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    posted a message on Nameless' Reviews and Recommendations by Genre
    The first section contains a few of my favourite maps that I believe best demonstrate their genres. The second section contains all of the maps I recommend, with a brief summary of what strengths and weaknesses you can expect from them. The last section is a reference list of the remaining maps I have reviewed but do not advise playing unless you are sure of your tastes. Full reviews are available from the map threads.

    :-(o): Shining Examples :-(o):

    If you're looking for fast-paced combat through terrain far more interesting than caverns ...
    Mine 4 Dead: Blockhawk Down
    Inspired by Left 4 Dead, this map is constructed as three linear levels that take you from the tops of crumbling city buildings all the way down to claustrophobic sewers. The scale is both large and personal, and with the custom texture pack you'll barely realise you're still playing Minecraft. The number of enemies keeps the atmosphere tense without being overwhelming. The difficulty is well balanced and can be adjusted using Minecraft's options or by bringing a friend along to fight with you. Either way, you'll be constantly moving onto new areas and struggling to survive until you reach your final destination. Every aspect of the map is polished very professionally. This is a must-play for fans of action!

    If you're looking for lovingly crafted dungeons with a mix of puzzles, traps, and fighting ...
    Poor Pete's Pumpkin Problem
    This map begins with a quick and amusing excuse plot that I won't spoil, then throws you straight into the first of several very clear dungeons. The setup and progression is altogether oldschool gamey. Individual rooms alternate between clever puzzles, short fighting sequences, optional loot to gather and even the occasional trap. All the parts are well designed and interlock nicely with almost no inconvenience should you fail. Your exploration starts in traditional caves and dusty old rooms before progressing into increasingly impressive locations and scenery. All this map lacks are true boss sequences, but don't let that put you off - the journey is well worth the download.

    If you're looking for parkour exploration around unique and bizarre architecture ...
    The CUBEception
    You'll love it or you'll hate it but you can't deny it that what this map does, it does well. The CUBEception is a 'play on peaceful' map that focuses entirely on clever jumping challenges while you explore the intriguing mix of run-down mundane and bizarre otherworldly architecture that makes up your prison. Your path will be long and never short of variety. You will learn more and more of your story as you advance. And if you aren't careful, you will find the sun rising IRL as you search for the next checkpoint or secret room.

    If you're looking for epic scaled adventure and roleplay with a group of friends ...
    Although the main quest is styled as homage to Castlevania, this adventure is much larger and more involved than it seems. The map comes complete with a series of guidelines that work best for a roleplaying server, as well as a detailed scoring system for players who are looking for more of a challenge. The main quest is streamlined free of puzzles or filler that could bore a group, instead focusing on beautifully designed architecture and frequent combat with plenty of loot to share around. But where this map really shines is the expanded content: there are sidequests and secrets galore, all amongst terrain that feels natural but is always rewarding. If you want to host just one map to stay entertained for days, this is the one.

    If you're looking for polished demonstrations of what Minecraft's engine allows for ...
    Eronev Mansion Adventure
    The technical achievements alone would be enough reason to download this map. Changing NPC speech, true multiple endings, clever puzzles and all kinds of conveniences and visual effects have been implemented with basic redstone components. The adventure is designed with casual viewings in mind; there's nothing combat-centric to miss if you play on peaceful and most challenges can be skipped if you feel like it. You won't though since so much attention has been given to the entire map. The atmosphere is pleasant, game borders are subtly rewarding to explore and there's clever teasing to encourage you onwards. The ending sequence is amazing. This is a map that has forever risen the bar for other creators.

    If you're looking for somewhere to just relax and have fun ...
    Not every map has to be about the challenge or wrapping your head around another complex construction. If the thought of punching another zombie in the face makes YOU groan, then it's time to visit Funland again! This Minecraft theme park has everything you could want to unleash your joyful inner child, from water rides to amusement mini-games to restaurants to lots and lots of roller coasters. There are simple coasters, themed coasters, even elaborate underground coasters. They're all easy to navigate using a transportation monorail and brochure map, so don't worry about missing any. There are even secret areas for attentive fans. It's fun!

    :-( ): Recommendations :-( ):

    Aurgelmir, the Solemn Giant ~ creative build, difficult climbing
    A godly beautiful creation focused on a huge natural tree, with surrounding terrain. The map includes several long climbs, although even the easiest gets fidgety in places and some sections inside the tree trunk aren't visually impressive. A must-play for hardcore parkour fans, and worth at least checking out otherwise.

    CastleCraft ~ traditional puzzles, casual challenges
    A large castle filled with several hours worth of simple themed challenges. Some parts are a little boring, but there's good variety within the basic gameplay types presented. Mazes, jumping and memorisation feature often. A few puzzles are particularly clever. Some areas lack polish. Enjoyable overall.

    The Curse of Sunny Springs ~ dungeon-style, puzzles, jumping
    An adventure map that sends you into three themed temples. Contains jumping sections and some very clever puzzles. Can be played on peaceful. Towns are cozy and wonderfully designed. However, initially poor guidance is likely to waste some time and certain lava sections can render the map unwinnable without cheating.

    Death Island ~ survival, difficult caverns
    A complete-the-monument style challenge to fetch treasure from a cavern system. The starting island is uninteresting but the caves are packed tight with mobs, traps, features and rewards. The difficulty is high, but death isn't too painful. A short, fast-paced delving with all the fun and none of the tedium.

    Fear in a Handful of Dust ~ open world, atmospheric
    A story-driven adventure with an old west feel. Well written narration, consistently convincing scenery and a unique 'vision quest' opening. The main quest is fairly quick to complete and lacks any challenge, but there are many optional points of interest to slowly find. For fans of a well crafted environment.

    Levi's Nightmare ~ story-driven, atmospheric
    A fairly small, scenic map with an emotional story. The very natural design, attention to detail and loose rules make the world feel real and gives the story its powerful impact. Getting stuck on where to go next may dampen your immersion once or twice. Unexciting hidden ingots are the only side plot.

    The LOST SOULS series ~ searching, atmospheric
    This post-apocalyptic map serves as both a beautiful construction and lengthy adventure. The story and world progression are mostly smooth with some halts for required searching. Challenge is otherwise low enough to only bother. Some patience is required, but this is a rewarding exploration.

    The Necromancer's Tower ~ escape-style, simple challenges
    A slow-starting adventure with a mix of challenges as you ascend the titular tower. Some areas are bland and there's not much of a theme, but there are nice touches and bonuses throughout. The top of the tower has by far the best visual design and clever tricks. The boss fight is epic. Worth sticking with.

    Survival Mountain ~ survival, climbing
    A pure survival map on a tall, barren mountain surrounded by lava sea. Treacherous heights make exploring challenging and mobs much more of threat than normal. Caverns are rewarding to discover. Still underdeveloped, but an enjoyable change from generic island or desert maps.

    :._.: Other Reviews :._.:

    The Cave-in: Could be a very short and sweet jumping map if not for a handful of amature mistakes. Not bad, just not enough to bother with.
    City Conquerer: Empty space, little plot and a lacking atmosphere suck interest from what might have been a good outline of an adventure. Obvious WIP.
    Four Towers: Pure hack and slash map. Lengthy with well designed side areas, but visually plain and very repetitious combat. Some technical issues.
    Goldmine: Dungeon-style map with very lazy guidance and a pointless overworld. A few cool moments, but mostly uninspired and boring.
    HammerSide: Linear quest through a grand temple. Charming story and impressive architecture, but with frequent dull stretches. Greatly surpassed by the creator's newer map.
    The Hitchminer's Guide to the Galaxy: A series of unrelated tasks with absolutely minimal effort and no relevance to its name. Entirely pointless.
    Lindwurn Castle: Overstretched compilation of light puzzles. Mostly enjoyable, but some obvious duds and annoyances bring it down. There are better maps available.
    The Remnants of Ouranos: An RPG with an amazing introduction and landmarks. Empty interiors, hideous signs and free gear kill the immersion. Aimless wandering kills playability. Watch for updates.
    Return to Bloodycross Castle: Nicely designed locations with very awkward storytelling. The adventure consists almost entirely of running back and forth.
    SawCraft: A line of rooms covering every possible bad game design. No aesthetics or believable relation to the Saw series. The worst map I've played.
    The Secrets of Anvale: Unremarkable, but passable, adventure map. The few traps and puzzles are obvious while combat difficulty fluctuates. You're not missing anything.
    Posted in: Maps
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    posted a message on [ADV + ] Poor Pete's Pumpkin Problem ~ Over 1600 downloads!!
    Any adventures amiably allowing alliteration are almost always amazing, and an amusing anecdote announcing aforementioned annals attracts appreciators accordingly, amounts advertising avoided apathy! I'll stop now.

    This is a very gamey map. The setup is quick and silly, and there's little outside of the main dungeons. The dungeons themselves are clear, linear and divided neatly into sub-challenges, with easy backtracking and regular checkpoints to avoid any tedium. There are traps, puzzles and redstone/pistol use - none of which are too tricky, but are clever enough to be fun. They're kept a nice armslength away from the regular combat areas which honestly aren't THAT hard given you're fully equipped at checkpoints, but the difficult does smoothly and fairly rise as you progress and dying at least once or twice is probable. Of course, there's optional loot you'll want to find and carefully keep to shift the odds in your favour.

    It should be noted that it isn't just dusty old corridors I'm talking about. The later areas in the game are visually impressive and very grand. The only thing this map sorely lacks is any kind of boss fights / areas. The dungeons are excellently designed, just don't expect to be wowed at the end of them. I did smile at the final room in the spider cave though, and a certain reloadable construction in the glowstone-heavy area is always fun.

    Technical issues: There are some capitalisation errors in the starting signs. A few rules felt redundant; you never need to break blocks (one fairly blatant secret notwithstanding) and you're given enough torches that running out isn't a problem. The wooden sword you begin with tends to run out of durability before you reach the first checkpoint, making some early rooms unusually difficult with bow and arrows alone. The outdoor area in the base with rising platforms badly needs cover as none of the spawners there work during the day.
    Posted in: Maps
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    posted a message on [Adv] Criswelvania Resurrection v15.0 WiP
    A CHALLENGER APPEARS: wall of text

    This map can be described as nothing short of epic for a roleplay SMP, but some elements fall short for a single player challenge. The good first, though: the architecture and lay of the land is very natural and well crafted. The game area feels like a real environment rather than a game map, and the side-areas I poked into all took what could have already been randomly generated but tweaked them to be rewarding and without tedium. The real show was Criswelvania proper, of course, and it was beautifully designed both inside and out. Nothing felt like filler and there was good variety while keeping to the atmosphere and theme. The nether buildings were particularly clever both visually and in maintaining gameplay. Any other creators take note: THIS is how you build an adventure map.

    The villages could have used a bit more variety, I suppose. I became confused a couple of times in the nether castle which was frustrating because it wasn't exactly easy to just poke around some more and explore there. And it took roughly thirty seconds for the ticking in the clocktower to go from atmospheric to S. T. F. - U. *rage*

    Playing this map as a single player challenge posed a couple of problems. There were one or two locations with several spawners together that became very unwieldy to disable solo, even on easy. The idea of exploring only during the night phase is a nice one (and often necessary for the spawners to work), but I'm not gonna spend half my game time just waiting for the sun to set - you might want to suggest a mod that gives those kind of cheats to SSP. Walking all the way back somewhere if you die is also tedious compared teleport-to you'd presumably use in SMP. The amount of random crap you find in chests every other room is more annoying than anything else. It breaks immersion, it's a pain to sort, any further rewards begin to lose meaning, and it makes the village shops redundant once the adventure is underway.

    The rules are also far too vague (and long) to take seriously. Given that you've gone to the effort of adding a scoring table, it would help to have one clear list of what you can and can not do to qualify, perhaps with any other suggestions also being awarded bonus points. I gave up somewhere around deciding which chests in town were okay to loot and when exactly building a bridge constituted bypassing an obstacle or not. Again, this wouldn't really matter if you were roleplaying and the adventure was still great fun once I more or less invented my own restrictions, but it seems like a confusing waste as is.

    Anyway. I highly recommend giving this map a try if you have several hours (or days!) to kill, especially if you can bring friends along. Just don't expect to be able to take the adventure 100% seriously.
    Posted in: Maps
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    posted a message on [1.12][ADV/PARK/ESCAPE] CUBEception (updated to 1.12!) & CUBEception 2 (140 000 downloads!)
    Well. First off, let me say that you get bonus points right off the bat for a good trailer, walkthrough, and quick fixing of errors. As for the map itself? It is awesome. I mean, there are a lot of things that it also isn't - inclusive of any combat, crafting or collecting, so potential players keep that in mind - but the architecture is much cooler and different than any other maps I've played recently. There's just the right mix of bizarre and mundane areas, and it gives a very convincing feeling of being off-the-path and exploring in clever ways. The 'reveal' at the end of the first chapter was very impressive - I wasn't expecting quite so much of the scenery to be shown at once and it's a heck of an interesting view. The signs were amusing too ("In case of amnesia or brain-wash", and the trollface) and shortcuts were always convenient.*

    The only real negative experience* was the obsidian rooms. Jumping in them wasn't so much clever as obnoxious, and I ended up cheating just through that part. It's also possible to skip a large section of the map: if you make a few careful jumps down and left from the chapter one shortcut, you can land safely in water by the bottom level farm.

    I haven't finished the map yet, purely because of its a decent size*. So far it's definitely been worth it. I highly recommend it anybody who enjoys jumping around unusual environments, although crafting and fighting junkies might get bored with it.

    * Everything suddenly exploding and lagging after taking a minecart shortcut NOTWITHSTANDING, but it seems you've fixed that since.
    Posted in: Maps
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