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Level: BtB2013 - Summertime Sadness back home search
Author(s): Bigfoot
total rating:9.23 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
Adriel 9 10 10 9
Andzia9 10 10 10 10
Casual Raider 9 8 10 9
cho7 10 10 10 10
Christian 8 8 8 9
Daffy 10 10 10 10
DJ Full 9 8 10 9
EssGee 8 9 10 9
Jay 8 9 10 10
JesseG 9 9 9 10
Jose 8 8 9 10
Josey 10 9 10 10
m.julien 10 10 10 10
Magnus 9 8 9 9
manarch2 9 8 10 9
Markus 9 8 9 10
MichaelP 9 8 10 10
Minaru 10 9 8 9
Mman 8 9 9 9
Mytly 9 8 10 10
OverRaider 9 8 10 10
Phil 10 9 10 9
requiemsoul 8 9 9 9
Ryan 9 9 10 9
Soul 8 9 10 9
Treeble 9 9 10 10
category averages
(26 reviews)
9.00 8.81 9.62 9.50

Reviewer's comments

"An excellent entry in the competition. Great gameplay, atmosphere, lighting, sound and textures. My favourite so far. Only one enemy." - Ryan (27-Jan-2016)

"Despite the somewhat surreal cave setting in the second half there's an nice sense of realism throughout this map; the buildings have a believable use of objects and textures, and there's some creative visuals like moss textures used to make a swampy area. It feels a little on the white side lighting-wise at times, and some areas aren't as interesting looking, but there's a decent quality level throughout, and a consistent use of water to add depth to areas. That water does have an unfortunate impact on gameplay at times, as you spend a lot of the first section wading through it to use a torch, and it gets to the point where it starts to feel like filler, but thankfully the pacing picks up at the cave and it mostly keeps the momentum going from there. The secrets are a little odd as there's one very obvious secret and that's it; it felt like a bit more could be done in that regard. A good map with some interesting uses of the theme, though it takes a little to hit it's stride." - Mman (01-Aug-2015)

"Totally enjoyed this level (that curiously has the same name as the one of my favorite songs). Anyway I didn't find too many problems here. Textures were well applied except for some that I thought that lara could go through but actually she couldn't(because of toogle opacity) in a a cave under that huge area(the biggest of the game). In a general aspect: the whole level was okay. The gameplay was creative and I didn't have too many difficulties to figure out everything alone. I thought the level was endless at some point when I was playing. It was huge and that was a good thing, but having this feeling somehow made a impression that the gameplay experience could be improved with funnier aspects. Anyway congrats to the author for the level, I liked it very much." - Adriel (17-Jul-2014)

"There is a big variety of tasks to do in this level, and they sure are entertaining. The landscapes are so enormus and amazingly beautiful I sometimes forgot where I was. The house was pretty well built and it gave an alternative view from the flooded forest outside. Same with the catacombs. Some of the objects to find were certainly well hidden. Nevertheless it was a little too much for the last three switches, the were almost impossible to see. To sum up I recommend it to everyone." - Minaru (29-Aug-2013)

"Only the second level I have played, but certainly one of the contenders for a top spot in this year's BtB. The whole architecture and looks is breathtaking with lavish greenery and beautiful huge caves to explore. Flybys are used to great effect and gameplay flows quite smoothly without ever being too hard or frustrating. There are a few timed tasks, but all quite manageable within a few attempts. The torch is cleverly used for a series of tasks and later you get well designed use of a heavy sack and a waterskin to open up the level further. I found the mirror room to be almost too sneaky and the level did fall a little short with only 1 rather simple secret and almost no use of enemies at all, but you do get a fair share of traps to navigate in the later part. One thing I did not like is the use of windows that really looked as if you could walk right through them. Again, a great level overall and likely one of the best in this year's competition. (98 mins, 1 secret)" - MichaelP (27-Jul-2013)

"This, folks, is a real contender. Lara starts in a barn and ends in a world of beauty. A nice triad of objects, textures and lighting makes for very natural-feeling environments. Of course the slight drawback is all that viney green can make it hard to see sometimes, like the cameraman was drowning in foliage. The environments are huge and lush, but not so complex that I got lost in them too much. With large level structure comes some extra backtracking, but I was very thankful for those helpful camera hints to remind me where I saw the receptacle for the next thing that I finally found. There were plenty of decent trap sequences and timed runs to liven it up as well. 1 hour, 54 minutes." - SSJ6Wolf (16-Jul-2013)

"The main cave of the level is huge and it's easy to get lost but it adds only to the atmosphere of gameplay. Textures and objects are really well placed and the level is really nice to look at. Puzzles are interesting but sometimes I got lost not knowing what the lever did. Exploring is the main advantage of this level as there is almost no enemies. Loved the idea of Stonehenge portal :)" - Casual Raider (09-Jul-2013)

"What a nice level! After a somewhat slow start, lara comes in a beautiful cave where every detail is set. Very few enemies, I just remember the big but not very difficult to overcome. Beautiful level. I loved it!" - cho7 (21-Jun-2013)

"After consulting the story, it was strongly obvious this level was built by a french competitor. The scene takes place in a huge cavern "hidden" somewhere in Brittany. Lush vegetation and good use of grass textures on the surface of the water. Probably the best atmosphere of all btb levels, congratulation for this awesome work! not very hard traps and challenges. The author has chosen to focus on exploration. Some good timed runs and hidden switch, no ennemies (except a troll) intended by the author to enhance the effect of sollitude. Soothing and highly recommended level. This level deserves its ranking. 1 secret found - 10/10/10/10" - m.julien (16-Jun-2013)

"A grand level - expansive and interesting landscape. Excellent usage of plants and partial plant textures creates a very rich environment. The only problem is that the main hub area is so huge that one can easily lose your orientation as to where to go next. I love the structure of the big cabin and rock 'face'. I feel that if the builder had guided the player better from task to task, then the overall experience could have been more immersive." - EssGee (10-Jun-2013)

"Impressive level. The first areas were entertaining, but when you reach the super-enormous cave area the game turn very complex 'cause there are many huge areas to explore and it's easy you miss something. A lot of vegetation everywhere, very few enemies (are there even enemies?), timed runs not too hard, good atmosphere and cameras, excelent texturization... A bit more lineal and players shouldn't need to run so many kilometers. At the end, when Lara gets the chalice, she was exhausted! A fine work anyway." - Jose (31-May-2013)

"There are not many sights in custom levels I like more than Lara floating with a torch in her hand. One of them is a nice illusion of a mossy, flooded room once made by a human and now overtaken by nature. Here we have both of those applications, and while the first one is fairly easy to achieve yet very rarely used by builders, the second one is done amazingly good, looking like if several various algae, grass and lichen species took the house as their own. And those bubbles... All together forms an impression of an already eutrophic ecosystem that had to be abandoned a long, long time ago. And it's all made within several rooms only. Parts of this medieval realm which are above the water, and therefore only bear slight marks of passing time, have been crafted equally great - books, shelves, cobwebs, and a little, however not overdone randomization, all with proper shading. Those little structures are wrapped in common space of a huge cave. Actually everything except prologue and ending takes place here. The ceiling is much too bright as for the amount of light that would in real fall into such closed space, and - I'll be repetative, but it's often overlooked, so I have to be - the overall lighting manner lacks a lot of contrast. Nonetheless graphics and room geometry form together a very convincing scenery and, as soon as we're immersed, we can forget about visible yet bearable imperfections and focus on puzzles. Those are mostly linear, however split into two larger quests the order of which we're able to choose. The entirety of place is explored, there's no spot where we would like to go but wouldn't be able to. When we have everything, we can unlock the path to final item, but obtaining it also requires a little non-linear defusal of the pickup square, what adds some importance to the reward, so we get our satisfaction, yet concluded with a classic getaway towards the sunlight shining through a rock breach. SUMMARY: Moss, grass and other green stuff do it. You will feel extremely comfy in here." - DJ Full (31-May-2013)

"There's a difference between searching and exploring. Oh, wait. I already started another review that way. With only three levels left in this year's competition (well, two now), Back to Basics fatigue has firmly set in and I find myself going through the motions a bit. It's nice, then, that there are still some surprises to be had - at this point, I was worried that I'd already played all of the really good levels. But this one-hour adventure easily makes my Top 5. The reason I brought up the difference between searching and exploring again is that this is a level by an author that knows the difference. The majority of the level is spent in an underground cave/building/water sort of area, with a focus on exploration. There are doors and keys and switches, but rarely do you have to actually search for anything. Instead, you find most things just from leisurely exploring and the challenge is more along the lines of, how do I get to the place that I need to go? When I got the sword I had no idea where to use it, but there was a helpful camera showing me exactly where I needed to go - the author is almost always giving you a helping hand throughout the level to make sure you don't get stuck, and I really liked that. There's another... helpful... camera showing you where to use the water skin, but I think that is one of the only examples of the level being too clever for its own good. The area is actually sort-of-hidden behind the portal that takes you to the large area that you spend most of the level in. There's no reason to think that you need to go back (and it's slightly tricky to do so) and the camera gives no indication of where the room is. I was lucky enough to spot it before I went through the portal, but if I hadn't, I would never have thought to head back. But for the most part, the level flows really well and there are some traps and an occasional puzzle to add some variety. There are almost no enemies - in fact, I think the only one was one of those buff genie dudes - so it's a bit weird that you get a shotgun and a ton of shotgun ammunition just before you face him. I really think most players will be able to handle one enemy with just the pistols. The lack of enemies doesn't really hurt the level, though, and it's definitely one of the standouts in this year's Back to Basics competition." - Magnus (31-May-2013)

"This is one of the most beautiful and atmospheric levels in BtB2013. The huge cavern around which the majority of the level is centred is superbly built, and the buildings inside it seem to be almost growing out of its walls. Also growing in it are a huge number of plants, which give the whole place a lush, overgrown air. I especially love the use of plant textures on the water and plant objects floating on the water to create a swamp-like effect. In fact, the cavern reminds me of the swamp levels of Cowboy's 'TR4 Gold - Fading Light'. Sometimes the plants get a little too thick, though, and block important openings. There's also a really cool rainbow effect created using layers of fog objects (I think). The purplish lighting contrasts beautifully with all the greenery. The lighting is a bit flat and dull inside the buildings, but that's just a minor quibble.
Gameplay includes some nice timed runs, such as the one over three differently timed trapdoors and the timed run to light the torch near the beginning. The three tasks at the end to free the holy grail are fun too. The gameplay within the cavern mostly involves exploration, and finding important pickups and switches. I didn't like having to wade through so much 2-click water in the area near the beginning. I also would have appreciated a few more puzzles.
There is just one enemy in the whole level. I wouldn't generally mind a lack of enemies, but I do find it a little strange that the holy grail isn't better protected - a couple of supernatural enemies around it would have fit in quite well. There is only one secret, and it's kind of hard to miss.
Overall: One of my favourites in this BtB. Highly recommended, especially for the eye candy." - Mytly (28-May-2013)

"Very peaceful level. Textures and objects are very beautiful. Lakes, village, something like Stonehenge. There are few traps, but they are not that difficult. And only one enemy." - Andzia9 (19-May-2013)

"This is quite an impressive level on its scale alone, and while there were a few things I didn't really like, I left satisfied. Keyword for this level is exploration, you'll be doing quite a lot of that, with a lot of running to and fro until you realize what goes where. Considering the ammount of grounds you have to cover, especially on the second half, I was slightly annoyed with the terrain shapes as it seemed to hinder me quite often -- the other aspect I didn't like is that you are forced to wade through water more than you'd care to. Anyway, like I said, a lot of different areas to cover and sometimes it didn't seem quite as obvious where I was supposed to go or what to do, but that usually meant there was yet another different area which I hadn't been to at the time. I quite enjoyed the torch puzzle and the timed run, each of which took me a while to completely figure out. 85 minutes. 04/13" - Treeble (05-May-2013)

"Well... for me, this game should be named"Autumntime Happiness"! What a marvelous time I had playing it... Believe me when I say that you must play this game, if only to see the Stonehenge Portal devised by the author. How stupefied my Lara was when she found herself in another place without expecting it in the least! And the game has also many other qualities, of course: it's gorgeous; it offers a splendid, varied gameplay; it has some tough challenges - I almost couldn't make the collapsing platforms timerun; has a lot of beautiful environments; the music is lovely; and is one of those games that keep you interested, and you don't want to finish. On the credit side (at least for me), the game has also one special and seldom seen feature: Lara meets ONLY ONE enemy. He is of the tough type, of course, but at least is ONLY ONE. And, on the debit side, I found only three faults: (1) too much foliage, in some tunnels; (2) quite invisible crystal buttons, even using flares; at the last part of the game, I could see only one of the three - and the walkthrough told me where were the other two; (3) a certain quantity of backtracking. Nevertheless, it is a HIGHLY recommended game, perhaps one of the winners. Congratulations!" - Josey (23-Apr-2013)

"What an amazing level with the most beautiful atmosphere of BtB2013! Gameplay is very entertaining from the start to finish with clever tasks to do, some nice puzzles to solve (torch puzzle, mirror room puzzle...), mostly exploration, timed runs, traps...The only dissapointments are just a few things like too many backtracking but never mind because in every back and forth and also the whole time I was admiring such breathtaking atmosphere, what really dissapointed me here was the only secret from which I expected a kind of challenge but it was quite easy to find it, and only one enemy here so no need for medipacks or weapon and ammo. Lighting, textures, choise of music are perfection. Took me 1 hour and 30 minutes found 1/1 secret. Absolutely recommended!!! 9/8/10/10" - OverRaider (21-Apr-2013)

"A peaceful game with stunning graphics. Only one enemy (after having collected 10 MP ? ^^), only one secret, but the tasks are various (exploration, timed run, torch, mirror...) and I had a good time with this level (secrets 1/1)." - Markus (17-Apr-2013)

"Another extremely well made entry for the competition, with some clever torch work, good use of a stone henge portal and some very beautiful areas to explore. Quite a lot of swimming is involved and the gameplay is cleverly conceived if a touch confusing from time to time. Apart from a fight with the gigantic boss baddie, it's fairly enemy free, but I didn't really mind that. It seemed quite a lengthy level as far as Back to Basics usually go, but it was such good fun that it didn't even begin to outstay its welcome. Definitely a very good entry in the competition." - Jay (15-Apr-2013)

"Wide Areas with a lot of climbing provide no real challenging gameplay (there are some timed sequences of course)but the main task is searching, exploring, collecting and running to and fro through shallow water and a lot of greenery. All in all an highly recommended game but not one of my favourites out of the competition." - Christian (14-Apr-2013)

"This level boasts some breathtaking scenery and should be in the running for top honors in the competition. It got off to a shaky start, however, confirming my worst nightmares about all those branches in my face that I feared with the Khmer whatever theme (that ultimately lost out to Northern Legends). But things soon cleared up, and there are some nifty sequences - some of them timed - that filled up much of the hour and forty-five minutes that I spent here. The Stongehenge area was a neat touch, and the final sequences that involved sinking tiles and spikes required perfect timing and a number of tries. Lots of fun from start to finish. High recommendations." - Phil (13-Apr-2013)

"This level is a feast for the eyes, is often pauses to admire the scenery. The gameplay comes together very well and requires a lot of research. one Timerun me a problem but it comes mostly from my clumsiness. In short, a very high level which requires a very big thank you to the author, followed by congratulations!" - Daffy (12-Apr-2013)

"A highly atmospheric level that wasn't off to an overly great start for me, but the deeper you explore this level the better it gets. The huge cave we finally enter is the highlight of the level and even if I wouldn't give an exact 10 to atmosphere - sometimes the geometry feels slightly square and the rooms are a bit uniform -, this area alone deserves it. I loved how the man-made buildings are combined with the natural caves and exploring this area just feels great every second. Gameplay even if highly relying on exploration managed to immerse me, and all tasks are original and fun, sometimes not as easy as you might think - there are some tricky timed runs and usages of spikes which will keep you on your toes quite a bit. While the object design in this level is just fabulous (also a great element in the mentioned cave area) - without it the second category would've probably gone downhill, as there's only one enemy in the whole level and one easy secret. Professionalism is the first word that comes to my mind when speaking of texturing and lighting, but the whole setting has a rather simile lighting and all in all it was a little too bright for me. Probably, this one should be mixed up with The Oath of the Icy Tower, and I'd given two tens for the latter categories ;). All in all I have a new favourite level in the contest - let's see if the rest might be able to throw if off the yet temporary throne. Spent exactly one hour in here." - manarch2 (09-Apr-2013)

"Well balanced and enjoyable. Good exploration and Lightining. Other solid level." - requiemsoul (07-Apr-2013)

"Almost solely based on exploration, but also with a good amount of easy puzzles and some nice timed challenges, this game took me a bit more than 1,5 very enjoyable hours. As the story suggests Lara starts her journey in a farm and her first task is to find the mentioned "giant cave". This however is easier said than done and involves lots of back and forth in the "flooded tombs", which was a bit tiring: If one didn't know the exact route, chances were high that Lara had to wade through one and the same water-corridor numerous times - especially while searching for a deviously hidden keyhole or one of the objects that has to be ignited with the torch. After about half an hour Lara can leave this place though (through a room with a very nice rainbow-effect!) and finally enter the "giant cave" and that's where the game really shines! Gameplay wasn't just randomly thrown into the map, but instead the map was built around the gameplay and so progression was constantly made and also felt very realistic and believable. Even the platforming blended perfectly with the rest of the environment and so the only thing I can criticize is the lack of real puzzles.
Looking at the levelinfo-page it should be pretty clear, that the look of the environment is fantastic throughout and in my opinion it really is (lighting could have used some more depth/contrast but that's a minor thing) - what I loved the most though was the fantastic atmosphere that was built up: Every single room was created with an incredible passion for detail, every single decorational object fitted perfectly (may it be the floating books, all the plants that turned the cave into a heavily overgrown one, or all the added fog to warmer places) and here and there one could even hear the chirp of a cricket. Highly recommended!" - Soul (05-Apr-2013)
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