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Level: BtB2013 - Save the Dwarves back home search
Author(s): Eelkemama
total rating:7.07 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
Bigfoot 9 10 9 8
Casual Raider 8 6 8 9
Daffy 9 9 8 8
DJ Full 5 6 7 5
EssGee 7 7 6 7
Jay 7 8 8 8
JesseG 7 7 7 7
Jose 7 8 8 7
Josey 9 9 10 9
Magnus 3 3 3 4
manarch2 6 8 7 6
Markus 8 8 8 8
MichaelP 6 7 7 7
Mman 4 7 4 4
Mytly 6 6 6 6
OverRaider 7 8 7 7
Phil 8 9 9 9
requiemsoul 8 7 7 7
Ryan 6 7 7 6
Soul 6 8 7 7
Treeble 7 7 7 7
category averages
(21 reviews)
6.81 7.38 7.14 6.95

Reviewer's comments

"This entry seemed slightly less developed in terms of design choices. A bit of an unbalanced difficulty curve. Places where you can get completely stuck if things aren't done a certain way. That said there are some redeeming qualities like the overall story, the boulder puzzle at the end and a breaktile run. Texturing and lighting was bland in some areas. Not a favourite of mine." - Ryan (28-Jan-2016)

"Lighting here is very lacking and most areas are bathed in obvious monotone ambient light (not helped by it being on the dark side) with the occasional sourced light, it sticks out even more when stuff like lava pools giving off no light are present. Texturing is mostly competent but nothing especially standout, and stuff like terrain has little texture variety. These things make the overall atmosphere pretty lacking, although object use is okay and it's generally matched with the light level. Some of the items don't fit much, especially at the end when the Holy Grail is just lying on the floor in a room.
The gameplay is mostly okay, but between relatively simplistic stuff it throws in random "gotcha" moments that break the flow (and seem to be a hallmark of beginner-looking levels like this). If you miss certain items there's also a jump that's way harder than anything else in the level required to get back (the walkthrough does suggests you can get back the way you came in but the door doesn't open for me), and the Rock object also required me to do something twice before it appeared. The lighting also has an adverse effect, as I missed a few items as a result of the bland lighting making them blend into the floor. There is some more positive stuff I could have focused on under different circumstances, but the lack of visual stimulation resulted in me being glad when it was over (the bugs I mentioned also don't help, and are what resulted in me putting the gameplay score below average). I will say that the ending is very creative compared to the rest, but, even taking the contest time-limit into account, it needed much more work overall." - Mman (05-Aug-2015)

"An adventure that starts badly in a very dark cave with sneakily hidden entrances and openings, but then turns into a mostly pleasant linear run through functional rooms. The tasks are diverse but often very simplistic and then a bit unevenly balanced with puzzles that have very subtle clues that are easy to overlook. I thought the camera with the save hint was a great any creative idea, but its purpose was bad in that it asks you to save because if you get the puzzle wrong you have to reload - always better to find a way to get Lara killed instead (hence force a reload). The one curved run jump was rather tricky and did not fit in with the otherwise moderate to easy challenges of the game either. Overall, a solid adventure that lacks a certain touch to grab the player more, but has a nice little ending scene. (81 min, 5 of 6 secrets found)" - MichaelP (27-Jul-2013)

"And who wouldn't want to save them? Gameplay has some nice little trap sequences - shifting platforms and falling floors, and a small mirror puzzles. While there were some cute architectual ideas shown here such as the cute little farm, the level felt overall bland in looks. The texturing was wallpapered too much and the lighting is quite flat. There is also potential to get stuck: in a skeleton pit, if you drop down before the skellies awake you cannot get out, because the switch you need to press to escape is blocked by one of their bodies. It's not a deal breaker but this kind of issue in a Btb level is kind of surprising. Overall it has some cute things, but overall not as exciting in my opinion. 1 hour, 21 minutes." - SSJ6Wolf (16-Jul-2013)

"Interesting to connect the story of those dwarves I've seen earlier in some other levels and the BtB challenge. It was entertaining level, but secrets were too easy to find in my opinion and some elements didn't seem to fit in whole level as those colorful lanterns. The difficulty is average but some things can take some time. I was confused how to rate this level but well after taking it less serious it's rather nice and well-built level with author's little addition :)" - Casual Raider (09-Jul-2013)

"In this game, Lara want to help some darfs who help her before. I thinks it's an very nice story and also very originale. "OFF TOPIC ON": Even if sometimes it's not very obvious to understand some tasks of the gameplay, I don't think a "3" is justify. It's the same things for the rest with another "3" or "4". :( Some players not take account of the efforts of the builders to build a level. it's a shame. "OFF TOPIC OFF". Well, even is sometimes is maybe obvious, the author use the very good idea to use the "save" panel to prevent the players, so we can save and upload a save if we are stuck. The level is not very hard but some objects are very well hidden and I really enjoying the gliss sequence. We are also a perfect use of the many objects of the "warm" wads. A nice use of the cameras. I really enjoying the last event with the dwarfs. For me, some objects are sometimes a psychedelic style and give an originale atmosphere to the game. It's a bit pity the level is very clear, some shadows give maybe a more "mysterious" effect to the level. But the textures are very well use. Nice level by Elke and congratulation." - BigFoot (13-Jun-2013)

"A fun level - the environments are quite good, although perhaps not built with the finesse of some of the other BtoB levels, but there is still some solid game play ideas here making your stay here an enjoyable one. A tricky mirror room had me struggling to see what had to be done. My favourite part of the level was the joy of seeing the dwarves happily waddling off to freedom - so cute. Mission accomplished." - EssGee (10-Jun-2013)

"A game which good and bad sides of You could fairly easily balance scales with. On one hand, an excellent and unique idea to extract the save memory card item from the inventory, put it in a level and point a camera at it in more difficult moments, so a player knows exactly where it's advised to save. On the other hand, items just lay on the ground like if the author didn't know what to do with them and just thrown them away, so we can feel no effort (and therefore, satisfaction) while searching for them, unless we miss one or two which are unexplainably harder hidden. I liked the dog in the kennel, but the whole village it guarded is made of identically looking houses. Flat lighting doesn't help either: I think just the ambience is adjusted, what brings an overall miserable mood and sometimes even makes it difficult to see how steep a slope is, so I kept sliding down them while I would not have to if only there was some variation applied. Texturing also lacks breaking a pattern, I can only say it's correct but nothing above. SUMMARY: This is an easy game which can for sure be played by everyone, however it won't leave the sense of completion after, so it's better to play it between two other which do." - DJ Full (31-May-2013)

"Strange level with a bunch of good ideas and some original situations, but perhaps too much "convoluted" with excessive pickups and items difficult to find (I hate those small semi-transparent wall switches). Really not difficult tasks, I found five crosses, environment makes itself a bit monotonous always with brown and dark textures and I missed some more flares 'cause there are many too dark areas. Not an easy level but enjoyable anyway." - Jose (31-May-2013)

"I was four seconds into this level when I realized that it wouldn't be great. Four seconds. That's how long I got to play before I triggered the opening flyby. Just long enough to take a couple of steps. It really made wonder why the author didn't just trigger the flyby as soon as the level started, and that's the kind of sloppiness I wouldn't expect to see in a great level. There are a lot of things to wonder about in this level, actually. Like why, on two occasions, it's possible to get stuck if you don't solve a trap/puzzle in just the right way the first time around. The first time, it's a boulder trap where you need to open a trapdoor for the boulders to fall through - if they roll past the trapdoor and you haven't opened it, you're stuck forever. The second time, it's a puzzle where, if you push one of the wrong buttons, blocks will rise and you won't be able to push the right buttons. Game over. Oh, sure, the game tells you that you need to save beforehand, but what kind of sucky trap and/or puzzle have you designed if you need to warn people to save before they tackle it? A really sucky one, that's what. But the first time I got stuck (properly stuck, anyway - there had been some hidden crawlspaces and things like that before then) was when I got the torch and couldn't for the life of me figure out how to open the door that led to the pillar I needed to light. Eventually I checked the walkthrough, and it turned out I had to pick up a small medipack on the floor in that room for the door to open. I should probably point out that at that point, I already had nine medipacks and a ton of musket ammunition. Nine medipacks and a ton of musket ammunition that I didn't even need, because other than a few birds, the only other enemy comes right at the end, and it's one of those enemies that can't hit you if you if you duck close to them. (Correction: there is also a wolf.) So that's something to ponder, too. But in the end it was a good thing that I checked the walkthrough, because apparently I'd missed a bag of runes in a room where I thought I'd already found everything I needed, as well as the waterskin, which was hidden behind a bed in another room. Considering how much time I spent running around everywhere before I checked the walkthrough, I'd missed quite a lot. Another thing I needed the walkthrough for was when I couldn't figure out how to get to a key that was on the floor behind what looked like glass but may have been ice. Turns out I had to press Ctrl in front of the glass/ice, which caused Lara to stick her hand straight through it (way above the key, I might add), which somehow made the key magically appear in her backpack. Truly awesome game design. But my favorite thing about this level is easily the author's obsession with using every single key item in the wad. Sometimes this leads to spending ages wandering around looking for them - because there are just so many - while other times, you enter a room and see that you need four-five key items and think it's going to take forever to find all of them, but then the puzzles to get them are so simple that it's all over in a few minutes. Like when you have to burn a rope to drop a boulder and there's a torch right next to it and a fire on the other side of the room. You really do get the feeling that the author really wanted to use as many different objects as possible. The obsession with key items also makes for some truly baffling decisions, like when you need both a frozen flame and a golden apple to open a door. You spend forever searching for the frozen flame - probably about half the level is spent searching for it - and then the golden apple just appears close to where you need to use it after you've picked up the frozen flame. The same thing happens when you pick up the empty bag and the rocks appear in a corner on the other side of the room, except they only appeared some of the time for me, so that's another place where you can get stuck forever. Stuck forever in a level that doesn't even look all that good. It's a very basic-looking level with pretty awful lighting, but at least the texturing is decent. I did kind of like the ending, though, when all the little dwarves were scampering off into the sunset. In the end, this was fifty-five minutes of frustration. I wish I could go back to the blissful ignorance of the first four seconds." - Magnus (31-May-2013)

"I am sorry to say that this is my least favourite level in BtB2013. The gameplay is a weird mixture of extremely easy and pointlessly tough - some items like the axe pieces just lying about on the ground being an example of the former, and an extremely difficult curved jump for a Celtic knot being an example of the latter. Some of the gameplay elements might have been clever if they had been used consistently. For instance, for the element puzzle, the item you have to use in each bowl is indicated by the item shown behind each bowl beyond a glass wall. These items are not accessible, they just show you where everything goes. But in another room, there is a key beyond a glass wall - and you have to get that key, that too by reaching through (!) the glass wall. It's both inconsistent and illogical. There are some good ideas, of course, such as the switching platforms rooms, the mirror puzzle, the puzzle involving raising the water level by dropping boulders in it, and the hints suggesting you save before certain crucial moments. The end is nice too - it's always good to see Lara doing something positive for a change!
The looks are pretty bland: except for some unnecessarily dark caves at the beginning, the lighting is mostly a flat grey throughout, with a few strangely coloured spots like a bright green floor in a couple of rooms. There are hardly any enemies, which is fine with me. I liked that you have to run away from the tree-men, instead to fighting them - but the switch that enables you to escape is nearly impossible to see. The music is the same old godawful Arctic sea track almost throughout the level.
Overall: While it contains some good ideas, on the whole this level is not very impressive either gameplay-wise or visually." - Mytly (30-May-2013)

"I had a good time playing in this level, the gameplay is generally pretty easy, this level still demand a little research with objects not always easy to find. The decor and lighting could be a little better, this said, it has not messed me the pleasure of playing and that is the main thing. Congratulations to the manufacturer." - Daffy (14-May-2013)

"Halfway into this level I was prepared to name it my favorite to date in the BtB competition. It had everything I look for in a level - well-crafted and scenic environs, ample lighting for the player's enjoyment of the visual amenities, and challenging but progressive gameplay. And then I found myself obliged to use the flycheat to get the second Celtic Knot, which put me in a sour mood from that point on. (Yes, I know a savegame was provided with Dutchy's walkthrough, but what's the difference?) The good news is that after an opening spate of dark, dismal and colorless levels, the last two BtB offerings have been much more player-friendly in the ambiance department. Hopefully a corner has been turned. We'll see, as the most highly-rated levels are still to come. One of the unexpected delights here was the appearance of skeletons reconstructed to look like tree men lifted right out of The Wizard of Oz (even though you're forced to flee and not fight when you encounter them). I'm surprised no one else has used them to this point. The sequence in that quaint little village was another highlight of the level. Had it not been for that later unfair jump to an essential pickup, my scores would be even higher." - Phil (13-May-2013)

"With the sole exception for the nice ending, the whole adventure felt like a standard romp we were used to a few years back. There were a lot of nice ideas thrown in here, but executed in ways that could be improved easily with just the slightest tweaks here and there (the mirror room for example, when you finally leave it you see your reflection running through a wall). I also felt there was a bit of an overuse of items magically appearing in the map -- and also ran into the glitch where the rocks wouldn't appear at first. Hopping across the flipmap catwalks and stepping on the trigger a second time worked though. One last complaint, there are many places you can't return from and have to resort to prior saves. This kind of hinders exploration as you might not be going where the author wants you to at some point and have no clue until you've spent a few minutes trying to make sense of what to do next. Gameplaywise, plenty of collectibles but generally very straightforward. 65 minutes, 5 secrets. 04/13" - Treeble (05-May-2013)

"I was afraid by the beginning in the dark (too dark) caves, but finally I had a good time with this level, nice variety of gameplay and good use of traps. One small error, if we miss the crowbar (and it's easy to miss it), the backtrack is not possible... (secrets 6/6)." - Markus (30-Apr-2013)

"A nice, entertaining little adventure, with many, many good things. All items necessary are immediately available without roundabout, complicated actions, but sometimes are very well hidden, too. I failed to see one crystal button, for example, and found another by pure luck. Similarly, I passed by the hiding place of the bag of runes, and had to look for it in the walkthrough. But I simply loved certain treats of the author: putting icons behind the bowls to indicate what item should go in each one (water, leaves or runes); making the musket available, by a clever way, just after Lara found the laser sight; deactivating the spikes of a passage, when Lara succeeds to traverse them; and providing a creative and easy way by which Lara can know, observing a rolling ball, just when a collapsing platform will collapse. Very nice! Yes, the author is certainly a kindly soul... There are plenty of hints and indications at every step, and the game flows very nicely if the player looks carefully everywhere. There are no backtracks; and I would praise, also, that deceptive way of picking up a yellow circles key. Yes , I liked very much this smart and creative game with a lovely end, even if it had a nasty curved jump that I could not manage. Congratulations, and thanks!" - Josey (17-Apr-2013)

"Level in which is nothing as easy as it seems for the first sight. Well nothing is too difficult and it`s still very enjoyable with some really entertaining tasks, puzzles and ideas. Secrets were rather easy but still nice. The mirror room was really nice! I spent 1 hour and 14 minutes in this level and I enjoyed it. Lighting in my opinion could have been better, also I didn`t like some of the background sound choise, but it is still solid atmospheric raid. The two rolling balls with two levers could have been thought out better (for example Lara should die if it doesn`t success instead of manual reloading), also no hints for some lever puzzle, and lack of challenge. Overall enjoyable level. Recommended! 7/8/7/7" - OverRaider (16-Apr-2013)

"Anyone who has thus far found the competition entries a little too challenging might really want to take a look at this one as, for the most part, the difficulty level is rather more gentle and readily achievable, the only exception being one rather fiendish jump. There's still plenty of variety however, with some nice puzzles and occasionally rather good misdirection/ hidden elements. The dwarves only show up at the end cut scene, by which time I'd quite forgotten that was Lara's mission. Enjoyable." - Jay (15-Apr-2013)

"I had a good time here. Recommended in terms of gameplay with a kind of enjoyable tasks. Could have been a little more work to create a more intense and beautifull atmosphere." - requiemsoul (07-Apr-2013)

"This hour long level may rank among the lower rated levels this year, but it's still fun to play. The architecture is rather basic and simplistic, textures partially wallpapered and lighting bland, but this level still keeps its charm and mostly because of the nice object design; especially the rescue was a great moment at the end but there were other highlights, e.g. some boulders being released to raise the water level and the savegame icons shown in camera shots to warn the player to save before moving on. I also liked the little village which was more solid in its design, but partially this level is overloaded with objects so that even a newer computer like mine lagged quite a bit. Gameplay is based around finding items, and dozens of items, often well hidden so you might be lost quite often. The amount of puzzles is comparatively low but those which can be found here even if rather easy were somewhat "different" and also fun, with the exception of a six-button puzzle with no hint at all and also a slightly misleading boulder puzzle, which apparently can't be resetted when done wrongly (and the wrong solution is far more obvious than the right). All in all not exactly my favourite until now but the fact this is still a solid level shows how good the contest levels are." - manarch2 (04-Apr-2013)

"I'm not quite sure what to think about this level. There were some great elements and I liked a good portion of it but it all seemed more like a collection of rooms to me and lacked the certain sense that explained what Lara was doing. I'm not one to demand storytelling, but I DO like it if there is some kind of red thread. According to the story Lara had to rescue some dwarfs but they weren't shown until the very end of this 1,5-2 hour long adventure and until then we passed rooms after rooms, solved some puzzles and collected tons of pickups, which were used shortly after. I did like the mirror room (great way of hiding the important pickup!) and thought that the puzzles were pretty enjoyable (albeit easy) but all the possible dead-ends and items that appeared out of nowhere, once the author thought it's the "right time" for Lara to collect them, smallered my enjoyment again. In terms of design the level wasn't bad and to also name something positive I really liked the "special" object usage (animals were mostly friendly and a torchholder served as a vase :D ) - lighting was a bit bland though and I think some more variety in textures would have been nice." - Soul (03-Apr-2013)
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