of diamonds… it was caves in diamond shapes shoved together. What a variation! I haven’t seen THAT before and done better! (I have, in a number of maps). The wool was guarded by a special custom skeleton, backed up by swarm upon swarm of regular skeletons, with “Vechs1” for a head. Seeing as it was very similar to Vechs head but also wasn’t “Vechz”, it should have been made clear to the player that this enemy WASN’T for the head monument.
While almost every area we’ve seen so far does at least SOMETHING right or unique, this area was just a giant cave filled with everything wrong about the map: Spawner spam too great to beat, where you can’t even find the spawners to destroy them! There was nothing redeemable about this area at all! Nothing! It was complete garbage! It’s especially disappointing to see this after having some interesting areas!
Rating – 1/10 It’s just a cave! JUST A STONE CAVE!
Iron bars(Black wool):
(The area name sign was replaced with item frames with iron bars)
This area seemed very complicated. Void stretched below, as it forced you to run on iron bars while skeletons attack you, battle on thin ore-filled stone spirals with blazes and skeleton spawners embedded in the ground. Like many areas of this nature, it doesn’t give you much to deal with these, especially since the spawners are still as hidden as always. I ended up sprinting through it all, and at the end I was surprised to find black wool! It didn’t feel special or spammy enough. Turns out that this actually WASN’T the final area – the “real” final area actually contains the green wool, going totally against the standard accepted CTM order. It’s fine to go against the norm like that, but you should indicate it to the player with a sign “This area has the wool going in the last space on the monument, but it’s NOT the final area”!
Rating – 4/10 Boring false ending
Into the Nether(Red wool, Blue wool, Zisteau’s head):
At this point, all the areas had begun blurring together. This one contained no custom mobs, just more and more normal mob spam, similar to Diamond Pit. There were big stone towers with spawners in diamond shapes on top, but little point to destroying them since there were mobs coming from so many other places. It was fairly short, so it would be easy to run through, but hard if you decided to slog it out. Red wool was right at the start, barely guarded with a few ghast and blaze spawners, and the blue wool was placed behind a miniature fortress at the end, but none of it felt particularly climactic or difficult. We’re just too strong to worry about non-custom mobs, not even the blazes, since the map starts the area by handing you tons of fire resistance 8-minute potions. The only interesting part was the end, where we got an actual lore book saying dark magic was seeping into our world, and there were some custom wither skeletons guarding a “core”. There was instructions to dig given very non-intuitively (it said dig right… WHICH RIGHT!?), to find the true final dungeon.
But before we do that, there’s a loose end.
Rating – 5/10 We’ve seen swarms too often.
Jungle Zone(lime wool):
A giant jungle area, with the wool straight at the end! This one would have been possible to play regularly, since you can see most of the spawners in the leaves. It’s a pretty normal area, with nothing special about it at all. I pretty much got the wool and got out, so I can’t say too much about it that I haven’t already said somewhere else. It was completely my fault I missed it back in Another Day, Another Zombie too.
Rating – 5/10 Can’t believe I missed it…
The Final Area(green wool):
First off, the map tells you beforehand: Make sure to play through all the other areas before this one! But the area contains the green wool, not the black wool. There’s no indication that this area contains the green wool, and some players might waste time searching for a green wool area that didn’t exist, assuming that possibly a head for the head monument is here. Either the order of the wools should have been switched around to resemble a normal map, or you should have been told, again: This area contains the green wool!
As for the actual area, it was very unexpected, but it was actually an interesting idea! The hallway lined with beacons and a few spawners appeared innocuous, but most of the beacons you see in the picture are “evil” beacons, which give off negative potion effects! This was a neat idea that I haven’t seen done in other CTMs before, and better yet, no mob spam! However, it was an incredibly easy area – the beacons only gave poison, not wither, and all you had to do was smash one of the blocks making up the beacons to disable them. Because of that, it failed to pose a real significant challenge. Still, it was at least something interesting!
Rating – 6/10 Something new
Beneath the void was a giant spamfest. Almost every area was full to the brim with monster spawners. It was difficult, but more difficult in a slow, grindy way, rather than difficult in a challenging or interesting way. In the early intersections, the gameplay of the areas is so same-y they start to blend together. The loot chests dump tons of good stuff on you right from the start, so much you’ll have to make multiple trips through each area to possibly gather everything worth having. But the loot barely gets better as you proceed through the map, and I didn’t feel like I was advancing much in power. The map’s intersection structure was confused, and I ended up playing a lot of the areas out of order. If there had been clear indication of what order to play the areas in, things would have been much better. As for the head monument, it’s an interesting idea to have miniature boss-fights as a side objective, but there isn’t much indication of what is where. I sadly ended up unable to complete it.
However, despite that, you can see some clear potential in some of the map’s areas. A few feel like they have interesting ideas that could have been executed on a little better. The map’s few good moments are generally when it switches out of mob spam mode to try something else. There’s a huge gap in quality between the areas, with about 1/3 of them being interesting and 2/3 being awful.
This map is a very old map, built back in the 1.2-1.3 era. It comes with a backstory of the entire world suffering a drought, and you must search for other inhabitable planets by first exploring this one and finding all the “lifeforms”(plants) for the monument, essentially replacing your standard wool-based CTM objectives. Finding plants instead of wool is an interesting idea, but the map doesn’t do anything particularly special with it – the caves are filled with plants, but you’re ONLY allowed to use the ones you find in special glowstone boxes, so they don’t act in any way different from wool. Right away, there’s some lost potential. If finding the plants was a big moment, like finding saplings meaning you had access to wood, or finding wheat seeds meant you had access to food, then that would have made things more interesting.
The map has an outright painfully hard start. Breaking out of the starting area requires destroying at least 3 stone blocks with your fists, which leads to a big drop into one-block deep water… but remember, this is back when one block wasn’t actually enough to cushion your fall. You’d be left with 4 hearts every time you went into the starting area until you could build a proper staircase, as the map didn’t give you any supplies to start. Right away, your weakened self has to fend off zombies, as the first tree is guarded by 2 zombie spawners plus whatever natural spawns the map deigns to throw at you, forcing you to punch zombies and skeletons to death with nothing but your fists until you can break a few wood blocks. So… you really have no choice but to die a lot until you get on your feet! And worse – your spawnpoint isn’t set very well, potentially leaving you stranded outside the map’s boundaries and forced to cheat to make it back inside.
I died 6 times trying to get through that part alone. But afterwards, I never died once more throughout the entire map, because everything else is ridiculously easy! Most of the spawners aren’t primed, or occur in small numbers or cramped areas in ways that aren’t challenging to defeat. The map had an oddly small number of natural spawns despite its small size, meaning that the spawners alone often weren’t enough to populate the areas. The REAL difficulty instead came from actually finding the lifeforms! They were hidden in many obscure places. To count just a few:
Behind a hole in the wall
Above a random gravel patch in the ceiling, with other non-secret gravel patches around to make it extra innocuous
In a room with many 2x2 gravel traps, except one of the holes actually contains the lifeform
Those were some of the worst offenders, but they weren’t even everything! It plays more like a “finding” map than a CTM half the time. It’s okay if it wants to be a finding map, but it should label itself as such instead of acting like a CTM. The areas these objectives were hidden in were very, well, boring. The map had a very simple structure; there’s a stone cave, hidden somewhere inside are 2 lifeforms, and at the end there’s a path to the next stone cave. The caves were generally about this big:
Each area was aesthetically and thematically a variation on this exact stone cave. Now you’re in a stone cave with snow and ice. Now you’re in a stone cave with mushrooms. Now you’re in a stone cave with a broken bridge. The final area had you in a BIG stone cave, with a little fortress-type area that almost seemed imposing until you realized that there were hardly any enemies inside to guard the lifeform. The good news is, the map only lasts 45 minutes total when played straight through – but you would probably be better off using those 45 minutes somewhere else.
Preface: In my quest to play and review the entire BTV series, we’ve arrived at the second map! After the spamfest that was the first one, we’ll see whether the second one improves, or falls into the same flaws. This map is fairly modern, and does use some of 1.7’s new functionalities – but how well does it work?
Spawn: The introduction area gave me déjà vu to the last one! It’s designed almost the exact same way, and also becomes very dangerous at night. There’s plenty of loot at the onset, but its all marked and specific, giving off the impression that the map is trying to get you set up properly rather than dumping tons of stuff on you with thoughtless randomized loot. In order to make it to the intersection, you must traverse a brief cave, which again is filled with spawners, some in clumps, all hidden within the walls. This is a problem that will persist throughout the map, similar to the first – spawners hidden in walls, making them too difficult to find and destroy. Other than that, this was an okay start.
Rating – 7/10
Intersection 1: A very simple, non-dangerous intersection. Nothing special about it.
Rating – 7/10
Miner’s Expedition(White wool):
This area starts the map off on the right foot! The spawners contain some custom mobs right away, and while there are less of them, many of them are in the worst possible place… buried in the walls and floors! For the majority of this dungeon, it’s nigh-impossible to make any area completely safe, as there’s always another spawner hiding somewhere in the walls! It makes the initial part of the area and the map into a major slog when it doesn’t need to be. And it’s a pity, because in the later part of this area near the wool, it stops hiding the spawners and starts putting them out in the open like normal – and when it does that, it’s actually pretty fun to play!
The locale of the area was a simple “underground mines” area, but did add a lot of other elements into the mix, such as vines, and creeper spawners surrounded by TNT. None of it was truly new or unique, but it did feel more inspired than “stone cave #451”. The area provides plenty of good loot to help us get started out, and each chest was unique with hand-placed loot, rather than the formulaic randomized loot of BTV1, even though there wasn’t much variation in what was in the chests. The area was actually fairly long - almost TOO long. However, that could have been improved not by chopping off portions of the area, but to move the buried spawners out in the open so we could break them faster. That alone would have made the area have a faster pace.
This whole area gave off a very light “Ragecraft” vibe, though it isn’t nearly as polished as the titular series. It was actually a fairly good starting area! I hope to see more like this.
Rating – 7/10
Pharoah’s Riches(Magenta wool):
The start of this area was a simple approach to the temple. The primary thing in your way was spawner towers, small towers containing 9 spawners in a huge square on top. These spawners covered just about every mob type – creepers to blow you up, zombies to swarm you, and skeletons to shoot you down while you tried to pillar on top of them. They were challenging, but mostly because there wasn’t really any good way to approach them. One possibility to improve this would be to have overhangs in some of the area – the cliffs are already there – so you could drop down from above on top of the towers and break the spawners that way. This area also introduced a new custom mob, with golden armor, weapons, and of course, cactus heads with thorns. I could go on an entire rant about thorns, but I’ll save it for later, because there weren’t too many enemies here and the map gave plenty of food, so it was excusable. …For now.
Once you got to the second part of the area, things got interesting. The pyramid was surprisingly empty, but below it was a huge network of catacombs full of loot and monster spawners, and you’re given nothing but a half-complete map to guide you. Actually giving you a half-map of the area in a maze-type area was a neat idea, but it proved unneeded, as the maze itself was small enough that you could find the wool without needing the map. All the passages were very cramped, and if you moved too slowly the mob spam in a tight space could become overwhelming and force you to retreat – but the place is designed so that if you move quickly, it won’t become unmanageable, thankfully. Overall, this place was pretty fun to play through, at least for the second part. The first part, however, could be improved by either giving the player a good way to get on top of the spawner towers or making them less insane and more approachable.
Rating – 7/10
Mayan Ruins(orange wool):
This area was the worst one so far. The area started with a large, grassy plain leading up to a temple, filled with custom mob spawners… buried in the ground, and almost impossible to find with the very nondescript terrain. With little loot located in the outer area, it’s far better to just run through the whole thing entirely rather than trying to make it safe. Once you make it into the temple, things don’t get much better – we have another maze, with no map and 1-block-wide passages. It’s far easier to just smash your way through the walls until you find things than to navigate the maze genuinely. The maze definitely overstayed its welcome, which is sad because the previous (next?) area was actually a fairly good example of how to do a maze area! If the maze had more loot, an indication of which way to go, or was just shorter, then maybe it could have been fun. As it is, there’s no real reason to go through a bunch of 1-block-wide passages. At least the outside looks nice.
Rating – 4/10
Lava Lake Castle(Yellow wool):
Deaths: 3(1 tower swarm, 1 attempt to get items back, 1 lava fall)
The first portion of this area uses the same towers from Pharoah’s Riches, except way more of them. They have the same problems as last time, with little good ways to approach them, with skeletons shooting you down and creepers blowing you up every time you get close. Now, it’s repetitive, with almost no variety in either the towers or the situation when you approach the towers. Sure, some have less spawners and some have more, but it doesn’t change that the majority of this area is just pillaring up to destroy the spawners you need to get to, both in towers and ghast spawners located high up in pillars. Things get a little better once you make it to the actual castle (pictured), with the inside being an intense fight, with the spawners only hidden in the pillars rather than in the walls. But the buildup to get there is just so boring and repetitive!
Rating – 4/10
Spider Cave(Light blue wool):
Deaths: 4(Spider swarm)
Do note that this was not a separate area but a connection made to the last area near the end, and I named it myself. I have it separated because it’s completely different. And WORSE.
The design of this area is terribly simple. It’s a giant, relatively nondescript stone cave, with cobwebs EVERYWHERE. Within the cobwebs are spider spawners. LOTS of spider spawners. A lot of them just spawn normal spiders, but there are also special spiders which set you on fire and deal extra damage. Here’s how the area works: If you try to break the spawners, then unending swarms of dozens of spiders will knock you into the cobwebs and kill you, giving you no chance to escape, just because you stood still long enough to try and break the cobwebs. There’s so many spiders, and the spawners are surrounded by cobwebs, making them hard to get to. Your only real option is to try to run through the area as fast as possible, in the hopes of making it to the wool before the giant unending pile of spiders ends you – which they will. At the start, it hands you some getting-slapped-around-and-dying supplies (health/regen potions), but it doesn’t help at all! This area is thoughtless, and has too many enemies to attempt to make safe by destroying all the spawners. It’s terrible. It could have been improved only by toning down the amount of spawners until standing still DIDN’T result in you being surrounded by 30 of the things within seconds!
Rating – 2/10
It was an interesting intersection! It was entirely underwater, but it gave water breathing, making it bearable! There was a lot of command block text, which made a chest appear, and told me where to find a secret. The secret in question was a choice between chests full of armor or chests full of weaponry – just like the choice in the first map! Still pretty neat. However, despite the command blocks around, they didn’t tell you about the really important thing – that the monument was located in an innocuous teleporter only labeled “side area”. Even worse – and this completely ruins the intersection – the water breathing command blocks eventually stopped working, forcing me to build my own air bubbles and move from bubble to bubble. Because of that…
Rating – 4/10
Why was this place located behind a teleporter labeled “Side area”? This whole place has a lot of neat things, like free farms built with redstone and a huge storage room area, but the setup is awkward, clunky, and somewhat confusing. Just as an example, the place is very big despite being empty, and it has three floors – however, instead of just walking up stairs to get into the floors, you have to go into a command-block powered “elevator”, and press a button to be teleported to your floor. Once there, you’d have to wait a few seconds for the wooden blocks blocking your exit to drop away, then you could actually go out into the floor you were at. It’s a neat bit of command-block magic, but… why? After you’ve seen it work a few times, it just becomes annoying to have a clunky, slow system being your main method of transportation around your base. Just use stairs if you aren’t going to do anything special with an elevator.
This is also the first point where some teleport malfunctions began, as I was teleported into a future area out of nowhere. I managed to get back to the monument, but it was very confusing. I’ll talk about it more in a moment.
Rating – 7/10
Frozen Tundra(Gray wool):
This area had an interesting concept: A big, open area with a few “puzzles” to solve with new places in them, revealed by a lore book at the start of the area. However, the big, open area you start in (pictured) is completely boring and ugly with nothing in it except your 2 critical puzzle objectives, making it feel like a pointless walk with some natural spawns to get where you need to be. As for the puzzle objectives, one of them had the redstone completely fail (I was told to walk into a fireplace to get teleported to the area, instead I just burned). Thankfully, the one that worked had the wool! It was a fairly short and simple library dungeon. Not bad, and it contained a surprising amount of command block stuff to keep things going, such as spiders with fireworks shooting out. Overall, the puzzle part was totally unnecessary, and probably should’ve been removed entirely. Just put us in the library dungeon with whatever the other thing was as a side dungeon. That, or make the frozen tundra in the area’s name a more interesting place to be. Once you made it into the library, it was a fine dungeon. The third intersection is also found here.
Rating – 7/10
Jungle Snipers(Lime wool):
This area initially had me scared of skeleton party land, but it was just a giant jungle-y plain with some spawners. The building with the wool was almost completely unguarded, and only a 30-second walk from the entrance. You were attacked by a few custom mobs, but nothing particularly difficult. It was off-putting how short it was. I can’t say much else about the area, because there really wasn’t much else of an area!
Rating – 3/10
The Faint Desert(Pink Wool):
Just like with the Frozen Tundra, this area worked as something of a “scavenger hunt”. We got 2 hints given at different places (one at the start and one further in given by an NPC – a cool event, but why?), but they were both hints for the same objective, leading to much confusion. The desert appears to be backed up by long-range spawners, but like the tundra, is also largely empty. Once you find the gravel pond, you get to the REAL area.
The real area is a neat little laboratory/maze area, but it’s very short. There are a few interesting things in it, such as some laboratory-type exhibits and another small maze, but the mobs guarding it are far too tanky (diamond armor zombies already?). This area could definitely have been improved by replacing the diamond armor mobs with less tanky, but more interesting custom enemies. Other than that, once you made it past the desert part, it was fine.
Rating – 6/10
Intersection 3: I use “intersection” here very lightly. Hidden deep within the library area in gray wool was a teleport to a small room with three colored class blocks on pedestals with area named underneath them. Like any normal player, given no books to explain what was happening, I assumed I’d found some sort of bonus monument. But no, it was the third intersection. You break the glass blocks to travel to the areas in question. It’s a neat system, but I had no idea how it worked, since the map doesn’t bother telling me. There is at least a way back to the monument, but it’s ONE-WAY… and worse, it stopped functioning after the first time I used it! Every single time you want to get here, or go back to the monument and your very nice base, you have to go through the library dungeon, then the frozen tundra, then teleport into the monument. Or in reverse if you’re heading back. It’s very poorly set up, overall. Tell the player how to access areas, and give proper, working teleporters to and from.
Rating – 3/10
Furthermore, one of the teleports was exceedingly buggy – the corrupted lands teleport. It was triggering constantly in other areas, including the monument and Under the Lava and Through the Cave.
Corrupted Lands(Light gray wool):
Deaths: 2(Mob swarms!)
This area was a giant spamfest. It does look nice, though the ceiling and walls could definitely use some work. The gameplay was not quite so good, however. Outside the building you see in the picture, the entire area is nothing but simple plains with a LOT of 2x2 spawner clusters. While trying to break down one of these mini-clusters, you’d be in range of one or even 2 other ones, and before long, the place would be filled with so many skeletons, cave spiders, and creepers you would be forced to retreat to despawn the enemies and make it bearable. I tried to make the outside a safer place, but it was honestly easier to just ignore it all and run straight into the castle – which is safer!
Once you make it inside the castle, things do get a little better. You have to run through underground staircases and corridors while assaulted by mobs occasionally, and it’s actually pretty fun! Once you make it to your goal, the castle roof, things get bad again, with more 2x2 spawner clusters serving as the primary threat guarding the wool. This area could have been improved with less, tougher spawners or more carefully-placed spawners, rather than just 2x2 boxes placed everywhere. It feels thoughtless.
Rating – 5/10
Under the Lava and Through the Cave(Purple wool):
This area was very short. A short ways in, you’re given a bunch of Fire Resist potions to swim through a lava pool. After that, there’s just a short run through a stonebrick cave with weak and uninteresting custom mob spawners buried in the walls and then you arrive at the wool! Or, that’s what I did, after the map’s badly malfunctioning positional teleports ended up taking me to the Corrupted Lands the first 5 times I tried. At the end, there’s the fourth intersection! This area could have definitely done with a length improvement, and having more challenges to overcome than just a large cave with spawners. As it is, it’s incredibly boring.
Rating – 4/10
I also made a discovery in this area. Throughout the map, I’ve seen lots of empty chests. But the majority of the chests seemed to be working, so I thought little of it. Turns out, they were actually broken random loot chests! All the chests that should’ve been randomized loot were actually empty. It does speak to this map’s loot distribution that I’m doing perfectly fine without lots of random stuff in my inventory. If the map had had as much random loot as the first one, such a bug would’ve resulted in me having nothing. I was too far in to restart and try to fix it, but know that I can’t say much about this map’s loot distribution since I only got 2/3 of the loot available. However, I should note that most of the areas after this one started relying entirely on random loot again. I had to finish the map relying mostly on loot from the earlier areas.
If you want to play the map yourself, heed this advice: The map must be played in a specific 1.7 snapshot in order for the random loot to function properly!
Stairs to Heav-Hell(Cyan wool):
Of all the area to do a rehash of, the one that was chosen was the one from that - along with The Dormitories - codified all the problems with the first map! This iteration was done… *slightly* better. There were spawners placed evenly at the first part, spawning creepers, skeletons, and other “normal” mobs, which at this point we’re butchering like they’re nothing. You follow the stairs down, explore a few side rooms, and cut through a lot of enemies. The only problem is when you reach the last room, which is just a massive cluster of spawns, natural and otherwise, and you cut through them all like they’re nothing because your gear is enchanted iron and they’re just generic mobs. This horde:
Was destroyed immediately. The mob spam is at least not particularly crippling, even if it’s just because everything is eliminated in an instant. Other than that, the only interesting thing about this area other than being a reskin of an already-used area is that it gives you an infinite flint and steel at the start and tells you to look for netherrack (there isn’t enough around to avoid using torches). After using custom mobs for a while, a reversion to “natural” minecraft enemies comes off as odd. It would again have been better to make this area stand out more with some sort of twist on the original area, aside from making it darker and more nether-y.
Rating – 5/10
Intersection 4(Brown wool): It’s a nice little intersection with a teleport back. And it does contain another “choice” thing where you get to choose between 2 good things (eternal strength until you die vs. protection 4 diamond chestplate). It also has a small side-challenge where you shoot arrows at a wooden button and when you hit it you get brown wool. A pretty good place overall.
Rating – 8/10
Target Practice(Green wool):
This area was a (small) castle filled with a bunch of spawners and broken random loot. The spawners were again regular mobs too weak to oppose us, and even though the spawners were buried in the floor, the halls were small enough I could stop them with torches. It wasn’t challenging and didn’t have anything interesting about it. Several of the areas we’ve played in a row have been nice-looking areas that have been completely devoid of interesting gameplay or challenges. This one is no different. Compared to many of the early areas, which had command blocks (like in Frozen Tundra) or at least something interesting driving them, many of the later-game areas just feel so… aesthetically inspired, yet hollow on the inside.
Rating – 4/10
Ghasts Have Nine Lives(Blue wool):
This area finally broke out of the bog for a moment, and was a genuinely interesting troll area. The map drops you into lava but is generous enough to give fire resist, and throws ghasts at you. It’s an interesting trap, and makes up the entirety of the area, which is fine. I generally expect these trolls out of brown wool, but it’s still an interesting trick regardless of what wool color it is.
Rating – 7/10
Forgotten lava Lake(Red wool):
This area was alright! You have to run on small hole-filled pathways above lava for the first portion while being attacked by ghasts. It’s an interesting challenge that manages to be a good level of difficulty and tension for an almost-final area. Once you make it into the castle at the end, the first part is totally empty, but then you descend into the area’s final challenge, a zone with tons of wither skeletons and pigmen to fight. Many of the wither skeleton spawners are surrounded by bedrock, making it annoying to fight off the hordes whilst trying to retrieve the diamond blocks and wool from the area. However, just being unable to destroy the spawners actually feels BETTER to me than having the alternative of them just being buried in the wall so it takes way too much effort to find and destroy them. That lets me focus on doing what I need to do, rather than being forced between doing my objective while hindered by hordes or burning tons of time searching for the spawners. Overall, this area wasn’t bad! It actually could’ve been a little longer!
Rating – 7/10
Beneath The Void(Black wool):
This area was shorter than expected. It has exactly one challenge: The room you see in the screenshot. Blazes and ghasts attacking you as you have to bridge your way over void. Jumping isn’t an option thanks to the ceiling – just bridging. But it’s more complicated than it looks. The game constantly gives you blindness forever to make up for the lack of void fog. Here’s the problem. There’s no good way to approach this. Most of your options are just taken away from you. You can’t kill the blazes then push forward, because blindness doesn’t let you see them to fire back with your own bow and arrows. Bridging isn’t an option, because you’ll get fireballed straight into the void. You could try to move from island to island with your own bridges, trying to always stay with your back against the wall so you don’t get shot into oblivion. I suspect this is the intended path. However, this also doesn’t work, since blazes will eventually spawn in such numbers with the slow play that that option requires, that you’ll be criss-cross shot from a hundred directions every time you leave safety. This is a problem with a lot of “hard” maps – they think out a hard and challenging problem, but not a good way for a player to solve it. In many of those challenges, and here, the only real way to win is some form of “cheese” strategy. Enderpearls would work fine, but so would, say, the fire resistance potions you were just handed a couple areas ago. That was what I used, and it makes the entire area into something flat-out laughably easy. It’s unoriginal, and it isn’t fun. This is one of the most disappointing final areas I’ve ever seen.
Rating – 2/10
And that’s the end. We’ve won.
This map at first seemed to solve many of the problems that came with the first map, but started to revert back to them as time went by. Mob spam was still an issue, albeit to a slightly lesser extent. It used custom mobs earlier and more often, which was a welcome change, but few of the custom mobs had much interesting about them other than being stronger than their generic variants. Like with the first map, we see a few of the areas having interesting concepts, but many are just uninspired and boring. The loot during the earlier areas contains a lot of hand-placed or named loot, but as you enter the later areas, this is switched out for more random loot chests (which all broke for me). The balance of what loot I DID get was typically fairly evenly matched with the mobs, but a few specific pieces of loot were blatantly overpowered (see: +20 Attack damage sword). Area difficulty ranged from very easy to extremely difficult in no particular curve as you moved through the wool, and it was a total crapshoot what difficulty you would get every time you entered a new place. There were some command block mechanics at play, and how much they were involved varied from area to area (they were at their strongest in the midgame, but there were far less such mechanics in the lategame). As I noted, several key command blocks malfunctioned, making things difficult to deal with at points – the most major being the water breathing for the second intersection. On the aesthetics side, many of the areas actually looked pretty good! There was some over-reliance on cave-like aesthetics, but several of the area generally varied things or had nice-looking points: The building in Corrupted Lands looks really good, for example.
Compared to the first map, overall? I’d say it’s an improvement, but it doesn’t learn quite enough from its failings. Should you play it? …Well, if you derived any enjoyment from the first, or want a map like the first but less intense than it, you might like this one. But if you’re new to minecraft maps, your time is better spent on epic maps like Corona Trials and Ragecraft 3. Soon, we’ll see what the third map has in store for us.
Immediately upon spawning in, you’re given some supplies, and made to walk down a spiral while collecting wood and reading some signs. It’s a very simple start, but not a bad one. Some maps can have a simple, peaceful start and then slowly walk up a difficulty curve, while others can have starts that try to show you more of what the map is all about. This start, if anything, tried to show that the mapmaker was “nice”, by having a cobwebs-dropping-into-lava trap, except the cobwebs had a chest with enderpearls close enough to grab, potentially allowing you to save yourself if you’re fast. It’s the exact sort of trap I like; the type designed to be escaped and make the player feel good about themselves. This map sets off on the right foot, more or less.
Rating – 7/10
Intersection 1: A nice little base, and the intersection looks really nice and is safe. It’s everything I like about intersections.
Rating – 7/10
The Grove(White clay):
This area was very short and simple. It looks fairly nice, a well-decorated stonebrick cave. There’s a few spawners scattered around and natural spawns but nothing is particularly threatening. It doesn’t have anything special, but it’s an okay short, simple starting area. There isn’t anything wrong with it, but nothing great about it either.
I should take this time to talk about the map’s loot distribution. So far, we’ve been given protection leather armor, and a sharp 3 Unbreaking 5 stone sword as our best loot, with plenty of more basic loot to back us up and wood to make more tools with (no cobble, however). We’ve also been given exceedingly generous portions of food (remember though, 1.8 map). This area contained entirely regular monsters in small numbers, making it easy to cut through them. The loot we’ve been given far exceeds the threat level of the monsters in this area. It’s okay to be fairly easy since this map isn’t exactly giving off “mega hard” vibes and this is without a doubt the earlygame. As we move along, however, we’ll see that the map frontloaded a lot of its loot, and supplies start to get a lot scarcer as we move forward – hold onto the stuff you get early on!
Rating – 5/10
NOTE: This map uses colored hardened clay instead of wool!
Swamp of Souls(Orange clay):
This area was again, fairly simple and easy. It’s primary gameplay consisted of approaching islands while swimming up to them and then taking out the spawners before they could spawn anything. I say “before they can spawn anything”, because these spawners aren’t primed – “Primed” means they immediately drop enemies upon moving into range. Done poorly, un-primed spawners means the areas will be devoid of enemies to fight. Done well, un-primed spawners can add an element of strategy, forcing you to try to destroy the spawners before they spawn in a tight situation, or trying to decide which ones are the most important to destroy before the spawners can get their enemies out. Here, it’s done… okay. Since the spawners are on small islands, which you can approach by slowly swimming up to them, they will SOMETIMES have enough time to spawn things. But most of the time, I was able to destroy them before they could fire off even one handful of enemies. This area is still very easy – but we’re still at the beginning of the map, so it’s okay. We also see our first custom enemies – zombies that drop instant damage potions when they die and have leather armor. Sadly, though, they’ll only very rarely get the chance to spawn, because you can generally destroy their spawners before they activate. I had to wait for some to spawn just so I could see them. If anything, this area could have been a little bit harder, by having something to make the approach to the islands more difficult/time consuming – lift them out of the water another block or two, and then the spawners might get a few more seconds to pop out enemies. This area is almost too easy in its current form.
Rating – 5/10
(I forgot to take a picture here, just imagine a big stonebrick maze and you'll have the area)
Arcane Dormitories(Magenta clay):
This is a maze area! Despite having a fairly interesting premise (not just dormitories, but MAGIC dormitories), it ends up coming off as a fairly uninteresting place. It’s a stonebrick maze consisting of nothing but 3x3x3 hallways, some side-rooms with a few chests, and plenty of cobwebs and cave spiders. It’s at its best when it tries to vary things, such as having one of the hallways be blocked off almost entirely by cobwebs with cave spiders inside. But for the majority of it, it’s roughly the same thing, just trying to fight your way through a fairly unthreatening maze. This area gets boring fast, and it’s by far the longest area we’ve had so far. It definitely needs to have more interesting things happen as you proceed through the maze. Add a few bigger rooms with more enemies, or more hallways that have something special about them! As it is, it’s just a very simple maze area that isn’t fun to play through.
Rating – 4/10
Wizard’s Tower(Light blue clay):
This area was connected to the previous magenta clay maze area, with no easy way back. Luckily, it was short enough to be easily pushed through so you could make it to the second intersection. The first thing you notice upon entering the area is the wizard tower (pictured), and… it looks weird. Really weird. Like, look at this:
I’m not entirely sure what to make of it. Once you get inside of it, you have to advance upwards while destroying spawners on each floor. It’s a simple but solid concept for an area, and it works fairly well here – at least, there was generally enough enemies for me to fight as I moved upwards. There’s also a lot of holes in each floor’s floor, presumably to have you dealing with enemies dropping from above as you dealt with whatever was happening on the floor you were on – the only problem is, there aren’t really enough enemies for this to really work. It does at least make the environment a little more interesting. Once you make it to the top and get the clay, you need to build up with blocks yourself to get on the ceiling of the tower in order to find the next intersection. It isn’t exactly a hidden intersection, but it would’ve been great if there had been a sign telling you this, since I can see newer players totally missing it. This area again could have used a little more variation as you progressed, but it was short enough to not get boring. It did at least use two types of “wizard” enemies, one weaker version and a stronger version. That’s a step in the right direction.
Rating – 6/10
Intersection 2: It’s a simple little place, and it even has my favorite thing: A teleporter to Intersection 1! Wonderful! And a base-type place, too!
Rating – 7/10
Peaceful Valley(Yellow clay):
This area looked nice! It’s a giant plain that is more-or-less a straight shot to the wool. There’s some side-caverns with spawners and iron ore, but those are optional. The main enemies populating the plain are killer bunny spawners, in singular spawners lying out in the open. This valley is again, rather boring. Even with the “lush, green valley” setup, there’s a lot that could be done to make this area more interesting. Have a river with a bridge over it, except the bridge has plenty of killer bunner spawners, and the river is full of guardians. Have a big tower in the middle, with loot and enemies. As it is, the only things really making this area pop out are some trees here and there and the optional side-caverns – of which you only really need to harvest one. The end is the best part, with you having to scale a steep cliff face with monster spawners on it to reach the wool. But the whole area should be full of interesting challenges, rather than just having a big, boring, ceiling-less tunnel with one challenge at the end.
Rating – 4/10
The Pyramid(Lime clay):
Deaths: 1 (Blaze attack)
What a steep upwards slope! This area has an interesting concept: You’re climbing this huge pyramid, but you can’t just jump up the sides, because you’ll occasionally be stopped by barriers. So you’ll need to use enemy-filled tunnels that go into the pyramid to switch sides on the pyramid, so you can progress further. It’s a neat concept, and the tunnels are fairly interesting to play through, again using un-primed spawners well by having lots of them that you have to break before they start spawning. It even varies its challenge towards the end by using blazes and charged creepers. The main problems with it are that A: The area is entirely devoid of loot and B: The area is incredibly easy to cheese your way through – all you have to do is dig under the barrier blocks. Other than that, it’s a fine area.
Rating – 6/10
Dead Space(Pink clay):
This area had a neat central idea – at the start, you’re given a chest full of 16-minute long level 15 jump boost potions (that could easily be used in other areas; it’s generally better to use command blocks for this purpose), and made to complete a parkour-type area where you have to ascend by jumping from cloud to cloud. But that’s just the setup; doing parkour to travel upwards. In general, you want to have some more meat in the area and enemies to fight. And, this area, well… it had none. There are custom mob spawners, but none of them got a chance to spawn anything. When I stopped and waited for some to spawn so I could see them, the spawner spun up, then did its particle flame poof and slowed down again… but didn’t actually spawn anything. All the spawners in this area were either broken or didn’t get enough time to spawn (I didn’t test them all). For that reason, this area is nothing but parkour… and it gets boring quite quickly!
Rating – 2/10 for being bugged
This is a quiet little place, that actually breaks the standard somewhat by having a little challenge at the bottom, with some enemies guarding some gold ore piles. However, it doesn’t come with any teleport to Intersection 2. After the second intersection had a perfectly good teleport to the first, it’s jarring NOT to see one here, especially since the previous area was a huge parkour zone needing jump boost potions to traverse. You’re in for a lot of annoyance if you don’t want to leave your old loot behind.
Rating – 7/10 Lack of teleporter, but the gold ore challenge was a good idea
The monument! It’s perfectly serviceable, and comes with a little base to store our stuff and even some loot. Tons of food, lots of Protection II iron armor, and some good weapons. It doesn’t do anything special, again, but it’s a perfectly good monument.
Rating – 7/10
The Hallway(Gray clay):
This area was a simple, troll-type area. I won’t spoil the trap, but it’s a fairly interesting idea. Short areas with one central trap like this are good in small numbers to mix things up in the map.
Rating – 7/10
All Charged Up(Light gray clay):
This area began very slowly, with un-primed creeper spawners on platforms above lava that were easy to destroy. But as you moved down a level, the spawners down below had time to spin up while you worked on the top ones, meaning it got a little more intense. Once you made it inside to the “second” part, you were descending down several repetitive rooms, with the exact same design each time. It initially seemed boring and lazy, but once the supercharged creepers started spawning, the entire environment just got DESTROYED, and you just had to try and survive all the explosions! The second part of this area was probably the most fun I’ve had with the map, despite the lackluster starting portion of the area.
Rating – 7/10
Intersection 4: Another quiet, unremarkable little spot. But… it doesn’t have any teleporter back! Come on!
Rating – 5/10
Shurima’s Desert(Cyan clay):
This area’s start was just a giant, huge, empty desert. Gold ore was scattered about everywhere, but there was nothing guarding it. It was just a giant, empty field of nothing. At night, you could fight natural spawns, but that was it. Sure, there was the occasional lava trap, but the sand falling down would disable most of them. Having huge, giant, pointless swaths of land in a CTM map is almost always terrible. It was bad when Pantheon did it and it’s bad here. There’s no point to adding long, pointless, boring walks to get to your destination. None.
Once you made it to the “end” – a fortress consisting of two branching spawner-filled hallways, again devoid of anything interesting (or any loot), just much more filled with enemies – things got a little more exciting. At the end, you actually had a boss fight against a fairly unique boss. The only problem was that they were very tanky, and had Thorns on their armor, meaning that if you tried to fight more than one, you could die even if the boss never hit you just by thorns damage. I’ll go on a rant about Thorns and how broken it is some other time. But for now, it makes this boss much less fun than it could have been.
The boss fight was interesting, but most of this area was boring nothingness. There’s little to do except go straight to the boss, beat it, and leave. There isn’t even one loot chest in this entire area, at least that I saw! Just like Peaceful Valley, it definitely needs more going on to spice it up and make it more exciting.
Rating – 3/10
The Black Castle(Purple Clay):
The outside of this area was fairly simple. Some spawners scattered around, but nothing too threatening. The loot chests you see are the first ones we’ve seen in a fair while, and they’re the only ones in the area. Once you make it inside, it’s a giant obsidian maze consisting of many interconnected rooms filled with spawners. It isn’t terrible, but it quickly gets repetitive, especially with no loot around. Having to protect loot chests from the creepers would have singlehandedly made this area far more interesting and engaging. Things are finally mixed up towards the end, with a brief barrier maze. This area could definitely be better by having the interconnected obsidian rooms having more to differentiate themselves from each other. As it is, it gets boring fast. It was at least fairly short.
Rating – 5/10
The Void(Blue clay):
The area is as you see it before you. Catwalks and platforms, suspended above void connected by 1-block-wide pathways. It comes with all the standard issues of a void-based challenge area: That a single mistake, a single arrow, creeperblast, or even a finger slip, will send you careening into an infinite death that will irrevocably destroy your entire inventory. The difference between this void area and other, better versions of its type is that nothing is given to balance out this sudden upwards spike in difficulty, and downwards spike in forgiveness. Not a single loot chest is found throughout the area. Not one. No enderpearls, no feather falling boots, no water, no anything. This area, like Shurima’s Desert, like The Pyramid, like Peaceful Valley, like a LOT of the map, has not one chest containing a vital drop of precious, precious loot to be found. And here is where it is least acceptable.
Loot located in the areas you’re conquering is a vital part of any map. In most maps, particularly ones from the “super hard” mapmaking era, you’ll always see signs telling you to take the “fun path”. You have to take the fun path, take the fun path or you’re a bad map-player, etc., etc… And most players will take the fun path! If you asked them why, some players will puff out their chests, and spout on about honor and the importance of not ruining your own experience. However… those players are liars or fools! Any experienced CTM player knows the REAL reason.
Imagine an imaginary scenario. You have a fortress laid into a cliff. The fortress gives you a path full of ladders, stairs, and lots and LOTS of enemies that leads to the wool, placed on top of the cliff. Now… why would most people go through the castle, instead of simply digging through the cliff or building a bridge to bypass the whole thing? Sure, some mapmakers will put a bunch of ghast or blaze spawners in the roof. Unsightly, but it prods most players… or does it? The truth is, as you advance through maps, and especially as you start to reach their endgame, most players will generally be able to handle these spawners, even when they’re in midair. So why will most people choose to go into the castle? The truth is… most players know what’s in that castle. Chests. Chests containing good things which will help them in future areas! In other words: LOOT!
The loot is a crucial pact between the map’s maker and the map’s player. The player promises – unspoken, of course – not to break everything intentionally and then complain online about it being too hard/easy, and the mapmaker promises to provide them a positive feedback loop of new items for them to use or store away just in case.
But with no loot, the “fun path” turns into the “unrewarding path”. And one of the most major problems I’ve seen with the map thus far is that almost all of the loot is in safe zones everyone will encounter, clustered in large amounts – the intersections, the monument, a safe zone in front of the clay box – and very, very little is in the actual areas where you do all the fighting and effort. The last area with loot in it that I remember was All Charged Up, which had one platform full of chests guarded by a few creepers, and that was it. And to see a void area, of all areas, like this, utterly devoid of any rewards save progression for subjecting yourself to multiple inventory wipes… it hurts. At the very least, the 4-stack of skeletons and blazes you had to fight on tiny platforms at the end was interesting.
Rating – 3/10
The Pass(Brown Clay):
Located as a teleport right out of the previous void area, with no easy way back! Of course! Getting past that, the area itself is fairly simple. It’s a giant netherbrick cave, full of lava and spawners. It’s pretty much just a straight run to the wool and next intersection. Once again, no loot chests are in sight, leaving you no reason to do anything BUT sprint through it. The only really interesting part was the very end when you have to approach the wool box on a bridge, with the fleecy box guarded by 5 blaze spawners… but the spawners aren’t primed, giving you plenty of time to get in the fleecy box and break the spawners from underneath. There isn’t much remarkable about this area, and it mostly serves as a big transition between intersections 4 and 5. It could really do with some more interesting things that make you stop… like towers or side-rooms containing loot.
Rating – 4/10
The intersection begins by giving us a teleporter(yay) and giving us a book saying that this intersection is dedicated to great mapmakers of the past. Each of the map’s final areas draws inspiration from some mapmaker of the past – ColdfusionGaming, Amlup, and of course, Vechs for black clay. It’s okay to make areas as tribute, and thankfully, the areas themselves didn’t feel particularly copied. But you need to be careful not to lose your own creative spin and identity in giving tribute. The intersection itself is just boring bridges above lava, but at least it has a teleporter and base.
Rating – 7/10
The Azarian Mines(Green clay):
This area had 2 parts: A simple, boring stone cave with some trees and ponds was the first. The spawners consisted of random natural spawned enemies, buried in walls or exposed. It didn’t matter. There were a few chests around, but they only contained small portions of food, an item which the monument chests already gave in massive quantities. The second part was the titular Azarian mines, which contained lots of ore (finally, a reason to stop and clear the areas) and the clay. None of the mobs or gameplay was particularly interesting, since everything you fought were easily butchered regular monsters from spawners scattered everywhere you looked. There wasn’t much notable or unique about this area, aside from being your diamond supplier for endgame. Considering that this is one of the map’s lategame/endgame areas, it’s really too easy! It could do with some more intensity, and better loot in the chests!
Rating – 4/10
All Hypercharged Up(Red clay):
Deaths: 2 (Creeper explosions)
This area, at least, did something new! After the start you see in the picture, you entered a large bedrock tower. From there, you had to descend down multiple floors, while creepers of all types attacked you – just like Supercharged up! The difference is, while half the fun of Supercharged up was everything getting destroyed, here, we’re in a bedrock tower, so there’s none of that. Just a lot of you getting blown every which way. The first part is okay, but about a third of the way in, it introduced the new mob: Hypercharged creepers. These guys were EVIL. They had incredibly fast speed – enough that by the time you saw them, they were already right next to you. They also had no fuse timer – by the time you saw them, they were right next to you, AND they had already exploded. What’s more, they had insane damage. I had Prot 2 iron armor, and a point-blank shot could one-shot me. I could survive by blocking with my sword, but even then they would shred right through my health. All fought in the very uninteractive “bedrock hallway” environment.
My problem with these creepers is that there isn’t any good way to counter them. Their one weakness is that they have no health bar – one good hit, and they drop. But with no fuse and their extremely fast speed, the only good way of killing them is luck or stealth – and since the environment is entirely small bedrock hallways, you can’t really levy either of those options to your advantage. If the environments were bigger, or designed in ways that gave you a good way of approaching the creepers, then they would have been better off – as it is, there isn’t much to do but inevitably take them to your face and hope you survive!
The dungeon itself goes on for a really long time, and doesn’t change much – you’re in winding bedrock hallways, fighting the same 3 varieties of creepers, used in roughly the same ways. Things get monotonous, and I was ready for it to end a good while before it did. That said, these creepers were one of the few things I faced in the map that was actually a threat. Even if it wasn’t a very fair threat.
Rating – 3/10
Davion Fortress(Black Clay):
For the final area, we have a massive fortress, filled to the brim with tons and tons of spawners. There’s too many enemies to clear out all the spawners, so the area ends up being a desperate run through a fortress rapidly filling with uncountable numbers of foes. When played like that, it’s a fun enough area, though it doesn’t do much interesting. It works well enough for a final challenge. It was, at least, a challenge. I wish there was more to say about it, but there isn’t.
Rating – 6/10
And we’re done.
I saw nothing special about this map. It isn’t terrible, but it doesn’t do anything interesting either. Save for All Hypercharged Up and The Void, the difficulty is fairly low throughout, meaning it could be a good challenge for new players, at least. None of the areas felt really inspired, with most of them boiling down to one challenge done over and over… with the possible exception of Dead Space. As far as looks go, things felt interesting in the earlier parts, with valleys and big bright areas, but things felt more and more fatigued as time went on, with caves made of dark nether blocks and a reliance on bedrock and stone brick. Each area did play differently from the areas before it, but there was little variance within the areas themselves – you generally did the same thing and fought the same enemies over and over. And of course, the biggest problem with the map is that there’s little loot in the areas you’re fighting through, making everything feel less rewarding. Add more loot, and more going on in the areas in general, and something better could be made out of this map. But, altogether, this map is very average. It isn’t painful to play, but it isn’t very fun either. You could probably find other, better maps instead, and spend your limited free time playing them.
It begins simply, with a nice forest-type area. It tricks you into thinking that that’s your first area. But no. Unlike the first maps, where the cave it dropped you in really was your first area, there’s a huge mushroom cave up ahead that’s the REAL first area:
It’s… an interesting setting. The spawners aren’t concealed in the ground, thank goodness- they’re covered in easily identifiable blocks. There are a LOT of spawners though, and the place quickly gets filled with enemies if you don’t move fast. It’s a very short cave, but the spawners are mostly the same throughout. Chests with good starting supplies are scattered around everywhere, and altogether, it makes for a fairly challenging starting area. I appreciated it. And best of all – no randomized loot to be seen thus far! It could definitely be improved by toning down the huge amount of spawners. As it is, it’s hard to beat if you don’t dash through it.
Rating – 6/10
Old Miner’s Cave(orange wool):
Deaths: 1 (Tried to rush final part)
This area continues some of the trends that I like. A good amount of non-randomized loot. Spawners that are in logical locations rather than just random spots in the wall. However, it also starts to reveal a problem… even if this map fixes some of the problems of 1 and 2, the areas we’ve seen so far… just aren’t that interesting. The last area was a mushroom cave. This area is a sandstone cave. It’s okay to have simple settings, but this area doesn’t really change the way in which you fight enemies. It is again short, and at the end you have some blaze spawners to keep things interesting. It’s a fairly simple, fine area, if entirely un-memorable.
Rating – 6/10
Jungle Ravine(magenta wool):
Deaths: 1(Mob swarm)
This area has a mob spam problem! The area reminds me somewhat in the dormatories but in a different setting: Multiple paths, catwalks, and tunnels progressing through the same area. It’s all so close together that mobs are sure to build up to immense levels. The places you have to go to have simply terrible approaches – you have to descend into tiny rooms with vines or ladders, causing you to get swarmed by all manner of zombies, spiders, and creepers. It was generally a fast and hectic area, but the mobs just got so bad at some points that you pretty much had to retreat or burn through sword after sword trying to cut through them all. There was some grace given with the bountiful loot chests, at the very least. This area could probably be improved a lot by just letting us descend down with stairs rather than a 1x1 circle of vines that you can’t go back up. Or making it bigger with some more empty space for less mob spam!
Rating – 5/10
Into the Depths(Light blue wool):
This area played fine, but was aesthetically uninspired. It was a stone cave that used diorite. Diorite was a new block when this map was made, but that didn’t make it NOT a stone cave. It’s just varying it with a new type of stone. The enemies you fight are fine, but the bottom portion with the wool is so laden with spawners, you never had time to break any because there were always more enemies spawning! However, there was one part about this area I really liked. One chest had a “Food pack” NBT-powered chest. Once you grabbed it out, a command block would helpfully inform you that you needed to place it on the ground to use it. Very nice! The redstone and command blocks seem a lot more stable in this map, particularly as compared to the first one.
Rating – 6/10
This is one of the best Intersections/Monuments I’ve ever seen! It’s a nice, good-looking house that just feels cozy, and has enchantment stands and a brewing area and a base located in a natural way that looks good and is easy to modify as you see fit. The house is fairly small and has multiple floors (with proper stairs – no elevator crap), and each floor has one of the intersection areas branching off of it as well as a new part of the base. It feels really nice and is all and intersection and monument area should be!
Rating – 9/10
House in the Woods(Yellow Wool):
What I liked best about this area was the variance. First, you had the approach to the house in the woods (pictured), then you were inside the house, then you reached a dungeon in the house’s basement. It helped capture a good sense of progression, and I hope to see more like it. Most of the spawners were hidden in hard-to-find locations, and there were lots of them spawning many regular enemies. At this point, our own gear can easily cut these enemies down. It would have been better to replace several of the normal spawners with a few elite enemy spawners – though that’s not a complaint with this area but more the Beneath The Void maps in general! Once you get past the usual mob spam, this area was of above-average quality.
Rating – 7/10
Village Swamp(Lime wool):
For once, a swamp area without witches! It didn’t have much else interesting in it, though. Spawners are lined across the shore and ceiling of the river you follow, rather than in the walls, which is nice. As you go through the area, the water in the river you’re following gets deeper, which does create a valuable sense of progression… but doesn’t really change how the area plays. You have a few short side-paths to take for some extra loot, but it’s a very linear area beyond that. The first part of this area feels well-designed enough, even though it ends up being simpler to swim past the spawners rather than break them. Once you reach the village part of the area, however, it’s a little disappointing. The map doesn’t really change things up aside from the area you’re fighting in being a village. You end up fighting the same enemies in mostly the same way the entire way through – the spawners are all in the open, rather than inside the tiny houses. Again, there isn’t anything in particular that’s wrong with this area, but it wasn’t very interesting, either.
Rating – 6/10
Plantation Ruins(Pink wool):
A setting I haven’t seen much before; a farm with real food still there to harvest! This farm makes up the first part of the area, but it’s really… empty. There isn’t much there except scattered food and natural enemies. Proceed through it, and you’ll make it to the second portion, a segment where you proceed through crowded and cramped gravel tunnels. This is definitely the area’s low point, with all the tunnels feeling like the exact same thing. They’re easy to cut through and relatively boring. Finally, you make it to the wool room, which looks really nice and is a fair challenge – even if it continues to spam regular mobs at you and hide the spawners. It was okay, but the gravel tunnels underneath the plantation could definitely have been shortened quite a bit.
Rating – 6/10
To start, we have a teleporter back. That’s good. But this intersection has a problem similar to BTV2’s intersection 3, in that it doesn’t explain itself very well. Or at all. See, on the wall, there’s many bedrock-type structures in the shape of portals. When you approach some of them, they’ll turn into nether portals that teleport you to the next area. It’s neat, and works perfectly well when you figure it out, but it would probably take any group of players a few minutes to realize how it works. A book saying “approach the non-crumbling stonebrick portals” would have helped immensely.
One more thing. Throughout the map, there’s been some bonus collectibles for us to find: Bedrock keys. In the first area, we got a book telling us how they worked, and each area since then has had 1 key in it. The way they work is really neat, and I managed to get them all. But the book promised they would unlock for us “a room full of good loot” and what they actually unlocked was… not that. It’s a shop, which lets you buy 3 things with your exp levels. Regeneration potions. Prot 2 enchanted books. Knockback 1 enchanted books. Not useless, but extremely underwhelming since this loot has been built up and fought for throughout all of intersections 1 and 2. I would have been much happier if there just been a room full of chests getting us set up for Intersection 3.
Rating – 7/10
A Dark Knight(Cyan wool):
Deaths: 1(Accidental fall while leaving area)
After figuring out how the intersection worked, I headed here first. The first part of the area is pretty much a swarm of natural spawns from spawners I could hardly see, but after that it gets better. Running around on catwalks, using teleporters, and exploring plenty of interesting and unique side-rooms makes for a very interesting area. This whole place had a lot of much-needed supplies, making it feel very rewarding to explore every side-room I could. When you make it to the end, it at first has an interesting gimmick: All your torches are deleted upon placement by a dark magic aura, forcing you to work without them for a little while. Taking away one of your tools forces you to change things up, but the area isn’t designed so that you’ll be helpless without them. However, it starts to fall apart when you get closer to the bottom, and Elder Guardians take away your pickaxe, leaving you with no way to deal with spawners until you beat the area for good. Then there’s a chest with a block of sand above it, but since you can’t break the sand or the chest… At least, you do get to fight the Elder Guardians at the end of the area, and it’s probably the most challenging thing we’ve had so far! We’ve gotten to the point where we have enchanted iron/chain gear for most of our stuff, and the map is still throwing natural spawns at us – just increasing numbers of them. It’s actually used less custom mobs than BTV 1 and 2 so far! I hope we start seeing a shift to having tougher run-of-the-mill enemies to fight, or the difficulty of the map will continue to fall. This area had a few stutters, but a good basic concept and a good fight at the end.
The Quarry(Gray wool):
It’s a cave! Most of this area was more of a quarry-themed cave than anything, but it did have a few buildings and rooms to keep things interesting. There wasn’t anything wrong with it, but again, not much interesting about it either. It could have used more custom mobs or something else game-changing. It’s a very simple area as-is. Little memorable about it.
Rating – 6/10
Underwater Temple(Light gray wool):
Water areas! Water combat is very hard to get right in Minecraft. Many people reading won’t remember Vech’s “Endless Deep”. The reason why they won’t remember it is because Vechs made the map hard to find; it was an example of water combat done wrong. This area too, is an example of water combat done wrong. At the start, you have a village with houses, spawners, and loot chests with some water-related gear to help you. A fair start. Sadly, no depth strider is available. Then, you enter into the area’s second portion: A water maze. Now, water mazes can be a terrible, terrible thing as certain other maps have shown me, and this one isn’t particularly good, but it has loot chests and doesn’t go on too long, so it is at least bearable. But once you make it through, you’re dropped into the THIRD part: The water caves (pictured). This is where things go bad. First off, this is a terrible environment to fight guardians in. They’re giant, empty caves, when fighting guardians is about using cover and the environment to avoid their lasers. With no environment to work off of, you pretty much have to stay low to the ground and build a pillar whenever a guardian attacks. Hope you have lots of blocks! About the giant, empty caves… they’re GIANT! You have to swim through them agonizingly slowly, and worse yet – they aren’t linear, they have a lot of side-paths, forcing you to spend minutes swimming to get one loot chest that isn’t nearly worth it. The way to Intersection 4 is hidden down here too, but it’s separate from the wool, meaning you’ll probably find it and then have to keep exploring to get to the wool, then find your way all the way back once you have it!
After what’s probably about 15-20 minutes spent doing nothing but swim forward, you’ll finally reach the actual temple, an itty-bitty building in a big round cavern. And what’s the wool guarded by? A guardian nest, or anything else interesting? No, it’s guarded by a nice, dry room, with skeletons, zombies, and creepers. Just like everything else. This area is without a doubt, the worst in the map, and should be totally reworked. Better yet, just cut out the huge cave section and have the maze lead to the temple – the caves suck away any goodwill I had for the first parts.
Rating – 3/10
Our gateway to the map’s final areas! This intersection has an obsidian/bedrock/sea lantern aesthetic going on, and it actually looks fairly nice with the lighting. None of the area have name signs, though, so I took the liberty of naming some of the areas myself. Furthermore, the Brown Wool is hidden at the very bottom of the intersection, in a rather obscure place – I was able to find it, but I can see a lot of people missing it. This intersection is fine. Nothing special but at least it looks nice.
Rating – 7/10
Void Zone(Blue wool):
As far as void areas go… I thought this one was okay! We FINALLY had some custom mobs (speed-boosted zombies and spiders), making the area feel tense and threatening for the first time in a while. The area is short enough to not overstay its welcome, which was good. Again, there isn’t anything wrong with this area. It could have used more loot to make up for the whole “void” thing, but other than that, I thought it was fine! The fortress at the end is the best part, being fun to tackle and a good challenge for the end of the map.
Rating – 7/10
Bedrock zone(Green wool):
This area began with a 2-block high and full of random bedrock blocks. Throughout were zombie spawners. It sounds simple, but it created an interesting dynamic: While you’re trying to get through, the zombie spawners will quickly spawn many zombies, forcing you to move in ways so as not to get cornered while also trying to reach your objective. The only problem was, well… we have diamond armor at this point. Getting caught by the zombies isn’t really a threat at all.
Once we make it through that, we have another area of bridges suspended above void. It’s roughly the same challenge as blue, deal with projectile and melee enemies while being only a few hits away from a void death. I had hoped to get something different for this last area. There’s nothing special to say about it, other than void.
Rating – 6/10
Netherrack Zone(Purple Wool):
This area felt like a rather generic final area. A big netherrack area with a lot of custom enemies – though none of them memorable or notable – and a lot of spawners. There are a few notable points, such as at the start, when it offers you a “choice” between blaze protection (an iron chestplate with Fire Prot 3) and skeleton protection (an iron chestplate with Proj Prot 3). Of course, I have diamond armor with regular protection, so I needed neither. The final part puts you in a huge room and gives you ladders and blocks with which to scale a giant obsidian pillar to make it to the wool box at the top. It’s been done before, but at least it was challenging and felt epic! As long as you take the corners of the pillar, things will be fairly easy. This area felt more like filler than a real inspired area – there was so little unique about it. A good note to mapmakers – make sure all your areas have a clear idea behind them, or something that makes it unique. Don’t just churn out areas in the middle just so you can meet the standard CTM 16 wool mark. If you see no point to making a whole new area, you can always put another wool in one of your older areas and add onto it. This area just didn’t feel inspired or necessary at all, and this isn’t the first area in the map that’s felt that way.
Rating – 5/10
Final Dungeon(Red and Black wool):
To begin, we had an incredible build-up. One of the areas branching off of I4 had a book telling you about the final dungeon: Once you were in, there was no going out. Your spawn was set. You only had the gear you could carry in your inventory, plus anything in your enderchest. Then, to enter, you had to throw that info book into a fire.
Once you were inside, you would be greeted with what is pictured. Now, the intro for the map on the forums said that BTV3 would be a “survival based” map, where you had to scavenge for resources. Yet, I never had to farm once during my whole time playing the map. This is the only area where I actually felt like I was in a survival map, moving from island to island, gathering resources. Now, considering we’re cut off from our main base, and all our backup gear, it could be an incredible risk to have our last area be “bridging over void”. But it works. Why? Because the map gives you loot. Loot like there’s no tomorrow. All the loot you could want! Chests full of swords and armor! The islands have wood, coal, and iron deposits to mine! And better yet, this area also contains an item that totally changes things, my favorite item I have ever received in a CTM: The Void Net. As long as you hold it in your inventory, it will “catch” you if you fall into the void. The book that came with it implied it would wear out with use, and sometimes it would be buggy and fire off prematurely, but it saved my life several times over, and I didn’t even end up breaking it – though I got at least 40 uses out of it, many. It was the best.
That said. The area is long. REALLY long. Islands go off in both direction, and expand outwards for QUITE a ways. It took me several hours to beat the area. I liked the concept of slowly getting more and more OP resources while you moved from island to island, but if this area doesn’t strike you as fun, it can wear you down very fast. Also… it looks terrible. Bedrock and some blocks that aren’t bedrock sometimes. Definitely a bad aesthetics score here. This area has a lot of custom mobs, some of which are fun (a miniboss skeleton with a punch bow, but the skeleton can’t move), some of which are crap (“boomtown” creepers that instantly explode), but at least it keeps things feeling varied. At the end of it all, of course, you have the final black wool dungeon. It’s made up of multiple parts – a castle with too many enemies to beat any way other than sprinting through, a sewer section so easy it feels like a breather, and one final, last, desperate descent to the wool, on wooden platforms with blazes everywhere – and it all felt like a good, epic finish.
This was a good dungeon. I liked it. It could’ve been shorter, but I had fun. It was good. I want to see more like this.
Rating – 8/10
Beneath The Void 3… is a good map. Is it a great, amazing map? No. Did it have some real effort put into it, and managed to be a cut above most of the maps I review here? Yes! It improves significantly on the previous maps – though the mob spam problems and wonky loot distribution haven’t been completely excised, almost every other area has seen some real improvements. The difficulty remains consistent throughout, rather than going all over the place. While the final area in a lot of maps of this type can be a disappointment, this map’s final area was actually a really good challenge! The one thing that was really hit-or-miss in this map would definitely be the aesthetics. Some areas, like A Dark Knight, looked fairly inspired, while other areas used simple, bland, trite block variations like the area I dubbed “Netherrack Zone” – it’s a meaningful name! But the effort of the aesthetics in any given area also indicated how much inspiration had gone into the area as a whole. Several of the areas could have been removed with very little lost, they were just so generic! I would have rather seen second wools in areas like The Dark Knight rather than the “Netherrack Zone” or “The Quarry”. In terms of functionality, there was about as much redstone in this map as there was in BTV2 – that is, plenty powering teleporters and intersections, but not much used to spice up the areas you fought through. However, all of it worked much better than the last map. I had few technical problems this time around.
So, overall… should you play it? Well, again, if you liked the previous ones at all, you’ll like this one the best. If you’ve played through all the “major” maps and are looking for a lesser-known one to fill your time, this one might be your jam. It depends. Soon, we’ll see how the FOURTH one in the series holds up…
Preface: Beneath the Void 4 – the final map in the 4-part series! Or at least, the final map today – though the thread for them has been dead for quite some time now. Considering the slow but sure improvement of the previous maps, you’d think the fourth one would have been where it all REALLY came together. But despite that… the map was actually very poorly received! Not a lot of people said they enjoyed it, as compared to Beneath The Void 3. Where did it go wrong? Did it improve or didn’t it? Well… let’s take a look through this review and walk through the areas. How does it measure up to the other maps? Maybe we can find out what happened.
Alright. The previous maps had an above-average number of command blocks compared to most maps I play, and this map REALLY goes whole-hog with it. The spawn is powered by a lot of command blocks, with options rooms, and appearing/disappearing corridors. At the very end of the third map, you were given a choice between completing the monument or becoming one with the void – and this map actually has a very interesting continuation of that, starting you in the final choice room from BTV3! That said… if you hadn’t been playing the maps up to that point like I had, it probably would have just been confusing.
Once you got all the the options set up, the map teleported you to a… class selection area? In the map’s description on the forums, it mentioned that it was a very “experimental” map, and this certainly qualifies. The choice of the classes is set up with a book philosophically waxing about the choices we make, and whether they’re bad or good (I’ll talk about this “choice” theme throughout the map, and how it’s totally forgotten about). You have 3 chests, and inside each one was a book with a class name. Now, the map very much has multiplayer in mind with its design – not just here, but at other parts of the map, too. This class system supports up to 3 players, and the clear intent is to have different players fill different “roles”. Despite that, the classes don’t mean all that much – all you get is a book that lets you use specific raw materials to craft various items – some aren’t worth it, or replaced entirely by what you get in chests. A few later on may have been useful – though, I didn’t see them all, we’ll get to that later.
I grabbed the Alchemist book, expecting there to be a class description inside. Nope, that was my choice! We’re Alchemists now! Other than that, though, the setup for this map is very well-done, very cool. It looks nice and flashy and does do a good job of getting you excited for what’s to come. Now, for the actual map to start…
Rating – 8/10
Starting Area(White wool):
This place is interesting. The map definitely kicks off strong, throwing you into a strange environment with nothing but your class book, useless on its own. It gives you wood and coal and other materials you need to beat the area, and it feels like a really nice, “lite survival” starting area. The main threat throughout is natural spawns, which can be frustrating in their large numbers, but they’re hardly impossible to beat. There’s even a fairly clever touch, in that parts of the area contain some of the materials you’d need to make a few basic recipes with your class book hidden in the environment. Once you reach the white wool, you’re immediately teleported out of the area forever, which surprised me. There isn’t anything irreplaceable there, but I’d still like to be able to go back… all in all, it’s a good starting area. It sets a nice tone for the rest of the map.
Rating – 8/10
This functions as the map’s “intersection” – standard intersections are completely abandoned, replaced entirely by teleporters. As you beat more areas and get more wool, you’ll unlock different “versions” of the intersection, with different teleporters. It’s a neat idea, and not a bad one, either. It works fine and isn’t particularly clunky. The monument is also interesting – every time you place a wool down, you’ll receive a special item to commemorate your achievement. These ranged from “good useful items” to “random crap”. For example, White wool gives out “White Wooly”, a Smite 2 stone sword.
Each version of the intersection save the last also contains a side area – the first one is a lush place full of trees. Attempting to farm here reveals that the tick speed has been sped up – that means that when you chop a tree, the leaves decay almost instantly, and crops/trees grow almost immediately, too!
Despite everything that this place has, the one place it lacks is a major, useful base. Since there’s a lot of block replacement here, if you aren’t careful, chests you placed could get overwritten! Knowing this, I built my base in the side area of the first version of this place… but not everyone going into the map will know this. It should have been made clear by that map that you have to be careful where you build your base!
Other than that, while not perfect, this intersection definitely feels… unique. I haven’t seen much like this before – and that’s probably something I could say for a lot of this map.
Rating – 7/10
Peaceful Valley(Orange wool):
This place… almost felt like it was designed to serve a story purpose, rather than a gameplay one. So let’s talk about the story. It spends most of its time following the “Bavarian” civilization and its people, and their journey through the world. I’ll tell you more as it develops, but for the beginning part, they settled in “lush lands full of resources” which serve as our starting areas. This area’s story is that it is the world before it was settled, devoid of both people and resources. For that reason, this area feels far more like an environment to gather resources in than an area to conquer – still no spawners, only natural mobs, and a whole lot of chests with useful items scattered about. It’s an interesting area to explore, but we sort of already did this with the first area. This area is even easier, with even less challenge! We haven’t been going on long enough to need a break just yet. The next area will hopefully make good on the promise made by the map’s spawn and first area.
Rating – 5/10
Mysterious Mines(Yellow Wool):
Our very first maze area! The setting is fairly simple, a long series of interconnected mineshafts making up a giant maze which we needed to solve to reach the wool. Now, throughout many CTMs I’ve played, mazes of this type tend to fail in 2 different ways: One, they don’t put any loot in the maze so it feels unsatisfying. In this, the map does fine. The maze has plenty of good things in it to reward you for every wrong turn you take. Two, the entire maze is the same. And here… the map completely fails. See the picture up there? That’s the whole maze. There’s the occasional spawner, and the natural mob hordes, but nothing really challenging that actually changes up the gameplay. It’s just 15-30 minutes of the exact same hallways. It doesn’t even switch it up when you make it to the wool, it just has two spawners instead of one! That said, I do have to give the area some credit – it at least has the good courtesy to teleport you out once you have the wool. But that doesn’t change the fact that this area gets very boring, very fast. It should have either have different variations of rooms rather than the same cut-and-paste hallway, or be shortened down to a 5-minute jaunt.
Rating – 4/10
Jungle Chasm(Magenta wool, kkraft’s head):
This area starts out looking very… square. The MCedit brush strokes are fairly obvious here. It’s very similar to the last area, in that the main threat is natural spawns and some generic mob spawners. The regular spawners come in small numbers, only one or two at a time, and are un-primed, so I can usually destroy them before they have a chance to do anything. However… this threat is not equivalent to our gear level. At this point, my gear is full chain armor with some iron mixed in, enchanted tools, a power II bow, a Smite 2 Unbreakable gold sword… Basically, I’m ready to handle larger numbers of enemies and custom mobs. But these areas are quite in opposition to the mob spam of previous maps – in fact, they almost feel too empty!
The area does at least change the environment a little (descending a cliff, going through a cave…), but rarely changes the enemies you encounter or their numbers, making it feel like the same. The one exception is a brief fortress-type area at the back, with kkraft as a miniboss and some good loot. Still, the spawners there were unprimed, and kkraft is locked away in a little room, so it was still incredibly easy. I understand if the map is trying to make a really steady difficulty curve that starts off far on the lower end, but these earlier areas are so simple, they’re hardly holding my attention. It doesn’t need to be difficult, but we do need something to do or a problem to solve in the earlier areas to keep us engaged.
Rating – 4/10
Castle Sewers(Light blue wool, Casamuel’s head):
Deaths: 1 (Natural mob swarm, aided by witch poison)
Remember at the beginning of the map, there was that book I mentioned, playing up “choices” as the theme? This is one of the few areas where I felt like that was used fairly well. You have three different paths to choose from to attack the castle in the picture: Take one of the cliffs on opposite sides and fight through the castle, or attack head-on and enter the titular Castle Sewers. It isn’t really three options so much as two, since the cliff paths are more-or-less the same thing. Despite the good idea of giving you multiple ways to invade a castle, neither path is particularly interesting. The Cliffside paths have you smashing through barricades with spawners behind them, and it gets repetitive very quickly – it doesn’t last long at least. The sewer path is pretty much a straight shot through the forest to the sewers, but once you’re inside them, it’s ridiculously easy – there are spawners in the walls and floors, but they aren’t primed, so you can easily light up the 3x2 sewer corridors. Even if they do spawn, it isn’t cave spiders or silverfish or anything you’d expect in a sewer – it’s just regular zombies and skeletons. The sewers drop you off right at the wool and are incredibly easy to get through. Which is a pity, because the castle part you go to through the cliff options is probably the most interesting part of the area. It’s nice-looking, with all your standard castle fare – spawners under pillars, and all that. Still, we’re just too strong to have much trouble with only a handful of generic enemies. The only interesting or engaging challenge in the entire area is Casamuel’s miniboss fight, where he’s backed up by cave spiders – but it ends too soon. This entire area is repetitive and easy. It looks nice, and the basic concept is interesting, but that’s really it.
Rating – 5/10
Cavern of the Gods(Lime wool):
A very dark desert… chock full of natural spawns, too! In this area, we finally got a custom mobs: Zombies with stone swords and leather helm/boots. They’re hardly tougher than normal zombies, and since the spawners aren’t primed they don’t have much of a chance to spawn, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction! Aside from that, this area has little interesting. Lots of houses filled with loot, a handful of spawners, and a neat-looking but mostly harmless little pyramid at the end. There was a room with six spawners in it, but with none of them primed, I could simply smash them before they did anything.
Rating – 5/10
Old Fountain of Youth(Gray wool):
This area actually put up a fight! Sure, it was mostly from the insane hordes of natural spawns, but it did put up a fight! There were more custom mobs here, though none of them anything special, just regular enemies with some armor. The odd thing about this area was that it was really short; none of the areas in the map so far have been particularly long, but this area stood out as especially small. At the end, we had the “fountain of youth” as a very brief water section with a few guardians. All in all, this area was fine. Not particularly bad or good.
Rating – 6/10
As our wool reward for this area, all recipe books were upgraded to a level 2 version. My old recipe book let me make instant healing 1 splash potions, and instant damage 3 splash pots. My new one lets me make all that plus a strength potion and a book that heals all players (I’m playing alone). I’m happy that I have a book to make potions, but the map itself has provided plenty of potions – I’m not at a shortage! I know that the warrior’s book can make weapons and armor, but the map has plenty of that, too. The enchanter can make books of enchanting, but we’ve found those in chests as well! By now, my main problem with how the classes work has become clear: There’s no real use for them, or rather, no need to use them! The map’s chests alone provide all I could need and more. I don’t need a book to help me craft extra supplies.
When a player hears the word “class” they generally think of gear or abilities, rather than crafting specializations. Crafting specializations is all the classes are at their core, so that’s what they should be called.
(Misplaced Picture :C)
Six Feet Under(Pink wool, Dinnerbone’s head):
This area was very, very tiny. A simple desert cave that went around a corner, had a building, then the wool was right under it. The weird thing about this area was, it was absolutely CHOKED with regular enemies. Just CHOKED with them! There were tons! I slaughtered more, but more just came! I didn’t stay too long, so I’m not sure whether they were all just extreme amounts of natural mobs, or spawners placed in such a clever way that I didn’t notice them at all. It looks nice, at least…
Rating – 4/10
This area was very… purple. It’s a dark area filled with obsidian, lava, and cobwebs. It’s very hard to see, actually! The majority of this area didn’t have spawners, just the usual hordes of natural spawns… however, at some points, there were blaze spawners hidden in the walls. The… obsidian… walls. Really, it was just best to keep moving throughout the entire thing! The first part, progressing through caves like you see above, wasn’t particularly interesting. The second part, however, changed things up; it was a volcano! The approach and climb of the volcano was a good, tense fight, with lava and blazes and other enemies around the whole way. But once you reach the top, all that tension dissipates… I was expecting something to fight inside the volcano, but there’s nothing there except the wool. Overall, this area did at least have one interesting thing! If the entire area was a huge climb up a bigger volcano, then it would have been much more interesting. Venturing through dark, obsidian, cobweb-filled caves might be a little challenging but it isn’t particularly new or exciting.
Rating – 6/10
The Pillars of Creation(Cyan wool):
Deaths: 3(Charged creeper blasts)
The difficulty here increased significantly! For once, we had less natural spawns, but they were replaced with NEW horrible creatures…
The landscape was a very odd, not-good-looking block variation of ice, clay, bedrock, and obsidian. The setting was a giant plain with the titular pillars jutting up out of the ground everywhere. But the plains themselves contained nothing – nothing but holes in the ground leading to caves. In those (many) caves was loot, and deep down… the wool. I like the design of having lots of separate caves containing loot connected by a large main area, so that you can explore as much or as little as you care to. That said… the main area felt almost too big, and too empty. Like there was too much space between the caves which contained the actual challenges, making them hard to find. The caves were different and unique at first due to the crazy mix of custom mobs, and managed to even be a good challenge for once! However, after you’ve seen the first few, you’ve seen all of them – they don’t vary that much, and the cave with the wool is just a longer version of all the other caves. All in all, this area had a good challenge, but the caves still needed more variance, and the giant plain in the center could be cut down to size – just a little.
Rating – 6/10
Rising Waters(Light gray wool, Beto’s head):
This area… well, it did look fairly nice, for a stone cave with water. After the challenge of Pillars of Creation, this area was astonishingly easy by comparison. The enemies consisted of custom mobs, but it seems to be the same bunch of custom mobs we’ve been fighting from previous area. We have: Invisible boot-wearing skeletons and zombies, lightly-armored enchanted bow skeletons, and a few other ones – none of them really stand out, and a lot of the spawners they come from are on “rotation”, meaning they spawn a different random mob each time. Not only does seeing the same few custom enemies after a few areas get boring, none of them are even particularly challenging. They’re just… slightly more dangerous than your common fodder, that’s all. None of them have any real identity, so they all sort of blend together as a generic mass of random enemies.
There wasn’t anything particularly bad or good about this area – it wasn’t very interesting, but it did end fairly quickly, as most of the areas in the map do.
Rating – 6/10
I think I should talk about the story here. To keep you updated: The Bativian civilization had to leave the lush, fertile land they had at the start, because of a crippling drought. The areas so far appear to have been places they tried to settle, but failed… but I wouldn’t know, because the amount of lore books has been steadily decreasing! Dimension Cube/Intersection 1 had 4 areas, and 3 of them had lore books explaining about the area. Intersection 2? No books at all. And for Intersection 3, this is the only area with a lore book! We’ve also gotten one every time we’ve unlocked a new intersection, but that’s not a lot… I don’t expect a ton of story, I know it’s a nice bonus. It just feels bad to have consistent lore books for the first parts of the map only for them to suddenly dry up and disappear halfway through. Maybe the lore books dried up… just like the Bativian’s resources did??
On The Edge(Red wool, Grumm’s head):
At least this place wasn’t boring! The main gameplay of the area consists of a levels-type ordeal – you have layers of floating block floors, with so many holes you have to parkour constantly to stay on top, and you don’t want to be sent down plummeting to the floor because the good stuff and your way out are at the top. It’s a good concept with the potential for some exciting gameplay, and this area delivers… okay. The spawners spam huge amounts of mobs, with lots of projectiles (skeletons/blazes), and it’s VERY HARD to stay on top of anything. Many of the spawners seem to be sped up, and while you’re fighting on one level, you’re in range of spawners on the levels above and below you… basically, the mob spam in this area piles up VERY fast, and there’s almost no safe places to retreat to to clear out the mobs. Any platforms you want you have to build yourself. Expect to have to retreat several times just to not have too many blazes to realistically avoid. Furthermore, there isn’t really any penalty when you do fall down, save fall damage – the bottom is nice solid ground, and the mobs are the same on most of the levels – if each level had a differing theme and a different mob, with things slowly getting worse as you fell… that would make this area a lot cooler. As it is, it’s a lot of mob spam but the area doesn’t pack much punch.
Rating – 6/10
I should mention that around this point, I got the last upgrade for my class recipe book. How the command blocks work for the recipe book is, after unlocking the upgrade, when you hold an old recipe book, it will take it from you, and give you a new better recipe book. How it worked for ME is that it took away my old recipe book… but didn’t give me the new one. Turns out, when you lose your recipe book, whether it be to fire, lava, or glitch command blocks, you can NEVER get it back. Nobody knows why you couldn’t have just had a button that gives you the most recent one you’ve unlocked. But that’s how it is. Of course, I hadn’t been needing or using it before, and I didn’t need it after, either. Add it to the pile of reasons why classes aren’t really important at all.
On a Pedestal(Green wool):
Finally, we had an area a cut above the areas! This place’s gimmick was… fairly similar to that of “On The Edge”. This time, you have to navigate hole-filled bridges, dotted with pillars full of mobs. It’s manageable, but if you fall down, you’ll end up in a much worse place chock-full of tons of high-level custom enemies. It’s a good concept, and it could easily have been the entire area. Sadly, it’s only the first half, and the second half involves a lot of pillaring up while being fired upon by blazes and ghasts – something I’ve done before at least 5 times. One of which was in the “Netherrack Zone” from BTV3. I should note that for a lot of the later-game areas, while the gameplay gets more intense, many of the areas abandon aesthetics and are made up of insane nonsensical block variations. I mean… look at this picture. It doesn’t look good when it’s this dark, and it doesn’t look any better lit up with torches. It’s a pity, too, because the hand-crafted areas kkraft makes oftentimes look really good! Despite that, this area has had the best gameplay for a while.
Rating – 7/10
Main Street(Brown wool):
A neat troll area. It seems like just a road over void with too many blazes and ghasts, but… none of the enemies will ever move or attack you. A nice break before the final areas.
Rating – 7/10
Platform to Platform(Blue wool, jeb_’s head):
Red wool had you fighting and parkouring on a sparse hole-filled field of blocks, on multiple layers. Green wool had you fighting and parkouring on a sparse hole-filled field of blocks, moving from bridge to bridge. Now blue wool has us fighting and parkouring on a sparse hole-filled field of blocks… immediately above void. Not only do most of these areas seem to be going in reverse difficulty as we move down the wool monument, the three non-troll areas of the fourth intersection all use the same basic gameplay concept! Is it a bad one? Absolutely not! But… it would be nice to see something different…
On its own merits: This area is really REALLY stressful and tense. Not from drawing you in with super-intense combat, but artificial tension added by having you only one finger slip away from being sent spiraling into infinite void. I count myself lucky I didn’t go into void once in this area. It was luck, and also the fire resistance potions I had on the entire time to protect against the blaze hordes. Those helped too.
As you can see, you have to parkour your way from safe-er obsidian platform to obsidian platform. Many of them have not-unwelcome loot on them, and also enemies. Such as punch skeletons. And spider swarms. And ghasts with buffed fireball explosion power. Also, there are potions randomly falling from the sky for no particular reason. Which would be fine if there was some way to predict or avoid them, but considering the position of parkouring over void this area puts you in, dodging potions isn’t very plausible. This place is by far the most difficult area in Intersection 4, and if you did the areas in the “right” order, it would be a massive difficulty spike from Intersection 3! It was really intense, and I had fun with it – though only because I managed to stay above the void - , but it feels like too much! Of all the areas, this one could stand to be toned down a little!
Rating – 6/10
The Final Area(Black wool):
This area re-used the same concept as Beneath The Void 3, but added a caveat: In addition to being cut off from your base entirely, it also put you in a different starting area depending on which class you picked – the areas reconnected, meaning you would “meet up” with your scattered allies as you moved forward. But… it only works if you’re playing the map with friends! People trying to play in singleplayer don’t get much love here. So I missed out on that aspect of the area, because I always play maps solo.
The actual area itself was probably my favorite area in the entire map. It’s a long, brutal trek forward, with you trying to make it to the black wool with every elite mob you’ve seen so far resisting you every step you take. Instead of bridging to void island after void island, you’re advancing through a variety of different environments. One bad thing I noticed is that there were a few TOO many natural spawns, especially around the place the map dropped me into. Thankfully, it ceased once I got further into the area. The area’s lowest point was definitely the final part – a redux of the very first area you entered, but with most of the spawners swapped out for elite custom mobs, and the loot left untouched. It would be interesting if only the original area’s basic structure was used and a lot was changed to add tons of new stuff to the area, but the only major thing changed was that the floor was removed for the wool room – meaning you’ll need to bridge the void while under fire from ghasts and blazes and things. Not fun, and I’ve done it before a million times. Once you make it, you’re teleported back to the monument, and… that’s it!
I liked this area. The ending was something of a disappointment, but I had fun with it overall, even without friends.
Rating – 8/10
Hall of Past Maps:
Unlocked at the third “dimension cube”, this place contains snapshots of some past areas. Such as:
Stairs to heav-Hell
Each one was unlocked as you placed more heads on the head monument. The area choices seemed rather odd – the majority of them actually codified some of the problems of the past maps, rather than being their best areas. In each one, you would be teleported through parts of the area in question – all while being held in a barrier-block cage, so essentially spectator mode. This seems to accomplish two purposes: One, advertising the other maps, two, giving nostalgia value. Since of course I’ve played the others in a row to get to this one, I should get the nostalgia value, but… I don’t think this place adds anything at all. It’s just letting you see some areas, but that doesn’t really tell you anything. Now, if it had let you play a short segment themed after the past area in question, and given a reward at the end, then it could have been something really cool. But the hallway in the map doesn’t even give you any sort of reward for finishing it! It just comes off as pointless.
This wasn’t an area, just one of the side-areas for the Dimension Cube, but I still wanted to talk about it, so I’m not going to give it a number rating.
And… that’s the end! We’re done with every map of Beneath The Void! 1, 2, 3, and 4! As of writing, there aren’t any more… but if a 5 is ever released, you bet I’ll review it! Now, before we actually go and talk about how this map compares to 3 and all that… there’s a few things about the map I haven’t found a good place to mention, but would still like to talk about.
The Scrolls: Throughout the map, you were given special books called scrolls. When thrown on the ground, they would activate a special effect. These effects provided a ton of functions, and the scrolls made up a good portion of loot in the map. These scrolls generally went into a few main categories: A select few scrolls have good, useful effects that I like (Book of Safe Keeping – summons an enderchest to store things in), several have good, small effects but come in large numbers and are generally useless after you have a few stored up (Book of Charm – grants 10 XP levels). Then, there’s everything else – almost totally useless scrolls. For example, a lot of the scrolls have combat use (Book of Instability – weakens mobs around you), but, for that reason, you need them on your hotbar to get good use out of them. The problem: You’re FAR better off with potions than you are with scrolls. Even the more powerful ones are dwarfed by the all-purpose utility of just having a potion of instant health II to use instead. For that reason, scrolls are an interesting mechanic, but there really isn’t a reason to get into them and use a lot of them.
The Head Monument: The head monument has been a staple of every BTV map. In 1 and 2, there were spawners that spawned minions with the heads guarding chests containing the heads in side-rooms. This mechanic was at its best in BTV3, with the head enemies being persistent mobs located in the middle of the areas as “minibosses” of sorts, generally being more powerful than the standard fare and making things more interesting when they showed up. In this map, all the heads are locked behind iron bars or in side-rooms, and they won’t fight you unless you go fight them. They’re still interesting encounters, but now they’re wholly optional, and I feel like that takes something away from them. This was the only BTV map where I actually managed to complete the head monument, though!
The Story: This map is the only map I’ve played so far with enough story to get a story rating that isn’t N/A! However, the story is just… forgotten about towards the end. For the fourth copy of the dimension cube, we have lore books in 2 of the 4 areas. They each describe how the Bativians were looking in holes in the bedrock – in the void – for places to settle, and how they had to fight through hell and back just to survive down here, and still couldn’t find a place to settle. And then? It just… doesn’t continue. There weren’t any lore books in the final area, at least no that I found. I wasn’t ultra-thorough but if it was hidden anywhere designed to be found by everyone, I would have seen it. We’ll never know what happened to the Bativians or their efforts to colonize the void. Nobody will know. It’s a pity.
Overall, this map… well, go back and look at my numeric ratings for a second. You’ll notice that for most of the areas, it’s a mire of 5s, 6s, and 4s, with the occasional 7 or 8. It doesn’t really go much lower or higher. There’s nothing catastrophically wrong with this map. No part of it is truly terrible or rage-inducing. It’s just… boring. A lot of parts of the map are boring. You have classes, but they hardly do anything. In the early areas, you only fight natural spawns despite your gear being far above their level, meaning they get slaughtered very easily. The custom mobs up their game as time goes by, but many of the custom enemies were repeated throughout the areas, and are never really “introduced” so much as just showing up. Many of the custom mobs are so random they feel more generic! Despite the fact that I fought the same ones so often, I can hardly remember any of them! On the aesthetics side, while there are exceptions, most of the areas are essentially just caves with weird block variations. They don’t look all that great. For functionality, most of the stuff in the map did work fine – the scrolls were even set up so that they wouldn’t all activate if you were to die and drop them in a deathpile – but the map taking my class recipe book away from me is a huge point against it.
This map’s main, core problem is that it seemed to focus on having unique command block mechanics over having a good, challenging to map to use them in. There’s no reason to use most of the scrolls – I’m fine without them. Same for the class system! The teleporters, dimension cubes, and the monument is all very cool… but none of it matters at all, because the areas they leads to aren’t interesting. There are a few exceptions, but at the start, the areas have their own identity but are generally boring. By the end, many of the areas have devolved into random block and mob variations to the point where it would be hard to tell them apart! The last intersection of the map almost felt like playing one continuous area, rather than many separate ones… and that area went on too long.
So, should you play it? It depends… I wouldn’t say it’s a COMPLETE waste of your time, but several of the mechanics – such as the classes, a few scrolls, and the final area – are really meant to be played in multiplayer. This map would be at least something of a fun ride with friends, but might not be the best use of your time if you want to play all alone.
The name doesn’t sound much more or less intimidating than a lot of the other CTM maps out there, trying to puff out their chest and sound all difficult. Super Hostile… Impossible Victory… Ragecraft.
But this map… this map is different. I’d like to say up front that this is one of, if not the, last reviews I’ll be doing. I might pick them up again at some point in the future, but quite frankly… I’ve finally found it. The worst map. The absolute bottom. The deeper I look, the more I analyze it, the more I wonder how in the seven hells anyone could have thought this map would be fun or enjoyable or anything but an impossible challenge for masochists.
…Which would make sense. It IS called Unconquerable. And it really means it, too. The central gimmick of the map is that it ascribes to ROMhack rules of difficulty in very specific ways. Of course, I use the term “ROMhack” loosely. Because even Kaizo Mario didn’t force you to reinstall the game and then start your save over from the beginning whenever you failed a level. This map blows up the wool boxes. It isn’t some smoke-and-mirrors empty threat. It really, really, REALLY, ABSOLUTELY, destroys the wool boxes. But it doesn’t destroy ALL the wool boxes. The first time a box is in danger isn’t until after the first intersection. Meaning, if you want to go for all the wool boxes, you’ll have to punch through the entire beginning portion of the map again and again. And that’s just ONE of the key problems with this map and its core concept.
This map makes it clear right from the start that you won’t get all the wools. And it’s right. You won’t. 50% is a good marker to shoot for, since about 40% of the map’s wools aren’t in danger. Honestly, if you can save even 1 or 2 of the wools the map puts in danger? You’re doing good! One of the possibilities presented by the mapmaker is to go about things in a “high score” fashion. Get as many as you can! The problem with that is that, well… the map isn’t fun. Whether you want to get all the wools or not, the map isn’t fun. There are only a few times where the wools the map puts in danger even CAN (reasonably) be saved, with or without foreknowledge of what’s going to happen (yes, there are a lot of BS traps).
But I think I’ve hyped the map up enough. Let’s calm down for a little bit and actually start combing through the game.
Spawn/Caves of Azarni:
We begin with a Vechs-like start, with a giant sandstone box as our spawn, with some signs telling us the rules. After that, we immediately enter the Caves of Azarni. I like these caves. They essentially act as an area to stock up on loot that would be useful to us, since we’re just starting the map. The more side-paths you explore, the more you find, and I appreciate that. However… there’s lots of lava around. Tons of it. It’s more the product of outdated CTM map design thinking than anything else (read: DYING IN LAVA AND LOSING ALL YOUR STARTING SUPPLIES AND NEEDING TO REINSTALL THE MAP IS HILARIOUS LOLOLOL), but it can still force a restart if you have any slip up one too many times. Furthermore, some of the “bonus loot” provided ranges from useless to amazing. In one side-cavern, you have a fishing rod and a cooked fish. Yay. In a cave hidden in the ceiling, you have a sharp II Unbreaking II iron sword. It isn’t just the best weapon in the first intersection, it’s one of the strongest weapons you’ll ever have in the entire map! …More on the gear progression later. Right from the start, the loot balance is already wonky. That said, this is a fairly good starting area… just so long as you can avoid the lava.
Rating – 7/10 (IT’S ALL DOWNHILL FROM HERE)
Intersection 1: Contains lava, wood, and coal. It isn’t bad but it’s not great either.
Rating – 7/10
Semi-Hard Wood(White wool):
Deaths: 2(1 TNT Trap, 1 Natural Mob swarm)
WOOL STATUS: SAFE
As you might be able to figure out from the picture, this area takes a little inspiration from “Western Commons” from a CTM map called Legendary. Okay, more than a little. In fact, it’s more like “straight up copied everything” – the aesthetic, the general feel of the area, even the little town that totally explodes on you! It’s okay to take inspiration or good ideas from areas, but you have to put your own original spin on it! There’s no original spin here! It’s just a copy! For that reason, I’m going to deduct a few points from this area’s score.
The actual dungeon part of the area is a fortress located at the end, and it’s the only thing that isn’t copied. It’s also the worst part. This map has no honeyboxes to speak of, even if it is fairly big. If you attack this area at daytime, the fortress will have TONS of natural mobs and be WAY harder than the number of spawners would suggest! Once you actually kill the inevitable swarm inside and light it up, it isn’t actually that terrible of a place to be. The fortess has an incredibly simple design, just some floors with stairs and spawners embedded in the floor. Eventually, you’ll find the wool in a nice cute little safe space underground, in a bedrock box, with absolutely nothing that could threaten it. We’re not at that point yet. Expect to be going through this place a lot if you want to try for all the wool.
The wool wasn’t at threat in this area, either, but you certainly are! You’ve probably noticed from the intersection, first area, and now this place, that inventory-wiping threats are a constant thing in this map. It very much subscribes to the idea that having your inventory wiped is fun, when you have limited supplies to work off of and enough deaths could force you to do a map restart. At least we got better access to cobblestone and coal here. The area’s design is very simple; giant stone pillars, each with some loot and enemies inside, and one of them contains the wool. The main threat in this place is natural spawns, again. Once you make it to the wool, that changes. It’s a classic example of the mapmaker making a challenging problem, but not a solution to it. Let me explain. The entrance to the room with the wool in it is a 2x2 hole in the ground, which leads to a long drop into a 2x2 lava hole. Water buckets aren’t available. You could dig through the walls… if they weren’t all silverfish blocks. This leaves you with only one choice: Drop down, angling yourself so as to hit blocks next to the lava, then trying to survive the hordes of zombies without getting knocked down into the lava, while praying that there aren’t too many naturally spawned skeletons and creepers down there. It’s pretty dumb. This whole area is just far too intense for a starting area, and being in a map called “Unconquerable” isn’t a good enough excuse!
Rating – 4/10
Caverns of Darkness(Magenta Wool)
Deaths: 6(2 from mob swarms, 4 trying to reclaim items)
WOOL STATUS: SAFE
The map tells you at the beginning that “this is where the real hard map starts”. It isn’t kidding. But it’s ALSO where we begin to see just how bad this map really is. This map is insanely difficult – but it’s not from having any sort of balanced challenge. It’s from a complete lack of effort on the mapmaker’s part. The setting is generic stone cubes, made to look like “caves” by using MCedit erosion on the walls. You have to go down them through holes in the floor, and when you reach the bottom, there’s a slightly bigger cave with the wool. With no honeyboxes to speak of, the caves are FILLED with natural spawns. This entire area is a MASTER COURSE in why natural mobs shouldn’t be used as your main enemies! It’s completely luck based whether you’ll fight 20 skeletons in any one room or 20 zombies, but you’re definitely fighting at least 20 enemies! Good luck with your leather armor and stone tools! Yeah, the loot level in the map is just too weak to fight these unbeatable hordes. Even as you kill them, more will just spawn. There’s a few spider spawners hidden behind blocks, but compared to the natural spawns, they’re hardly even a threat. Eventually, you’ll reach the wool – totally safe unless 80 creepers decide to spawn outside the fleecy box – and then find the connections to the fourth area and second intersection. But this area is complete garbage. Totally uninspired, totally unbalanced, just remove it! If you wanted to rebalance this map, you’d have to rebuild the area from the ground up! IT CAN’T BE SAVED! IT’S AWFUL!
Rating – 2/10 – At least it’s short
Psychological games(Light blue wool):
WOOL STATUS: DESTROYED
Alright. Let’s get started. I hope you didn’t skim over those 2 screenshots. Go back. Look over them REAL carefully. I’ll give you a minute to think about the question: What do you think the solution is?
You don’t know? Well guess what; I don’t think anybody ELSE knows either!!
Okay. Okay. So, I will say one good thing: I like this area’s CONCEPT. Considering that every sign we’ve seen so far has been the mapmaker taunting us as best he can, this psychological warfare thing fits with the theme of the map perfectly. These are the types of areas we should have… is what I WOULD say, if not for the fact that the execution is terrible.
The problem posed is that if we run forward, a proximity sensor could trigger before we had a chance to get the wool out. But if we push the button, it could disable the proximity sensor! Or maybe, there isn’t a proximity sensor, and the button will destroy the wool! There’s no way to know! How is anyone supposed to figure it out with the information given? The problem, as it is posed, is a bunch of crap!
…and that ALSO is what I would say… if I didn’t KNOW. This isn’t my first playthrough of the map. It’s my fourth. None of the playthroughs save this one finished the map (“finished” being… debatable), but all of them made it to this area. So I KNOW what’s going to happen. There’s a proximity sensor that will trigger TNT to destroy the wool as you approach it, if you ignore the button. But if you press the button… it will just trigger the TNT right away, destroying the wool sooner!.
Both options will destroy the wool. I knew this, because I had tried both. However… I don’t give up easy. I had a third plan in my mind! You see, earlier on in the map (though I forget where), the map had seen fit to provide us with enderpearls! I had them squirreled away, all ready to unleash my master plan: Teleport in, then get out!
But alas, things were more serious than I ever expected. My first pearl took me right to the wool box… but when I broke in, I quickly realized: The wool box you see in the picture is solid glass! You’ll have to punch through 10 glass blocks just to make it to the chest! So I did. As I heard the TNT begin to go off behind me, I reached the chest, only to realize… there was a brick block above the chest. In order to get the wool, you’d need to break that, too. I tried to break the chest, but… well, let’s just say I never had time to use my second enderpearl.
So any chance of getting all the wool in the map is gone. The task this map sets before you is intentionally impossible. This map truly is Unconquerable.
But you know what? This area might actually be a mercy. Because this is only the first intersection. And things never go any direction but downhill in this map. If you’re intending to play the map, or are playing the map, this is where it tells you: It never even intended to let you think you had a chance. So get off! Stop playing the map! Now’s your chance! Run! Go far away! Your hopes have been crushed!! You can leave! RUN!
Rating – 1/10
Intersection 2: A simple, boring intersection, with no way home. I say “way home” because this was before teleporters were a thing… but even Vechs had the good courtesy to put minecart tracks back home in his maps.
Rating – 5/10
The Deepest Mines(Lime wool):
WOOL STATUS: SAFE
The aesthetic for this place is “stone cave with bedrock as the floor”. Not that it matters, because this is all you see throughout the whole thing. This map was made back when void fog was a thing, and making an area based around void fog is a neat idea, but it isn’t used in any particular way here other than causing you to spend a lot of time stumbling around and running into walls. The area’s main threat is natural spawns and the occasional ceiling-embedded creeper spawner (that you can’t see). Eventually, you’ll end up running into the wool if you keep moving forward. This area could definitely be improved by throwing in some actually interesting things about it, other than void fog. There’s just… nothing here as it is now! It’s definitely a pretty bad area. At least it isn’t a maze…
Rating – 3/10
You might be able to detect a bit of a theme by now. The areas where the wool can’t be destroyed (or, the map isn’t actively trying to take it out) are generally bad, but in a mostly unremarkable way. Meanwhile, the areas where the wool CAN be destroyed make it completely impossible. As the map goes on, the number of the latter will increase and the number of the former will shrink.
Maze of Creepers(Yellow wool):
WOOL STATUS: UNOBTAINABLE
Alright. This area is one of the few to use the gimmick of making wool unobtainable in a semi-constructive/challenging way. It’s a stone maze where the walls are surrounded on all sides by lava, and filled with creepers. Any creeper explosions will result in the corridor they were in being flooded with lava. Sure, in theory you could just rebuild the walls… but have you ever tried that? It’s almost impossible without fire resistance! Essentially, as creepers explode, parts of the maze will slowly be cut off, and things will get harder. Let too many explode, and you’ll no longer have a way to the wool. It’s not a bad concept! But again, the execution is miserably botched. To begin, at many parts of the area, the floor is lined with TNT. If a creeper sets off the TNT, then it will just destroy half the maze instantly, eliminating any route to the wool – this is how my run of this area ended, if you’re wondering. So much for the wool slowly being sealed off. To make sure it was impossible after the TNT exploded, I gave the area a look-over in Creative – the way to the wool is just one, singular winding hallway that branches off from the rest of the maze, and its absolutely FILLED with creepers. Good luck making it through that and out with none of the creepers exploding!
It’s an interesting challenge, but not a well-executed one. The creepers and lava were enough. In order to make it better, the TNT should have been removed entirely, and there should have been many paths to the wool rather than just one. Then, we maybe could have gotten one tense area out of the map. Out of all the areas, this is one of the few I saw with actual potential in concept, which made me all the sadder that it was botched.
This area is completely thoughtless. Our setting is, for the umpteenth time: Boring stone cave. This boring stone cave, however, has spawners EVERYWHERE. In the floors, in the walls, even in the ceiling! And these spawners aren’t exposed to the air, they’re hidden behind generic stone blocks! Making it nigh-impossible to find them and make the area safe, especially since enemies spawn far faster than you can hope to slay them!
Alright, for this area, I want to talk about two things. Two things critically wrong with this map. First: The resource distribution. To its credit, Unconquerable gives you good access to plenty of your most absolute basic materials… but to its detriment, it expects you to farm ALL of them – almost nothing is provided in chests. There’s wood, but in the form of forests you need to cut down. There’s coal and cobblestone… in the walls, for you to mine with your slow stone picks. There’s bread… in the form of wheat seeds, which you need bonemeal to grow. If I wanted to play survival where I needed to farm to get anywhere, I’d play normal survival mode. Again, this is a product of old design thinking, but it’s more than that: You never get anything better. Throughout almost the entire map, you’re going to be using leather armor and stone tools. Sometimes, you’ll get an iron sword, or even some leather armor with protection I(gasp!). However, you won’t be able to keep those things, since Unconquerable LOVES its TNT and lava and void traps. It LOVES them. Almost all of the (very rare) “good” gear in the map (mid-tier loot in any other CTM) has some sort of unavoidable trap guarding it. And it just isn’t enough! In this and caves of darkness, you have to fight unending swarms of mobs, but even with the ability to spam click, you can’t kill anything quickly or take very many hits! You’ll die, and you’ll die a LOT! This sort of difficulty would be much more acceptable if we had any gear to counter it with, at all!
The second thing: The traps. This map appears to be, at many points, attempting to channel the ROMhack hard spirit of I Wanna Be the Guy and other copies. But there’s a key difference between those games and this map. You could rightfully call those games a bunch of fake difficulty nonsense, with their insane unpredictable traps. But at least their traps managed to surprise you! Here, that isn’t the case. All the traps are the exact same: Lava, or TNT. The mapmaker’s idea of making new, more exciting traps is best summed up as: Add more TNT. For example, I wanted to open up a chest. As soon as I opened it, a crater this size was blasted:
Most of the traps aren’t interesting, nor are they really avoidable. After the first few times, each lava and TNT trap does nothing but elicit a sigh. And that’s just one of the reasons why this map doesn’t work.
Back to the area: For some reason, the later part of the area contained a ton of lag. Now, I have NEVER had any lag problems with any of the maps I’ve reviewed – none of them. Until now. It seriously messed with me, although I DID manage to identify the cause – which we’ll talk about later. Suffice to say, while it isn’t IN this area, it certainly affects you in this area. Keep your render distance down.
Also, there’s no threats to the wool itself in the area.
Rating – 2/10
Intersection 3: Another boring, ugly intersection, with lava for a floor. They’re all the same at this point. Rating – 4/10
Finally… a nice place to rest. Even if the monument itself is nigh-impossible to complete, this place provides you with infinite amounts of materials you had plenty of already – stone picks, coal, and leather. It DOES provide you with an upgrade in the form of double chests full of iron swords. Not sure how much it will help, but it is very much appreciated. It even has rail lines back, albeit very long ones.
Rating – 7/10
WOOL STATUS: DESTROYED
Another area where you have to make a choice. This one, however, appears to have a semblance of logic. Essentially, you have 4 numbers: 859. 631. 699. 499. The map tells you to pick the “odd one out”. Pick right, and you get the wool! Pick wrong, and the wool is dead. This puzzle suffers from a lot of problems, namely, the main thing that makes a puzzle design hard: How do you communicate your logical line of thinking to the people trying to solve the puzzle? Of course it’s obvious to you, since you’re making the puzzle. But to people who aren’t you, it’s really hard. For this puzzle, I of course chose 631, since it’s the only number that doesn’t end in “9”. This evidently was not the solution the mapmaker had intended, as the wool was promptly destroyed.
Rating – 2/10
Happy Fluffy Bunnies(Light Gray Wool):
Deaths: 3(Mob hordes)
WOOL STATUS: SAFE
This area began with your usual stuff. Tons and tons of insane, insane naturally spawned hordes, too strong to beat with mere leather armor. So, I turned off the natural spawns. I was done with them. From here on out, just assume every area’s score would be 2 points lower if natural spawns were still on. They were just making the map nearly unplayable in their numbers. Even without natural spawns, all the areas still put up a fight – it’s just that now, they were possible!
(Please forgive me for cheating on a map I’m reviewing. I’m sorry, but assume it was so that I could reduce my rage enough to present this review to you in a mental state even slightly resembling coherent)
Most of the spawners in the area are skeleton spawners, but they contain an extra layer of crap, one that speaks to this map’s apparent lack of playtesting – this cave is made of redstone ore, in a map where iron is not thus far a thing. Good luck getting to the spawners in the ceiling with your stone picks! At least the cave segment is short. It branches off in 2 ways at the start; one leads to I4 and the other leads to… this room:
Alright. Compared to the other traps so far? This one isn’t that bad. See if you can guess what it is. Here’s a hint: The redstone ore triggers TNT which destroys everything. But this time, this trap is actually done in a way that someone knowledgeable can guess what will happen before it happens! It isn’t bad! Thank you! It’s still an entirely TNT-based trap, but at least its execution isn’t terrible this time.
But aside from that, this area has a lot of problems, so it still gets a low, low rating.
Rating – 4/10
Intersection 4: Well, if nothing else, this intersection was something different. The outside is entirely a dark room with swarms upon swarms of cave spiders and their spawners. But, at least, you had glass walls protecting you! It was meant to be used as an EXP/drops farm, I believe. So it’s… sort of nice? …Ish? …?????
Rating – 7/10
I can’t rate this area. I can’t. Upon entering, I was struck by such lag, I could hardly move. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Out of all the maps I’ve reviewed, this is the first one I’ve ever had problems with it. I have a fine computer and 2GB dedicated to Minecraft. And was playing on a really old version. Not to mention, this map is many years old. If I have problems, I doubt that anyone who played this area before me would do much better. However – I was actually able to find the cause, or so I believe. Beneath the city pictured, there’s a big, bedrock tunnel, where all the walls are more-or-less nothing but spawners. Row after row, wall after wall. If you could use spectator mode, you’d realize that the spawners are actually several blocks thick, which honestly isn’t even necessary. I’m pretty sure that one layer would have been more than enough. Well, we’ve identified the cause of the lag, but what is the purpose of this tunnel? It isn’t designed to be balanced, the signs even tell you to give up. This tunnel, which renders the entire area unplayable, leads to… LEADS TO…
A small, lit up room tucked in the corner, a light at the end of the tunnel… And inside lies…
A sign that calls you out for cheating. That’s its purpose. That’s the only reason its there.
That’s all there is.
That’s what this area was sacrificed, made unplayable, for. A pointless side tunnel, with nothing in it but a “clever” call-out to cheaters for getting past the tunnel. The tunnel that wouldn’t have needed to exist if not for the specific purpose of having cheaters get past it. If I hadn’t decided not to give the area a rating, I’d give the tunnel a 0. The rest of the area doesn’t even matter. That’s how stupid this tunnel is. Why. Why. Why.
Forest of the Dead(Cyan wool):
Deaths: 3(Cave spider swarms)
WOOL STATUS: SAFE
The top part of this place isn’t that bad. It’s a forest in a sandstone cave, with spider and cave spider spawners hidden underneath the trees. It’s not original, or unique, or particularly fun, but it isn’t that terrible. However, in the ponds in the forest, you have the entrance to the wool room underwater. It’s just a giant, dark, bedrock room, with the spawners hidden inside the bedrock where you can’t get to them. And there are a LOT of spawners. The intended way to do it seems to be to find time to break the glass blocks and make it inside the wool box with this horde following you:
It isn’t a very fair challenge. If we had armor that wasn’t leather, and could actually expect to take a few hits before dying, then maybe. But it isn’t particularly fun as it is. There is nothing in particular threatening the wool itself in this area.
Rating – 2/10
Deaths: 2(1 Spider swarm, 1 TNT)
WOOL STATUS: DESTROYED
Alright. This area was short. Short but terrible. The image you see above is the entrance to the area. Let’s talk about the number of reasons why it is bad. First off, you’ll probably notice that the area seems to consist of a checkerboard pattern of half-slabs and nothing, above redstone ore. If you were to guess that the redstone ore triggers many, many, many blocks of TNT, you’d be right! You get a prize. The prize is that you don’t have to play the map, since you already know its tricks. As you can see, this area is SWARMING with spider spawners… which, as you can probably guess, are again hidden in bedrock. The spiders build up fairly quickly, and as you can see, there’s really no way to get into the area except by dropping into the spiders, getting slapped around, and HOPING you don’t end up on the redstone ore. What I’m saying is, this challenge is almost completely impossible and you’re going to die.
Let’s talk about the map’s difficulty curve for a little while. Okay so, imagine not a difficulty curve, or a difficulty cliff, but a difficulty mountain. You start your climb a ways up, because if you’ve found this old map it’s safe to say you have at least some minecraft experience. But the climb quickly gets intense. Blizzards of lava. Avalanches of TNT. And as you climb higher, and higher, and higher, you’ll realize the top isn’t getting any closer. You can turn back there, or choose to keep going. But if you keep going, it still doesn’t closer. Finally, miles above the ground, your breaths get harder to take. The air is thinning, and it will only continue to do so. You can keep going, but at some point, you’ll have to accept that to go any higher would require you to die due to lack of oxygen. And the point you need to cross still hasn’t gotten any closer.
What I’m trying to say is that this map is too difficult for human beings to beat.
Here’s the thing. If you want me to care about a challenge… if you want me to get invested in something, if you want me to be engaged in whether or not I can succeed… not just “I”, but “anyone”… you have to give out a chance to succeed in the first place. This area doesn’t give out a chance for success. It throws something completely insurmountable at you, right from the beginning. Could any normal human fall into a group of spiders, then fight their way out, and make it through an area without ever touching the redstone ore and activating the TNT, with only leather armor, and iron swords, when they can’t even break the bedrock spawners? I think not. For that reason, this area is where I totally stopped caring about the map. This was clear as early as Psychological Games, but with every area we play, it’s becoming more clear. Now I can’t even see. It’s isn’t just see-through, it’s become so clear it’s invisible again. It’s the reason why the map’s core concept fails. We. Will. Not. EVER. Succeed.
It’s all already been decided. Whether or not you will get the wool was already decided. You’re either set up for failure with nigh-impossible tasks, or nothing threatens the wool at all. You can’t play the map like a “High score map”, because you’re guaranteed to get half the wools – with persistence -, and CAN’T get the other half! What would the point of trying to get as many as possible even be?? There isn’t much point to really try, or get invested any more. From now on, this is about seeing how badly the map can make things go before it destroys the last few wool.
Rating – 3/10
Intersection 5: A lava-filled place with no way home.
Rating – 4/10
WOOL STATUS: NOT GETTING IT
Again… it’s a bedrock box, full of cave spiders and silverfish and creepers, and massive lines of TNT that will kill you. It’s all primed, so the goal is to beat the area without touching it. Now… this area MIGHT have worked as a slow, careful area, where you have to fight a handful of stronger enemies, while carefully avoiding TNT and moving forward as fast as you can. It does NOT work as a horde area with creepers where one mistake absolutely guarantees destruction. Again, the map has provided you with a challenge, but not a way to solve it. There is no point.
Rating – 3/10
The Evil Comets(Brown wool):
WOOL STATUS: SAFE
The area is as you see. Now, considering that the main challenge here is “desperately build a bridge in spite of ghasts”, you’d think the area would provide us with blocks, or bows/arrows, or enderpearls, or any of the other materials needed to actually take on this challenge! But no. Come to think of it, in all these areas, we haven’t had any loot at all since the monument’s chests! I guess the map expected us to rely entirely on them? But, those chests only gave us picks, swords, coal, leather armor, and a place to farm food. If you want bows/arrows, blocks, tools, or anything else, you’re out of luck. Considering the incredible taxation the map has put so far on inventories with all the TNT and lava, it’s not a stretch to say you’d be forced to mine blocks, just to have some bridge-building supplies, in order to beat this area. There’s a big difference, and a fine line, between a survival-based map and a map that requires grinding. This is the latter, and it’s way over the line.
Since you can’t really go on the offense against the spawners, the “solution” seems to be to VERY CAREFULLY weave through them – or at least, that’s what I did. It isn’t easy. Once you actually reach the bedrock platform, you have a few more bedrock surrounded spawners, but the map is merciful – nothing will touch the wool. The area is still crap, but you can at least take the wool home.
Rating – 3/10
Demon Run(Red wool):
For the second-to-last area, lag begins. Again. This time, there isn’t a specific part of this place that’s causing it… it’s more of… this area as a whole is just row upon row of spawners.
Okay, so. This castle. To start with, the entrance you see in front of you is actually to BLACK wool. The red wool can be found by entering the glass encasement at the top. Once you make it up there, you can descend into the “final room”, even though its really the first part of the way to red wool. It’s well…
…yeah, that’s where the lag is coming from. This goes on for a WHILE. Remember – the only gear is unenchanted leather, iron swords, stone picks, and hopefully a whole lot of torches! Have fun!
…Okay, that’s not completely fair. There IS a chest full of enderpearls at the start, so you can warp through that area. That said… would it even help? The mobs are still insane, and you can’t mitigate the damage the enderpearls do to you since you don’t have feather falling. Teleport spam isn’t an option.
Basically, this area is full of all the problems with the rest of the map, in one convenient package. A massive area, full of thoughtless mob spam, with no good way to approach it, while you’re undergeared, in a way that causes lag, and most of all, isn’t fun. This is it. The pinnacle of the difficulty mountain. More-or-less a copy of the intentionally-designed-to-be-impossible tunnel from earlier, except this time you’re actually expected to go and beat it. Honestly, if you compare the two, the similarities are so striking it’s ridiculous. The mapmaker placed some signs taunting us, and said that there are 400 spawners crammed into this itty bitty space. 400.
If it wasn’t clear. I didn’t actually play this area. From here on out, I’ve just switched into creative and begun flying through. That’s how badly this map has frustrated and broken me! I’ve stopped actually playing it, and now I’m just a passive observer! But let me defend myself here. If I actually DID try to play this area, imagine the position I’d be in. With nothing but leather armor, iron swords, stone pickaxes, and ender pearls, I would have to slowly begin chipping away at this monstrosity – spawner by spawner. For the first few hours, I’d be dealing with lag, but if I could break some of the spawners, then MAYBE the lag could be alleviated. Slightly. It would be hours upon hours of just trying to eke out bit by bit of progress. And, well… I have a life. I have limited free time. I can’t spend it all trying to clear this impossible map, just to make my review a little more authentic.
I’m sorry. This map has taken all I have from me. I have nothing left to give. This area receives the most dreaded score…
Rating – 1/10
(Area had no formal name).
And it goes out with a whimper. This is IT. After the insanity of red wool… I honestly expected something more. But this is what we get. It’s a bedrock platform, with skeletons, blazes, and ghasts above void. The wool is in a chest in the middle, which is surrounded by TNT. And that’s all there is. I’ve said all I can say about these areas. Anything more I said here would simply retread old territory. We’re done here. Let’s skip right to the finish.
Rating – 2/10
Well, this picture shows what I DID manage to complete of the monument. Which isn’t much. As I said before, 50% would be a “good” score for this ridiculous map. This utterly, utterly ridiculous map.
I hope that the review up to this point has managed to convey to you at least .01% of the map’s absolute awfulness. Everything about the map is wrong. The core concept is flawed, the execution of the map isn’t flawed so much as a trainwreck. A trainwreck lying in a heap at the foot of the Eiffel Tower. On a train that was trying to get from New York to Detroit. Millions are dead.
The map has two main forms of challenge: Ludicrous numbers of spawners. Traps that can’t really be predicted, avoided, or circumvented. I’ve spoken of these problems many times before in other maps. But this map provides all those problems in much worse, unrefined, pure, raw forms. It’s almost awe-inspiring in how little it tries to hide what it is. And what it is is garbage.
The loot distribution? What loot distribution? I’ve already told you before: You spend the first half of the map with leather armor and stone tools. You spend the second half of the map with leather armor, stone tools, and an iron sword. And that’s all. It isn’t anywhere near enough to face what the map throws at you in heaps.
If the wool being destroyed was used to make action-filled, high intensity areas, then maybe I could have at least gotten some adrenaline rushes or something out of this map. But no. Almost every time the wool was in danger, it was in danger in a way that you were doomed from the start. Providing any chance at all to reach the wool came off as more of a cruel joke than an actual challenge to be solved. Maybe that’s all this map was. Just a cruel, cruel joke. So please.
Please don’t play Unconquerable.
The entire reason I made this review was so that nobody who stumbled upon it would have to traverse this Nightmare Realm. To go right ahead and play it anyways would ruin everything I’ve worked for; like stabbing a knife through my heart! Please! Please! Run as far away from Unconquerable! DON’T PLAY IT!
Hello. I've been a lurker of your thread for a while now. Can I just say how much I love your work and your reviews ? Each new post was like Christmas, and each reading provided me with advices, insight, and great laughs for each of the maps you bravely played through.
I am a bit sad to hear you'll stop making reviews but after reading your last one, I do understand why. You have inspired me to create a review thread as well as I love reviewing stuff.
Your writing is amazing and I think you're very talented. Do you write stories other than here ? If so, believe me i'd love to read them as well.
Thanks you for your dedication, i wish you great things and good luck in the future, recovering from Unconquerable.
Hello. I've been a lurker of your thread for a while now. Can I just say how much I love your work and your reviews ? Each new post was like Christmas, and each reading provided me with advices, insight, and great laughs for each of the maps you bravely played through.
I am a bit sad to hear you'll stop making reviews but after reading your last one, I do understand why. You have inspired me to create a review thread as well as I love reviewing stuff.
Your writing is amazing and I think you're very talented. Do you write stories other than here ? If so, believe me i'd love to read them as well.
Thanks you for your dedication, i wish you great things and good luck in the future, recovering from Unconquerable.
Hey, thanks a lot, it makes me really happy to hear you enjoyed them. I hope to read some of your reviews in the future, too.
As for some of the other stuff I've done, if you want more criticism of terrible things, in the guise of a screenshot let's play, and are enthusiastic about Fire emblem, then I used to do fire emblem ROMhack LPs, and one day I came across a hack called Corrupt Theocracy... Found here. It depends on if you like Fire Emblem games though, depending on your experience with the series it might be hard to follow.
In terms of stories, I made a forum game called Destroy the godmodder which became somewhat popular and can be found here. It isn't really a story though as much as it is a silly forum game.
Again, thanks a ton! I'm always glad to inspire people to avoid some of the mistakes these mapmakers made or make their own reviews. It makes me feel like I've made the world a better place.
Hey, I really like your works and your reviews. Each are very well made. This must've taken a lot of time to do. I hope this thread isn't dead. Beacause I'd love to read more ;D.
Thank you! I appreciate you saying so! I myself am not dead, but the thread unfortunately is. I've just decided to retire from bad map reviews. I'm sure there's at least a few more horrendous maps out there, but I'd like to spend some time doing other things. Maybe I'll come back someday, but I make no promises.