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BtB2013 - Nidavellir, the Land of the Dwarves by IvanTRFan

Daffy 9 9 9 9
DJ Full 8 10 9 9
EssGee 8 8 8 8
Jay 8 8 9 9
JesseG 9 10 7 8
Jose 7 7 8 7
Josey 6 6 6 5
Magnus 5 5 5 5
manarch2 9 8 9 8
Markus 7 8 8 8
MichaelP 6 8 7 6
Mman 7 8 8 8
Mytly 8 6 7 7
OverRaider 8 9 9 9
Phil 9 9 8 8
requiemsoul 9 9 9 9
Ryan 7 6 7 7
Soul 8 7 8 8
Treeble 7 8 7 8
release date: 01-Apr-2013
# of downloads: 130

average rating: 7.74
review count: 19
review this level

file size: 65.00 MB
file type: TR4
class: Nordic/Celtic

author profile(s):

Reviewer's comments
"This level lagged a lot on my laptop. Probably the overuse of objects in the village. Enemies were overused too. Also had the flare bug in the middle. Apart from that it was all right but not a favourite of the contest for me." - Ryan (01-Feb-2016)
"The start of this level is the land where framerates go to die, and I can't help thinking the objects could be cut down a bit for people with weaker computers (and I'm not exactly one of those). Overall the start area is an impressive sight though, with a nicely executed open village area. When you get underground things become a lot more pedestrian; at the start I thought this was fine as a lead in to something impressive, and it does, but then you go back to more confined corridors for the rest of the level with the big areas mainly being visual spectacles that you pass straight through. At it's best the level looks great but the second half confines most of the actual interaction to side-areas.

The start is enjoyable outside of ridiculous Wolf spam and an obscure shimmy that could do with a hint, but once you get underground there's interesting puzzles interspersed with some annoying filler tasks, in particular an annoyingly long monkey swing you have to do twice is the most blatant filler I've seen this BTB. It culminates in another nicely done boss fight with a small puzzle element, and the final climb (and seeing the sky again) is another moment that helps bring it together. It's unfortunate it's dragged down all the weaker moments because the best parts show the potential for this to have been one of the better levels in this BTB." - Mman (15-Oct-2015)
"I was indeed positively suprised with the general quality and depth of this level, given we have only seem a demo release from this builder before, but it does have ist problems with overdoing a few things along the way - like too many wolves at the beginning, too many too long monkey swings and climbs slowing down the gameplay and maybe also too many witches to battle at the end (not too hard to accomplish, despite the dragon and the locusts, but just a bit too tedious to be fun). Of course the ever present flare bug in this rather dark level is a big issue in itself that could easily have been avoided. On the positive side though, I really liked some areas, like the bridge house at the beginning, the secrets with their related tasks, the variety of simple push puzzles and the dwarf village rooms. So yes, a bit of mixed bag, but I still enjoyed playing through it. (77 min, 4 secrets)." - MichaelP (27-Jul-2013)
"So far in my Btb2013 raiding, this level has had the most intensive combat. The town is overrun by wolves so naturally Lara has to pick of quite a number of them, this gets a little tiring but not too much as you expand your arsenal. However things get a bit more interesting as you get underground, and it is clear that the author put quite a bit of thought into this aspect of the game. You will find makeshift battle arenas with an enemy or 15. Normally I would say it was too much, but the magic spell weapon, with over 40 ice spells alone, along with the healthy amount of medpacks helped me not feel overwhelmed. The final encounter is quite rememberable and requires a bit of planning and timing to survive. The rest of the gameplay has a few puzzles and a lot of traps, including a hallway that seems to try to swallow you whole as you walk through it. The atmosphere felt a bit lacking - as with the other village level I played so far, it seemed a bit big and empty, although less wallpapered. The underground part also has that big and empty feeling in the combat rooms. The lighting is decent, but the dark places get frustrating because the flare bug decides to be in effect the whole level - a good sign that a level is a bit too big for its britches. It is not a well-rounded level and leans heavily toward combat and action, but at least it was a fun raid. 1 hour, 17 minutes." - SSJ6Wolf (16-Jul-2013)
"Had it not been for the flare bug, which showed up fairly early and never went away, this would have been my favorite among the 15 BtB levels I've played to date. The combination of flare bug and consistently dark environs (which is what we have here) is to me one of the unpardonable sins of level building, but I found the gameplay so exhilerating that I'm loath to deduct more than a couple of points. The final boss battle with the gymnastics required to make your escape was the perfect capper to an adventure that required nearly two hours of net gaming time. I followed Dutchy's walkthrough religiously, but had it not been for the light provided by the fairy near the end I would not have seen and gone for that fourth secret. I know I'm taking too long to complete these levels (the summer months always clamor for my attention in other endeavors), and I know that the competition is starting to fade in the memories of many of us, but for sheer playability I can't think of another entrant that tops this one. For this reason I'm somewhat flabbergasted that the average scores aren't higher. Anyway, I liked it." - Phil (14-Jul-2013)
"This level starts off in a quiet unassuming village with some simple tasks to do and plenty of wolves to kill. There is one long shimmy required along a ravine which seemed to be too obscure because you can't really see that this is the correct way to go. What lies beneath is far more interesting. There are a couple of creative block puzzles, and some rather cute moments when the army of gremlins attack. The troll on the island, seemed an odd placement as the enemy didn't function well in this situation and could easily be picked off without engaging it directly. The level culminates with a challenging final battle, that requires some good strategizing if you don't want to resort to heavy weapons. I finished the level with no medipacs left in my inventory." - EssGee (10-Jun-2013)
"This would be my personal favourite... okay, OKAY, too early to speak about "favourite" after only playing TWO! What I mean is gameplay would be excellent if only the author listened to people and fixed the flare bug when they asked to. Neither we can use them, nor make light with torch, nor pistols, and trying to use binoculars crashes us to desktop with a nice BtB wallpaper. No wonder this occurs if no flame is antitriggered while there are lots of, LOTS of them. As a result, anytime there was a dark pit or a place with a static camera, I felt I could irreversibly miss something... actually I did - one secret - but this was plainly my fault, for I was stupid enough not to take notes [grabs a sheet for next level]. But regardless from missing a thing or not, such uneasement should take no place in a player's heart while running through a level as decent like this one - because its pros are indeed numerous. The whole thing starts in a very finely crafted post-earthquake village: there's a bent house and another one broken in half, yet both are not that easily accessible as one would think. The scenery is sometimes textured with low amount of tiles, but filled with a lot of what I consider to be proper lighting, so the layer gets lively warm in the wooden houses, cold in the outside and pitch-black dark in the very depth of the fresh earthquake cracks (of course in several spots I would complain, but screw that, for often even Titia can't satisfy me completely in this field). Convincing graphics continue as the game leads us down to the underground dwarven domain (e.g. an additional golden light appears when needed to show dwarven treasures). Deadly traps of course guard their kingdom deep down in there, so constant wolf fight switches to precise timing, sprinting and jumping around. Works fine, and the flare bug also stops to disturb here, because we can mostly see everything without additional light support. Worked our way through each fragment of descent, we of course find some keys and holes interrupted by several riddles, of which I need to highlight pushables. It's a REALLY hard thing to invent a non-usual pushable among hundreds of typical ones. Here each one is different, but a certain one is very special. I won't say details, but play the game Yourself to have a proof its ingenious. Next things: the boss fight zones. There are two graduated - I speak of that neat application when You fight an enemy in an arena, and then You meet four of this kind in the next arena, but this time they are just a "support" for the main actor on the stage - a much endurable and stronger creature. Another fine touch is a cover opportunity provided when we need to somehow hide from boss's attacks while placing puzzles and unable to move. Finally, there is also that rare event when a builder decides to make the moment of a flipmap directly visible. Here, the author weren't afraid of applying even several subsequent of those, occuring just one by one to provide illusion of a collapsing corridor. SUMMARY: A really nice one, with proper "silence before the storm" and a slow but sure progression from real world to magical. Worth to experience that." - DJ Full (31-May-2013)
"According with the history, "in the village only live wolves". Ok. But the author could place another kind of enemies in the underground, and not only dwarves. In the village there are huge outside areas to explore, but underground gameplay is more lineal and you'll find some puzzles to solve. Near the end, in the long corridor, if you fall into the pits, you can think the level is finished, 'cause the game goes to the title screen, but you can continue to fight with the final boss. A good idea the rising blocks so you can place the artifacts quietly. It's a pain the flare bug for a level with many dark areas. Even so is worth to play." - Jose (31-May-2013)
"I hope you like wolves, because I think I killed more wolves in the first half of this level than I've killed in the previous eight Back to Basics levels I've played combined. Or, erm, maybe it's better if you don't like wolves. After reading that this level is plagued by the flare bug, I went into it with low expectations, because that really shouldn't be an issue in this day and age. The first half of this 55-minute level takes place in a small village, as Lara is trying to investigate the origin of earthquakes and does so by killing seemingly endless waves of wolves (“wolves and earthquakes - possible connection?" - Lara's diary). After that you open up a secret entrance underground and it turns out the origin of earthquakes is a gigantic snake who breathes locusts or something. It's a pretty drab level. And while I realize that this is a village that has been hit by earthquakes, there's no reason for it to look so... dull. Things don't really get much better underground, either. Textures are applied fairly well, at least, but the lighting is dark, which just gets even more annoying because of the flare bug. Switches and keyholes blend into the darkness and you can't even rely on flares to spot them. Fortunately, the level is linear, so while I'd often enter a room only to find it seemingly empty, I knew - because the level is linear - that there had to be something in there, and usually I'd eventually spot a switch or a key. Another sort-of-issue is when you pick up more than one pickup at once, which happens several times throughout the level. I spent ages looking for the laser sight only to eventually realize that I'd already picked it up - I'm guessing it was at the bottom of the chest that I thought was filled with nothing but arrows. It's a minor complaint, I guess, but it's a really sucky reason to get stuck. The puzzles are nothing special overall, but I did like the one that involved pushables and a fire floor. And while the wolves are irritating, you soon find yourself with so much ammunition for the most powerful weapons in the game that any enemy you meet in the second half of the level is dead within seconds. I'm not sure if the dwarves are supposed to be a threat or a joke, as you get explosive ammunition right before you run into them - and then they all drop explosive ammunition to boot. All that said, I don't want to sound too harsh on this level, because I have a feeling that it was made by an inexperienced author. Everything works the way it's supposed to and I've played levels that are nothing but running through empty rooms, and this is way better than that. For a possible follow-up, I'd focus on making the level look more interesting and making the gameplay more varied. And maybe fewer wolves next time." - Magnus (31-May-2013)
"Overkill is the first word that comes to my mind, when thinking about this level...and this word can be taken literally. The wolf is a pack animal and so it DOES make some sense (I'm not saying I liked it!), that Lara has to fight 17 of them in the first 3 minutes, given that she's in a village, that's only inhabited by these animals, but what about the packs of 8 dwarfs each, or the 4 witches at the end? In my opinion neither of them were needed and I would go so far as to say they destroyed the more enjoyable parts of the game, which there were plenty of. Despite being lengthy at times (I'm talking about those parts that only increase the in-game-time such as the elevator ride or shimmying at the beginning) gameplay was certainly one of the stronger aspects and consisted of a nice mixture of exploration and puzzle-solving. At the beginning it was all about finding ones bearings in the nicely designed village (especially the bent cottage stands out - a great idea!) and once underground some pushing and pulling had to be done, which was all on the easy side but pretty much fun. There were also some harder or less obvious puzzles, but they weren't obligatory and just lead to secrets. What stands out positively is the way the earthquakes, that are mentioned in the story are also in the game: Some cottages in the village are destroyed, there are deep cracks in the floor and the end got spiced up with some great flipmap-work! The looks were decent throughout, but lighting was a bit too bland and dark for my taste (the flare-bhug didn't help) and I also found some paperthin walls in the first section. Recommended!" - Soul (26-May-2013)
"I have a fairly divided opinion on this particular entry. I quite enjoyed the setting and gameplay on the overworld village, and while there definitely was an overload of wolves, it was rather entertaining. After placing the wolf heart and gaining access to the underground areas, however, I felt the environments weren't as carefully crafted -- especially concerning the dwarves hideout. While it lacks on looks, that's where gameplay lies, with maybe a few too many monkeyswings and pushblock puzzles. I liked the occasional use of fixed cameras, but thought it was rather strange to come across the flare bug, which was unfortunate as some of the later areas were a bit flat. Not necessarily dark, but dim enough that you'd want to crack a flare. 70 minutes, 2 secrets. 05/13" - Treeble (25-May-2013)
"This level starts off badly, with Lara being attacked by dozens of wolves. Even inside the village, there are packs of wolves lurking around every corner, which discourages exploration. The village itself fits the story rather nicely: the earthquakes have caused huge rifts in the earth, and there is even a bent house hanging over a chasm. Unfortunately, the huge area also suffers severe lags. Once you offer a sacrifice in the circle of monoliths, a way opens up underground.
The underground area is larger and more interesting than the village, but visually it's very bland. The lighting is mostly dark bluish-grey almost throughout, and a number of rooms are empty squares. The flare bug is present throughout the level, which makes the darkness even harder to bear. I did like the floating island section, and the octagonal room where you fight a witch. Enemies are relatively few underground: there are the titular dwarves, who do not like Lara invading their land; and there's a multi-boss fight with 4 witches and a snake-monster.
The gameplay, especially in the underground area, is strongly puzzle-based: some are interesting, like the pushable puzzle where you have to find a safe path to push or the floor starts burning; others utterly obscure, like the puzzles for two of the secrets where you need to step on only certain tiles to open a door. There's also a pushable puzzle for another secret (in the village), which is not difficult, but pointlessly long. The platforming is fun and moderately challenging, like in the red and blue rooms for the two parts of the axe. Some other tasks that I liked, were the monkeyswing maze, the triple boulder trap/puzzle, and the gauntlet of traps in the collapsing corridor.
Overall: Despite some plus points, the overall impression this level left with me was one of too much darkness, too many enemies, and a few too many obscure puzzles." - Mytly (15-May-2013)
"In less of 15/20 mins, Lara kill near 30 wolves, a bit repetitive... Next, we have 4 push puzzles (!) and they are not very exciting... In fact I only liked the last third of this level. Nice graphics in the village, but a little monotonous thereafter (secrets 2/4)." - Markus (29-Apr-2013)
"Another very good not too difficult, the scenery is well done with an original start. A more conventional medium or there are good puzzles often ingenious and finally a final beautiful bright, with a hydra to go or it is better to have reserves of life .... but it is lots of fun. Congratulations to the author" - Daffy (23-Apr-2013)
"You do get to meet a lot of dwarves in this level and even more wolves. The action is mainly quite linear and it does have logical progression which should mean not really getting stuck for too long at any point. There are some good traps and challenges along the way, with nothing too hard to achieve. The trap corridor just prior to the boss dragon ending was especially nicely thought out and a little different. It's unfortunate that the flare bug was present throughout (especially since the occasionally irritating fixed camera angle could not be viewed through the binoculars), but it's really not a dark level so for the main part that was not a problem. The boss ending will inevitably drain health a bit, but medipacks etc., are so generously supplied throughout the level that it shouldn't be a problem at all." - Jay (15-Apr-2013)
"Wolves, and wolves, and wolves... prepare to expect them at every turn; it becomes monotonous, after a time. (Even in TR1 I had not seen so many of them together.) Then... dwarves, and dwarves, and dwarves... witches, and witches, and witches... and finally... an insane fight with a dragon. Weelll... those who love fights will love this game. And more still: overall darkness, with flares that give light only when tossed to the ground, and binoculars that make the game crash if lighted; at par with that, a decided preference for sequences where the"look" key doesn't work. One thing or another, my dear author: perfect binoculars OR perfect"look", because Lara must see her path. But let's pass to the good things; the puzzles and necessary actions are simple but smart (play and see for yourself), and I loved the final sequence of traps, with the ground falling under Lara's feet, and the final climb. I also found very interesting the sequence where Lara has to run TO the rolling ball, and be careful: you can be stuck here, if you touched the other rolling balls before. This game smells of genius in development..." - Josey (14-Apr-2013)
"The start of the level felt rather dull especially because of the long shimmy session and the sheer overusage of wolves (and this is an understatement), so I thought this wouldn't be quite fun, but it actually ended as one of the better levels of this contest, because after moving "underground" it has a good amount of rather nice puzzles in it and even if some might look obscure at first there is always a logic behind them. I loved the non-typical atmosphere created very much and especially the lighting and parts of the architecture were plainly stunning. There were a bunch of misplaced textures here and there and the flare bug during the whole level was rather annoying, though flares are not that often needed, but in some situations they would be quite helpful. Despite of that, every room was used to its potential and all are filled with great gameplay. I liked the dramatic finale that starts with a challenging corridor that looks calm at first but more and more deadly traps appear, then with a brilliant shoot out/dragon finale and I liked how the builder made it possible to place the items in front of the dragon. OK the concluding climb-up session could've been a lot shorter, climbing up and up and up wasn't really fun anymore, but that's a minor gripe. Found four secrets that were well hidden, most (three) of them with a special puzzle each, and spent 1:05 hours in here. A very good level." - manarch2 (11-Apr-2013)
"Effective architecture, with a progressive development. It 's a world of fantasy, mystery and mystique. There is a room that is shocking... The gameplay is complete, inventive and never frustrating. Puzzles and secrets ( optional challenges category) are fantastic . Cons: Lag in outside areas and flare bug. In short, a great job." - requiemsoul (07-Apr-2013)
"At the start of this level lots of wolves will attack you. It got me a little annoyed! Also you cannot use flares because of flare bug! Well as the level progresses it gets more and more exciting and interesting than I expected! Another amazing BtB2013 level with beautiful atmosphere. A kind of clever challenge is waiting for you like puzzles, tasks, exploring, traps etc. Game was running a little in lags in outside areas but as I entered inside then it was all right. The ending battle was epic. Oh and very nicely hidden secrets. All in all I was never bored, I enjoyed playing this level, took me 1 hour and 30 minutes found 2/4 secrets. Great level!!! 8/9/9/9" - OverRaider (03-Apr-2013)