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Cold Friends by O-eight

Angel_K 10 10 10 10
Bigfoot 10 10 10 10
Chel 8 7 7 6
DJ Full 8 9 8 8
Jay 8 7 7 7
JesseG 5 5 4 4
Jorge22 9 9 9 7
Jose 5 5 7 7
manarch2 5 6 5 5
Mehrbod 7 7 6 6
nerdfury 7 7 5 4
Nomad 8 6 8 7
Phil 7 7 8 7
Ryan 8 7 7 7
The Snarky Lesbian 9 6 7 7
release date: 30-Jan-2020
# of downloads: 147

average rating: 7.20
review count: 15
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file size: 55.30 MB
file type: TR4
class: Cold/Snowy

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Reviewer's comments
"Very elaborate, slow platforming prologue and epilogue feel like watching anime but the plot is nicely chaptered and keeps suspense. The core of the game is short with the "monastery" rather being a refurbished guardian tower, and resolves quickly even with pushblocks involved. All sums up into a very glitchy but also fun level worth a try." - DJ Full (17-Nov-2023)
"This level is a very nice discovery. The adventure makes us discover Lara back in Tibet to find a relic before Bartoli's henchmen. I found this level very well built and the architecture sometimes reminds us the Tibetan levels of Tomb Raider 2. The game is linear and not too hard with lots of climbing and a great snowmobile sequence throughout the whole level. I also really liked that we have to leave the snowmobile at some point in the level to pick it up later to complete the game. So to conclude it's a very nice stroll with Lara in Tibet for those who are the nostalgy of the old Tomb Raider 2 Tibet levels. I can only recommend this little adventure for everyone." - Bigfoot (21-Feb-2022)
"(7) Gameplay & Puzzles
The builder has a really cool concept here -- an initial snowmobile ride, parkour across some TR2 style cliffs using some new moves, discover a Monastery, ransack the Monastery while pissing off 2 monks if you happen to flip a switch in the basement, perform some more parkour in the dark caverns beneath the Monastery, then finally reunite with your snowmobile and crash it through the Monastery 2nd floor like a cheesy action movie. Although I enjoyed most of the gameplay, I would have liked to have seen less crawlspaces towards the end of the level, more traps (with more challenge), and a puzzle aside from a standard pushblock puzzle.

(7) Enemies,Objects & Secrets
I enjoyed the selection of enemies and the builder's use of decorative objects in and around the Monastery. Natural environments away from the Monastery needed more decorative objects, however. I thought it was hilarious that the builder added a washing machine to the Monastery kitchen, and that there was also a pair of eyes watching the Monastery toilet (a subtle but cheeky touch). A few gripes about enemies, though: the raptor cave had way too many enemies; the baddies at the end of Lara's 2nd snowmobile ride just stood there to be mowed over, without shooting Lara; and when fighting the T-rex, you can just shoot it from the narrow corridor and not enter the large cavern.

(5) Atmosphere, Sound & Cameras
Aside from the overall boxy-ness of many natural environments (e.g. the T-rex cave), I think the builder did an OK job of creating a TR2 Tibetan atmosphere. Watch out for the various clipping/end-of-the-world issues, though, and the graphical glitches around the Monastery walls. With regards to constructing beautiful natural environments, AgentXP has a helpful and educational video on Youtube called "Rocks, Caves and Cliffs". The "caw" sound everytime I would press ESC in the inventory, or interact with a save slot, was annoying, and I noticed that more player-guidance cameras were used in the first half of the level compared to the second half. Overall, more guidance cameras would help; perhaps a flyby when the player first approaches the Monastery, to whet their appetite regarding the journey ahead?

(4) Lighting & Textures
Take your time with texturing care, as I noticed many warped textures, wallpapered areas, and unnatural transitions from one texture to another (e.g. from a standard rock texture to a monkey-swing texture). Again, AgentXP has helpful Youtube videos on texturing as well as blending textures when transitioning from one surface to another. The first climbing/platforming section, prior to finding the Monastery, was brightly-lit, and it didn't bother me too much that the lighting was flat, as you may have been going for a TR2 aesthetic. However, after leaving the Monastery and entering the caverns below, the environments are way too dark. What if the player had missed a flare pickup? The one next to the bed in the Monastery may have been missed. What is the player supposed to do then, crank up their monitor brightness and hope for the best?

In sum, the builder has some great gameplay ideas which were hampered by a lack of aesthetic polish. Despite the crude environments, I enjoyed the brightly-lit climbing and platforming sequences in the first section of the game, as well as the monastery exploration section. The final, dark climbing section was super frustrating. I hope my feedback and suggestions above were constructive to the builder; solid gameplay needs a polished environment to support it, and on the flip side, a polished environment needs solid gameplay to support it. You've got the gameplay part nailed -- by developing your environment construction skills and having people playtest your game prior to public release, you've got the workings of a quality future project. 7/7/5/4." - nerdfury (16-Oct-2020)
"Much to say about this one. It is an interesting level with many good points and wrong decisions/issues. The general gameplay of exploration, mountain climbing and platforming are definite solid sides of the level. It feels very realistic and entertaining, to look for cracks, ledges, and climbable rocks so you can work your way towards your objective. And the moment when you arrive back at your snowmobile feels very cool. The downsides are though, there is not much to do besides this. The game has no puzzles, the only additions to its platforming is pulling levers and finding keys, and some fighting. Which is another issue because the mercenaries just stand there if you don't shoot first (so you may not attack them), but you have to shoot them because one of them holds a key. The area outside the monastery is very buggy, flickering and disappearing textures are abound. And generally the level is very empty. In spite of all these issues, it is entertaining and I recommend it. It feels true to the tomb raider spirit of exploration and discovering artifacts in remote locations." - Nomad (29-Aug-2020)
"It must really be hard to construct varied gameplay these days. A raid concentrating on a single element (platforming) can never be a good one for me, and when it is done as excessively as here, even less so. More than two thirds of the time is spent on shimmying, crawling, climbing. At least there a few more interesting parts where you have to carefully plan your next step (also using new moves) and of course the snowmobile ride (nicely split in two parts), as well as the overall progression that nicely maneuvers the player through the areas and appears to be quite senseful. Still this level is not overly enjoyable because of the aforementioned things. The visuals are so-so, in that there are many wallpapered/stretched bits with unrealistic architecture, often flat lighting and textures flipping in and out of existence, but still the builder uses a wide mix TR 2 textures in creative ways. Enemies are placed well actually but the soldiers didn't even attack Lara at the end; the three secrets are decently hidden. There is some raw potential visible and I hope to see more from the builder soon. Spent 45 minutes in here." - manarch2 (28-Mar-2020)
"First of all, I strongly advise the kind readers of this review to READ THE README FILE first. This game requires you to perform several new moves via key combinations, and you need that file to progress through the adventure. So, getting back to the main point, I enjoyed this TR4 TR2- Snow-Barkhang style game, simply because of simplicity... The gameplay was pretty straightforward and enjoyable for a TR2 lover. If you are a traditionalist, please give this one a go. Although I believe it could turn out to be a way nicer setup, it was fun to try it at least for once. Thanks a lot!" - Mehrbod (28-Mar-2020)
"Here we have a few goons to shoot, a motorbike to take over some jumps, and a lot of climbing in caves - a little too much climbing, in my opinion, and I would have preferred more variety in gameplay to take a break from it. More care should be taken around the construction of the rooms, which are built too tall and cause many textures to be stretched. The portals between the outdoor rooms must have not been put together properly, because the world is constantly flicking in and out around Lara. The texturing is usually wallpapered and there is a bit too much darkness. I liked the combat and the bike sections, but the level needs to be crafted more carefully before I can recommend it to other players. 53 minutes." - JesseG (20-Mar-2020)
"a very nice TR2 adventure, I wanted to play a classic level with some nice features, and I was very happy to find this level. For a first effort, this is really amazing ! I really enjoyed the platform and the exploration. Really nice Work Max !" - Angel_K (10-Mar-2020)
"Not very entertaining this level; too many shimmies, too many crawlspaces, too many ladders, too many monkeyswings... The enemies are not well balanced too; too many enemies in a single room and no enemies in many rooms. The architecture is good, but the last part of the level is too dark and I had to play with flare in hand all the time. The best, the ride with the snowmobile and the texturization, but as I said, a level too laborious with too many gymnastics and poor puzzles." - Jose (02-Mar-2020)
"It's a shame that this first effort was rather overshadowed by a couple of aggravating bits, because the potential and personality of the builder undoubtedly shines through in the more enjoyable sections. The brief snowmobile rides, the location of the three secret dragons, the exploration in and around the monastery and utilising Lara's ledge jump manoeuvres all indicate that the builder has a knack for well thought out gameplay. What spoilt it a bit were the overly long corridor/crawlspace sections, the somewhat oppressive gloom in the indoor parts and the fact that the scenery kept blacking out in certain parts of the level and it was especially apparent in the monastery area where some serious glitches with the textures were occurring. To this end, a little more beta testing wouldn't have gone amiss and these problems would have been flagged up and (hopefully) addressed. Overall, a mostly pleasant experience, but with quite a few longeurs that drag the experience down a bit." - Ryan (17-Feb-2020)
"This isn't a perfect level when you look at all the ups and downs and turn arounds that you have to take, the way the horizon keeps disappearing right in front of your eyes and the tiny little keys, for instance, that you'll easily miss unless you know they have to be somewhere. On the other hand, I really loved the brightness of most of the level and the final riding over all those baddies when you get your forgotten motorcycle back and, looking back at the whole thing, it seems quite cleverly made. I haven't found any secret but so be it: secrets for the really clever. Speaking of which, what did the lever on the monastery/house's basement did except for closing the front doors and making a couple of monks quite angry? After weighing the pros and the cons, if this is an attempt at recapturing some of what we got in TR2, I must say the cons don't look that bad and I actually enjoyed it. Even shooting down the white owls doesn't look so bad anymore. Good efort then. I liked it." - Jorge22 (17-Feb-2020)
"I rarely editorialize when writing walkthroughs for custom levels, but I got so sick of the interminable tunnels, crawl spaces and shimmying exercises toward the end of this raid that I found myself unable to hold back. However, for a debut effort this is well done, and I want to give credit where credit is due. The gameplay at the beginning of the level is varied and fun, but as the raid wears on it becomes distressingly dark and monotonous. I gave myself unlimited flares fairly early on, as I didn't trust the builder to provide an adequate supply as things became progressively darker. And I was right. The "new moves" such as ledge jumping and transferring Lara to the other side of climbing surfaces are used quite frequently, maybe to excess, but I welcomed anything to break the boredom of yet more tunnels and crawl spaces. Hopefully O-eight's next release will be more player friendly." - Phil (16-Feb-2020)
"Love the snowy owls, but it seemed such a shame to shoot them; it felt like murdering Hedwig. Quite early on in the game, there’s a glimpse of the monastery Lara is trying to reach, but before that there’s a lot of clambering about in caves, making good use of the new moves, before she can get there. The monastery section was enjoyable although the way the outside scenery kept coming and going was disconcerting to put it mildly. Finally, after more cave exploration, Lara reunites with the snowmobile that I had by that time completely forgotten about, to make a stylish and somewhat bloodthirsty exit (well, own up, who doesn’t enjoy running over the baddies?). My one niggle - I’m not at all sure why the builder elected to use the raptor shriek to accompany the save/load slots, but I’d really urge him (or her) not to do it again. Otherwise, nice level!" - Jay (06-Feb-2020)
"This is actually pretty good considering that it is a first level. The builder definitely has a ton of potential and I hope that they continue building and getting better. There are some really nice touches here with regards to gameplay and I was very impressed by the structure of the level's meandering path around the house and the crevasse. The finale with the snowmobile was very, very cleverly done. Nice! My gripe with regards to the overall progression is that the pacing is very uneven and unfortunately can drag in more than a few spots. Lots and lots of caves to navigate, though the path is well done and makes creative use of Lara's new abilities. The house is nicely put together and I enjoyed the time spent there. Good usage of a variety of old and new textures that flows very well. My biggest issue with the level is the see-through and flickering textures. There are too many paper-thin walls throughout and it is quite disorienting to navigate. The exterior of the house was where the issue was the worst. I was able to look clear through it down to the sub-level. The sheer scope of the rock faces also resulted in the dreaded wallpaper effect in several places, most noticeably in the crevasse. Enemy AI was a bit wonky at the end. The baddies didn't even try to move out of the way or attack Lara. Combat was sparse, and on the occasions when Lara is jumped by anything larger than a spider the odds are not in her favor. It results in some crazy moments for sure. I appreciated the inclusion of a boss encounter and am now thoroughly suspicious of all creepy phosphorescent-green lights. My bird-loving self was very sad to dispatch the cute little snow owls. Their soft hoots and calls were totally adorable. :( I was able to find only the gold dragon secret. Overall I enjoyed the romp around the glacier and consider it an afternoon well spent. Looking forward to your next level, O-eight!" - Chel (02-Feb-2020)
"So ActionTurnip and me actually blind raced this level on our respective streams, and I think we came to pretty similar conclusions about the quality of this level. We would agree, that this levels was fairly fun, with some nice vistas but a few problems here and there that could take an extra bit of polish, but overall quite enjoyable.
So let’s start with the aforementioned issues. There are specifically 3, 2 big ones and 1 minor one. The first glaring issue is the texture flickering. There are a few places in this level in which the walls of a given area are so small that the accompanying textures start to flicker, even worse though in the big structure that features prominently within this level, where it gets so bad that you can look into the house and even into the entire basement without even trying. You can ignore it, but it’s a fairly glaring issue. Then second big problem is the enemy AI, specifically that of the shooting baddies that are fairly frequent in this level. Early on they seem okay, although somewhat easy to defeat, later on their AI glitches out completely to the point of not even attacking the player. These two areas are in much need of some extra polish. The third, and more minor problem in this level, is the pacing. It can’t make up it’s mind about how it wants to be structured. It starts fairly boring with a snowmobile section and general rock climbing, into fast paced action and moment to moment interior building puzzles, then back into caves and back again into the action, and then ends on a solid 20 minutes of more slow burning climbing through dark caves with no enemies in sight. But for a first level it is okay. Speaking of what is lovely about it, is the overall structure outside of the pacing. You get a good feeling of actually making your way through a glacier, through an enemy checkpoint, down to a treasure and back through a giant crevasse, the level actually looping within itself multiple times, which made both Turnip and me shout out “OMG I’ve been here before, but on a different level” multiple times. That is great design, especially when it comes to the ending loop which I think is absolutely amazing and quite a nice surprise. The pickup to action ratio is fine, although I will say that it is slightly diminished in that the biggest action challenges are at the start before you get any new weapons, are often easier than they might seem at first due to the bad enemy AI, and are not even needed because the final boss fight (it having one at all is a plus in my book) happens in an arena with a safe spot directly at the start. It still works on a pacing level though. Lastly what I liked quite a bit about the level, was the art usage. It combines textures from the Great Wall, Xian Temple, Foothills and Barkhang Monastery all in one, and each of them to great effect. So artistically speaking, the TR2 textures were very well used.
In essence, I would definitely recommend that people enjoying a bit of action an alpine climbing try out this level. If you are among the people really in love with complex riddles however, then you will not find that here.
Action Score: 7, Puzzle Score: 3, Gameplay Flow: 6, Artistic Score: 8" - The Snarky Lesbian (31-Jan-2020)