Map Review of braindrain

Map review of Braindrain

by dunkelschwamm | April 16, 2023 | 2828 characters

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Braindrain is a platforming puzzle map that pulls some intelligent tricks, some bullshit tricks, and does so with eye-blasting visuals and some fun audio.

First of all, the texturework is great. There's a good number of visual effects that go on in this map, some of which I rarely see (like distorted perspective stretching in a hallway) and the fun looks carry the map. Between every puzzle is a cute little interesting area, and each area is interesting in itself.

There are some really fun puzzles. The map begins with a grid you must fall through, but only certain squares allow falling through- but the player has a desert eagle and may use the laser to spot holes! Lots of funny tricks like that. Another room places us in a flaming maze to the tune of Disco Inferno. One of my favorites was a platforming room with invisible modes of forward progression signposted with eyes.

By the end this map is pretty tiring though. There's a horrid platforming segment that even the slightest bit of latency will ruin, where players must jump from circular platform to circular platform in a pattern impressionistically representing the solar system. Getting from one platform to the next without falling into the reset is a pain in the ass, but getting across the several to solve the puzzle is a nasty ask. Then the final puzzle is just a massive chamber with tripmines presented with a "here, good luck reaching the top" attitude. I'm sure somebody could point out to me what impressive ideas were nested into the presentation here that didn't make it as lazy as throwing the players in a silo with tripmines and being told to make their own way out, but that's how it played for me.

Overall, I think this is a really interesting map with a lot of experimental ideas presented very well, but unfortunately marred by their linear progression tracking through some truly gatekeeping segments. If you're looking to play with friends, maybe be prepared to flip on cheats to noclip through a couple needlessly tedious bits. If you're playing on a public server, maybe enough players can trivialize these issues.


  • The thoughtful puzzles, like the eyeballs, or the beginning grid, or the satchel charge basket ball
  • Really trippy visual and audio style that leaves a striking impression on players
  • Checkpoints
  • Great presentation in transitional areas


  • The less thoughtful puzzles, like the tripmine staircase, or the planet platforming, kneecap my ability to recommend the map
  • Sometimes the visuals were a bit tiring
Score: 6.9 / 10
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