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LB Advent Calendar 2005 - Magic Castle by masha

Akcy 8 7 8 8
alan 7 7 8 9
CC 9 8 9 9
DJ Full 7 6 8 8
Duncan 9 8 10 10
Gerty 8 8 9 9
High Priestess 6 4 6 10
Hochgiftig 10 10 10 10
Jay 9 8 10 10
John 7 6 7 8
Jose 9 8 8 9
Kristina 8 8 8 8
Loupar 8 8 8 8
manarch2 8 8 9 8
MichaelP 9 8 9 9
Moonpooka 9 9 10 10
Mytly 8 8 9 9
Obig 9 9 10 10
Phil 9 9 10 10
Ryan 9 8 9 9
Sash 8 6 9 9
TimJ 9 9 10 10
Treeble 8 8 8 8
release date: 10-Dec-2005
# of downloads: 107

average rating: 8.47
review count: 23
review this level

file size: 27.10 MB
file type: TR4
class: Xmas

author profile(s):

Reviewer's comments
"Well if you like snowy castle levels with lots of push-able object puzzles then this is the one for you! You start by exploring an outside snowy area set around buildings and structures looking for ways to progress with 2 unfairly hidden pushable rocks, some switches, objects to collect and insert and some angels to push about before you get inside the castle where i thought the gameplay becomes more enjoyable and challenging. I really missed some music tracks and placed objects here as things felt very empty and very quiet a lot of the time in this level but despite the lack of any traps or enemies as well, the multiple pushable object puzzles here i found to be either original, clever or fun mostly, they involved, floor patterns, mirror rooms and raised/lowered pillars and trapdoors, they were enjoyable but one after the other after the other was becoming a bit boring so i was definitely happy and refreshed with a break from it all with a fun torch/trapdoor task. The final puzzle room with the boulder,blocks and trapdoors really steps up the challenge with a timed trapdoor and collapsing tile timed run which was tricky but fun vs the annoying unfair jumps past pillars to ledge tasks that took me about 30 attempts and the annoying hidden climb textures! but on the whole this is an enjoyable and fun level with some lovely looking snowy areas especially that central castle room where the snow falls down from the open ceiling! gorgeous!" - John (15-Jan-2023)
"Nothing very christmassy about this level, I think it would fit better into the "snow" category. Once you enter the castle, you have some work to do, solving many puzzles with movable objects and then making big jumps to reach certain areas. If you like puzzles, then this is the level for you." - alan (30-Dec-2021)
"Sorry to downgrade a few elements (I love Masha's releases), but there were no real enemies and no castle. I found the repetitive music irritating also. There were a few nice block-pushing puzzles and some challenging timed runs but I didn't finish the very last bit because I left my (burning twig), torch higher up. Instead I watched the end on YouTube. It's not at all Christmas-related so am puzzled as to why this is in the Advent category. I did have fun playing but it's not one I would readily re- visit." - High Priestess (09-Jun-2018)
"As you would expect from this builder, this is another beautifully and professionally constructed adventure. The environments are awesome to look at and grandiose throughout, while the gameplay entertains to a high degree. No enemies, seeing as this is an Advent level, but I've never been that bothered about them anyway. For me, the essence of TR is exploring and puzzle solving. The numerous pushable puzzles were a bit slow going and the running around ever so slightly tedious, but the sliding floor puzzle and torch/trapdoor sequence were masterstrokes in the gameplay department and alleviated any negative feelings. Very player-friendly and accessible throughout. Highly recommended." - Ryan (16-Jun-2016)
"I'm not sure what happened here - the magically appearing castle looks stunning and really inviting but somehow we never explore that place, instead going in a completely different direction and solving a totally diffrent location. The pushable content is ambitious and well done, with two rooms preparing the third one and utilizing just two kinds of objects but in multiple ways just like I like. On the contrary I would like the static decorations to be more varied, because in this case repetitivity is what I don't like. The final hall with the rollingball has some shortcuts so when I skipped the lasersight I could progress the way which was totally unintended but equally entertaining (I later replayed that part in correct order). Unfortunately - an Advent flaw I guess - the ending feels really trimmed with a gem pickup like any other, and I could never pick that similar one from beneath the ice. SUMMARY: Begins better than ends, but that flyby is a must see." - DJ Full (15-Feb-2016)
"This is another wonderful Xmas level that is relatively old but didn't age much, also because of some rather nice little featuures implemented in here. The gameplay is a bit linear and easy in the first level, but the first half of the second level is highly entertaining with a couple of well interconnected and fun puzzles (many, many pushable ones, but all of them are really creative). Especially the nice use of the mirror room and slippery floors (no need to push the statues though), but also the creative puzzle that involves moving statues up and down, as well as the trapdoor challenge near the end were highlights of this game. My largest complaint in this second level is that some parts in the later half is not as intense as the first and feels a bit rushed, with the boulder puzzle not requiring much thought because you only have to pull the respectively next lever, and the end being intriguing, yet way too sudden and abruptly without any real conclusion, which felt quite a bit of a disappointment. A (really small) issue was that it wasn't needed to use a certain lever which raises some bars in front of the fire, as it's possible to light the torch without; maybe the builder also could've placed another torch later when you need it for the second time, because it might result in quite a bit of a search if you didn't take it with you directly to the large hall. Visually, I didn't like the colour contrast with a lot of blue used inside the castle so much, but in general the texturing is really competently used throughout and looking very clean and flawless, which is always a plus in my book. The lighting is more improvable though as I found it to not be very realistic and flat at times. I liked the general atmosphere of the level, but I admit that I would have given it an 8 as well as all other categories because of the rather sameish appearance of all rooms and the slightly enerving background music (both in the second level), but the absolutely stunning and imaginative flyby with the castle being built up in the short first level is a just too intense moment to neglect that in the rating. Overall, there are way more ups than downs in this level as I came to expect from masha (has she ever built a bad level at all?). Spent 40 minutes in here and found two nice secrets." - manarch2 (12-Sep-2013)
"A level by Masha is always good for some eye candy, and this one doesn't disappoint in that regard: there's a beautiful, snowy, foggy outdoor area in the first level, and an even more beautiful interior of the castle to explore in the second level. There are some pretty objects, like the translucent angel statues and the branch-shaped torch. The flyby showing the castle appearing out of thin air is amazing. The atmosphere is very good, but the tinkly music that goes on non-stop in the second level seems to do its best to ruin it (I finally turned it off).
Gameplay is good, but relies on far too many pushable puzzles. In the second level, there are three puzzle rooms that are accessible from the beginning, and it seems as though they can be done in any order, but that's actually not true. So if you are unlucky enough to choose a non-optimal order, be prepared for quite a bit of confusion. Eventually it all works out, of course. Among these puzzles, there is a fairly unusual one involving pushables, a mirror room and sliding floors that I liked. And there are other fun bits later on as well, especially the torch and trapdoor jumps, getting a snowball to roll down right from the top, and the tricky jumps on the moving trapdoors and collapsible tiles. There's another potential 'oops' moment near the end, in which if you can't find your torch again, you are completely stuck. The end feels far too abrupt.
Overall: A fun and pretty level. Don't wait till Christmas to play it!" - Mytly (28-Apr-2011)
"This level is simply outstanding, and I regret having passed over these Advent levels in earlier years (mainly because of the BtB competitions that have followed soon thereafter). I won't be making that mistake any more. Here we have a very pleasant level that's well lighted and provides about an hour of seasonal entertainment. There's an interesting timed platform run near the end that's not very difficult, together with a couple of banana jumps that may take a few tries. It's all very gamer-friendly, and I'm very impressed with the few levels I've played by this talented builder. Highly recommended." - Phil (25-Mar-2008)
"I really liked this level! The castle which appears after having done something was really original. The first level was short and a good introduction to the second one. I liked the mirror room where Lara slide on a flat floor. ^^ There was a tricky "banana" jump but nothing frustrating. The castle was beautiful with a lot of good ideas. Good textures, good atmosphere and a nice music... I haven't played a lot of Xmas level but this one is my favourite so far. :-)" - TimJ (20-Jul-2007)
"An impressive castle, watching it coming back to it's former glory in the fly by was a great moment. The first level is short and lineal, the second is where the fun begins. Gameplay is good, but not difficult, I enjoyed the jumps with the torch, the mirror room, and the timed platforms. There were just two jumps required some skill, for the revolver, and one of the secrets. Just way too many pushy objects, the tasks involving them were inventive and various, but simply too many. There was an unreachable Lion Gem under the ice in the room with sconces, that, and the ending suggest a sequel, I hope there will be. It's a nice enemy free level, even if there was nothing Xmassy about it." - Akcy (08-Jan-2007)
"Well I was disappointed to not see any Christmas tree and decorations. It's a level, a good one of course, that could have been built at any time and not just for the Advent Calendar. It is a challenging game, especially in the second level where we have some jumping and pushing to do plus some timed platforms that rise again though and collapsing tiles to master. The puzzle with the moveable objects though was overused in my opinion. At the beginning I was confused and stuck for a while because of a moveable rock that blends very well. The rest wasn't hard at all and I enjoyed playing this one as much as I enjoy the rest of Masha's levels. I found two golden roses that were secrets and completed it in about an hour." - Kristina (05-Mar-2006)
"This is a level split into two, the first part is really short (15 minutes) and basically is about finding a Magic Wand to reveal the magic castle (which I thought was brilliantly done). It's outside, it's snowing and the sky is flashing bright it gets to hurt the eyes! Shortly you slide down into the magic castle itself where you'll be facing a number of pushable block puzzles, pay attention to their textures, there's a subtle difference in them (ok, not so subtle, but it got me stuck for a while). There was one particular bit which I thought was ingenious where you'd have to drop them to ground floor through a trapdoor and then lift them to a higher area using a raising block - don't remember having done this in levels I played previously. There's a mirror room with a sliding floor and a torch sequence which was nice, you were working your way as you were going. All in all, this was a lovely level and the music fit in perfectly. X-mas is over and it's almost Easter again, but well, it was fun! Thanks Masha! 60 minutes, 2 secrets. 02/06" - Treeble (19-Feb-2006)
"We are wandering with Lara in a pixied castle on this level. It is not really a christmas level, because there is no christmas-tree, there are no presents, but everythings is very peaceful and festive music sounds all the way. The level starts at the ruins of the castle, then Lara resuscitates the castle, its walls once again go up and the adventure can begin inside the building that is also wonderful. Most of the challenges are pushing blocks that slows down the gameplay a little bit, but the gorgeous environment compensates for this. In the first step we have to get the very well hidden torch in order to go on. In the meantime we can even skate with Lara. Some precise jumps are required and the revolver and the lasersight for aimed shots. Of course, there are no enemies. I could find two secrets. The end of the level surprised me a little bit, but maybe this ending lets us to suppose that there will be a continuation. You can find a Hungarian walkthrough (as we don't have English version), savegames and pictures here:" - Obig (25-Jan-2006)
"I really enjoy large open spaces, indoors and out, as I love the grandness that can be given to such areas, and Masha has totally delivered on that front for me. There are 2 levels in this not really Xmassy Xmas level that just visually delight the eye, the first the exterior of the Magic Castle and the second inside it. The whole game has been given that ice cold beauty with the ice blue textures used and I adored it, I also thought the game itself was really a whole lot of fun with many movable cube puzzles to solve as well as some timed platform jumps and a cute torch puzzle. There are however moments in the gaming that can have an obscure twist to them but on the whole I didn't have much trouble getting through to the end. If I had my way I would have liked a few more secrets along the way as in the combined 50 minutes this took to play the 2 secrets included were found in the last 5 minutes. For an advent level this stands above the norm and I would love to see a continuance if Masha is so inclined. Definitely one to check out and play." - Sash (09-Jan-2006)
"I really enjoyed this level. Perhaps it hasn't a good architecture and no enemies too, but there are very good puzzles, and cameras let a more dinamic gameplay. There's only one detail I didn't like: the "banana" jump to get the revolver. It's different that you have to do this tricky jump to get a secret, like in the first golden rose, but it's optional, you don't need to do it to continue playing. Author said to give a "0" in enemies section, but I take into account objects and secrets too. Sometimes I got stucked, because there are huge areas to explore and you have to fix one's eyes on small details like the moveable block in first level or the ladder in second level, but I liked very much this levels." - Jose (09-Jan-2006)
"Wow, what a wonderful masterpiece of level building. Masha leads us to a very new way of celebrating Christmas. In fact - there is no Christmas, but we find ourselves in a wonderful magical world. We start at the huge ruin of a castle and after pushing some angels and finding the wand we actually do magic and now we get to the most exciting moment of the whole level. A flyby shows us how the old ruin becomes the most wonderful castle I've ever seen in a custom level. Inside there are many things to do. Pushing angels, climbing higher and higher to light the torches and I may not forget the huge magnificant hall with lots of different things like a timerun above up-and-down trapdoors, clearing the way for a rollingball ... I have to say this is my favourite of this years' calendar and I thank Masha very very much for this wonderful level. Merry X-Mas." - Hochgiftig (08-Jan-2006)
"Beautiful and easy level. Lara's in a Magic Castle that grows in the fog. After that great moment, all the gameplay is pushing objects and using a torch get the highest part of the castle. The second part is full of clever puzzles and beautiful rooms and music everywhere. Nice to play and enjoy." - Loupar (05-Jan-2006)
"This is a very beautiful level. In hindsight the actual gameplay was pretty easy, apart from that trapdoor run near the end. But during the game it's so cleverly designed that we spend ages just looking for the next thing to do. At the start Lara emerges from a cave into a huge area of broken structures. She has to find a magic wand, and when placed the castle magically restores itself to it's magnificent former glory. Watch the flyby as it points to where Lara needs to go. I loved the colours, textures, objects, atmosphere and overall look of this level, added to by a well thought out route through this castle that will include some object pushing, jumping, climbing, and what a surprise! Lara skating on ice! The only problem the player 'might' have here is releasing a rolling snowball onto a track in a high room and not realising that the block at the end must be lowered. Even though this block can be lowered later the snowball will not continue along the track, so saving is recommended before doing anything in this room. There is a lovely 'torch'(mistletoe) exercise here of lighting sconces to raise trapdoors, that allow Lara to hop up, higher and higher, until she reaches a chain to climb. I also like the object pushing puzzles, especially the one of taking two objects down off a walkway. Now to that trapdoor run. I tried to do it from the block beside the blue doors, but was never quick enough to turn and grab the white breakable tile. I did it in the end by doing a running jump from the switch ledge that lowers that block on the track. The end is a bit abrupt, but rather than drag it out and take away from the impact of the level the author has wisely decided to leave well enough alone. A lovely level to play this Christmastime." - CC (23-Dec-2005)
"For me this wasn't an easy level as I did run around a lot, not because there is backtracking to do but more that I couldn't find a way to continue. How would I know that running over four marked tiles some blocks would descend or for that matter that a wall was climbable. Discarding that, yeah it was a nice level to do. Not easy as in the end there is some jumping over collapsible tiles and timed platforms and two sneaky curved jumping to do. Picking up the gem Lara disappeared through the floor and that is the end of the level. 10-12-2005" - Gerty (23-Dec-2005)
"I am a huge fan of Masha's levels so I couldn't wait to load this up and get playing. Set in snow covered ice cold wintery lands, this was stunning from start to finish as each room and area had something special to offer; I absolutely loved it!! In the first area you will have to find the wand in order to make the magic castle accessible, and then you have to find a key so that you can enter the gorgeous areas inside. Within these walls, you will find some gems, tackle puzzle rooms, use the torch, and visit a rather natty mirror room. Later on you will need the revolver and sight,then eventually you will create a fab snow ball rolling scene. I found all secrets and was sad to leave this wonderful level. Well done Masha!!! This was a fabulous adventure, thank you." - Moonpooka (21-Dec-2005)
"A nice little Christmas level? Yeah, right... this is a full fledged adventure in two parts (20+60 minutes) set in and around wonderful Magic Castle. And indeed the introduction or rather appearance of the Magic Castle after placing the magic wand is truly a unique moment in TR Custom Level history. Great stuff! Then the second part keeps you busy with a series of rather clever puzzles, many involving pushable objects. I really did like those but it also did become a bit tedious with all the long tracks to push objects around many times. Add to that a mirror room, smart use of a torch (or rather mistletoe) and timed trap doors and you have an entertaining adventure with a few tricky moments. Highly recommended." - MichaelP (18-Dec-2005)
"This Advent Calendar level looks absolutely magnificent. The castle buildings are truly impressive and the contrast between the somewhat forbidding huge stone walls and the light, bright fluffiness of the snow is most effective. Granted, there is rather a lot of puzzle piece pushing to do, but it's all extremely well devised so I didn't mind, and there's a lovely sequence with a torch, lighting sconces on various levels of a room and a great collapsing tile/rising falling platform run to achieve. A lot of fun." - Jay (16-Dec-2005)
"The author said since there are no enemies then to give "0" for enemies. A level this good deserves a better rating than that! It is both gorgeous and a lot of fun to play. When a level is this engaging and there are no enemies, then it has a lot going for it. The setting is both mysterious and beautiful - especially in the first part. There are some great fly-bys and camera pieces, and the puzzles are clever in the way they cross-reference each other. The only thing I didn't like is the ending. After going through all the trouble of the level, there should be more of an emotional "pay off" at the end. In other words, the ending should have the same kick as the transformation scene after Lara places the magic wand. Just dumping her down a slide to nowhere is a let down. Having said that, I think it's a fabulous piece. I LOVED playing it and highly recommend it." - Duncan (13-Dec-2005)