Map Review of mountain

by dunkelschwamm | February 18, 2022 | 5677 characters

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Mountain is a platforming-centric map wherein players climb a mountain, navigate tiny cliff edges, move through vent hell, and fight in a xen arena. Some of it is somewhat effective and charming in a beginner's fashion (this is, apparently, the first map by its author, SV BOY) though most of it is the kind of "challenging" that reminds me a bit of troll games of the '00s and the '10s. This isn't an attitude that is novel in Sven maps, as troll-ish nature is prevalent especially in platforming maps, it's just something to be aware of.

The player ascends a very block-shaped mountain via tiny ledges which permeate its sides. Some ledges crumble beneath you, sending you to a certain grave unless you've played before, ensuring that at some points at least one person will have to repeat parts of the map as punishment for a trap they were given no chance to foresee. Sometimes aliens spawn, especially alien controllers and alien grunts, and it feels very uncomfortable and restrictive on the tiny ledges. Most firefights ended up with me tanking hits because it felt like it was safer to just deal damage until I was eventually killed by the aliens than to make any attempt to make defensive maneuvers. Some jumps are quite a distance, there's jumps that require mid-air corner navigation, there's janky goldsrc ladders which catapult you if you're accidentally laying a single hair on them when you press the jump button. Most of the platforming isn't terribly frustrating, but since most of it is "meh" at best the frustrating bits really stick out. I feel like this map is made with the design philosophy of a Kaizo Mario game, but goldsrc platforming just doesn't support what it's trying to do. How awkward and silly every jump is accentuates that the engine is not meant to make these kinds of challenges fun, but the map is soldiering on and doing it anyway out of tenacity rather than any insight on how to force it to work well.

The Mario philosophy is felt additionally in a dark room full of vents which gave me the vibe of the pipe world from Super Mario Bros 3. Unlike SMB3, this chamber was so annoying to reach and navigate from within that I ended up noclipping through it. The room was entirely pitch dark, it had death falls and convoluted platforming within. I usually save noclipping for maps I otherwise wouldn't finish, like robootto maps. You can take that as a sign that I could not possibly weather the challenge like a man. In my opinion, it's a sign that the map failed to make me care enough about it to beat it on its own terms when that's a basic respect I give every map on the outset. That's a respect that has to be lost over the course of a map, and the few annoying bits were enough to eventually do that.

We slogged through the rest and fought the boss, a kingpin, in a totally unrelated Xen arena through a portal. This bit is fine, though the shortcut from spawn to the portal to the fight necessitates roughly 13-14 points of fall damage, which is an unnecessary inconvenience when players probably want to focus on getting into the battle to contribute.

There's two shortcuts throughout the map which open up. I think it could have used one more before the current first one, and for the current first one to be moved after one of the present jumps. What's there is appreciated- we would have resorted to noclipping far sooner if they weren't there.

There's a locked ammo storage near spawn with a shotgun and a bunch of tripmines that requires a code to open. Inputting the code is a pain in the ass because it's a bunch of buttons really close together in a goldsrc game. Frankly the munitions barely felt worth it, though it did provide some HEV which was invaluable in combat.

The visuals of the mapping itself is kind of subpar. The textures are nonevocative, the "mountain" is a giant box, many environments feel scrambled and strange in ways that feel less like dadaist surrealism and more like just ugly mismatched clown textures. There's occasional droning ambient noise which makes the map feel like a weird chunk of hell. It wasn't a feeling or tone that endeared me to the map- it just made me feel kind of feverish.

Overall, I think Mountain is fine for a first map, but not a map I really want to play. If you're looking for filler for a server with platforming maps or troll maps, I think this would be a worthy enough addition. If you're playing with a bunch of friends and are likely to laugh your ass off at watching your buddies fall to their deaths 100 times over without getting sick of it then you might want to try this map.


  • Plenty of the platforming isn't horribly offensive.
  • There were some conveniently placed scientists and one saved my life with CPR. This saved me from being really upset with the map at one point.
  • There's some checkpoint shortcuts, which is a huge ask sometimes in Sven maps


  • Map itself isn't very nice to look at or be inside of
  • The parts of the platforming which suck are the ones that really stand out and leave a lasting impression
  • The provided weapons don't feel appropriate for the challenges given
  • Most of progress felt slow and was a chore to play
  • Some of the map's design just feels thoughtless at times, like a teleporter which necessitates fall damage, or outright trolls such as with collapsing platforms and murderous soda machines
Score: 4.4 / 10
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