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Level: BtB2014 - Shangri-La back home search
Author(s): Sabatu
total rating:7.91 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
Adriel 9 8 8 8
Christian 7 8 8 7
Drakan 9 9 8 8
eRIC 6 7 7 7
EssGee 7 8 8 9
Glouglouton 7 8 8 8
janachorider 8 7 8 8
Jay 8 8 8 8
Jose 7 8 7 8
Josey 8 9 8 9
m.julien 9 9 9 8
manarch2 5 7 7 8
MichaelP 7 7 8 7
misho98 7 9 8 9
Mman 7 8 8 9
Mytly 7 7 8 8
OverRaider 5 7 8 7
Phil 8 8 8 8
Relic Hunter 8 8 8 9
Ryan 7 8 8 8
SlyRaider 10 9 9 9
Treeble 9 9 9 9
category averages
(22 reviews)
7.50 8.00 8.00 8.14

Reviewer's comments

"A nice and relaxing adventure to play. Nice variety of enemies, fun tasks and nice environment. It is a shorter BtB entry at around 40 minutes and easy. A nice change of pace." - Ryan (01-Feb-2016)

"Easy to play as gameplay moves fast and you get to see a lot of beautiful scenery in 40 minutes or so. It's an entertaining level but the one actual puzzle with the pushblocks actually had a trial and error solution with the levers, at least that's how I did it. Jumping trough the invisible platforms was fun though, so was the timed run with the torch and the Shiva encounters. I needed more cameras showing what happened after pulling a certain switch. The visuals are beautiful, the outside areas look amazing. I liked the architecture especially in the last room with the waterfall that contains two floors - in the first one you look for the gems and on the second you place them, find the artifact and finish the game." - misho98 (29-Dec-2015)

"Entertaining level easy to play, with a fast gameplay it's easy to get stucked. Rooms are not very large, and soon you'll find a way to proceed. Easy puzzles, a lot of enemies to shoot but enough guns and ammo too; I missed some more cameras and flybies, there are some plants in midair and textures are not well applied in small surfaces. Even so the environment is nice to see, and there's a big effor with the lights; although some rooms are too dark, there are enough flares to explore. Another good work from this contest." - Jose (01-Feb-2015)

"Another convincing Jungle environment here, with lots of plants and overgrown ruins, there's also a quite beautiful waterfall temple at the end. There's some strange issues that slip in though, like a plant being inside a wall, and a few other visual issues that harm the overall impression slightly (like an obviously misapplied waterfall texture right at the end). Despite that it's a good looking level though. This isn't too long of a level, and most of the tasks are pretty straightforward and enjoyable. Unfortunately one item at the end is hidden very cheaply, and it completely kills the flow of an otherwise pretty breezy level (a little more ammo would be nice too), and there's a "death pit" you can survive fine. On the BTB forums I couldn't help noticing that the author seemed a little unreceptive of tester critique (which covered most of the things I've mentioned), and their last release, The Journey, was another otherwise good level dragged down by some issues that should have been picked up and fixed, so I can't help but feel that isn't a coincidence. A good entry but I hope the author is more receptive to tester feedback in the future to take their work to the next level." - Mman (04-Oct-2014)

"A level that clocks under 1 hour , easy and fluent to play. The central area where you place the yinyang symbol is very nice to look at , and the last one too. Lighting is rather good , texturing is sometimes faulty but nothing too bad. While the various enemies (too many of them) placement is effective, for some of them they seem out of place , what are the tigers doing on those ledges ? I found that Lara could walk on water by pure luck , the camera shot was not enough to suggest that. The tasks are quite easy in general not to say too easy, anyway the level is quite pleasant." - eRIC (17-Sep-2014)

"This is a relatively short level, and it plays out pretty smoothly. What is presented here is well done with good texture application, good architecture design and atmospheric lighting. There were some misplaced plants floating in the air at the central pool which should have been addressed. The gameplay tasks are not demanding and some leap of faith tasks are required. Quite a few enemy battles which were good competition for Lara. I found 1 secret. Audio cues were suitably placed. There is a flyby at the start but perhaps there was lacking a bit of dramatic camera work. I think I left this level feeling like I wanted more, and it was over too quickly." - EssGee (15-Sep-2014)

"This was a different kind of fun, as you get a level here that just keeps you going. Hardly ever will you wonder what to do next and it is still not too boring because the tasks are quite diversion und the sense of flow is rather satisfying. It lasted about 50 minutes for me and the only real annoyance were the repeated fights with tinmen and twice with two shivas at the same time. Never really difficult but quite tedious to get through. I am also not a great fan of invisble tiles or walkways, but even those were fairly obvious in this level. There is one Wow moment as you enter the final large area from behind the waterfall - really beautiful view there, but otherwise the level does look a bit bland. Also the ending is quite abrupt, would have been nice to at least pick up that magic artefact right in front of Lara." - MichaelP (13-Sep-2014)

"Very enjoyable level, well illuminated and rather well textured. Lara shortly arrives in a dark temple and we have to open a double head door. Hereafter, we entered in an inner courtyard where a puzzle ying-yong was missing. From this moment each part of this item must be collected in two different areas. The gameplay was a little too easy, and didn't offer more challenges. This level can be played by everyone. The last area with the waterfalls was very well designed. Nice work! 9/9/9/8" - m.julien (05-Sep-2014)

"well it is a nice level the gameplay was ok and the visuals were good as well as the rest." - janachorider (04-Sep-2014)

"As far as gameplay is concerned, this level was such a joy to play. There's plenty to do, but it's always quite linear so you're always on the move. Thus, despite being the simplest, it curiously also stands out as my current favorite. I'm still not used to the short-ranged pistols Lara has in this BtB and there was quite a bit of fighting here, keeping it to close quarters is not a smart move in my opinion but that's not the author's choice. The environments are nicely crafted and mostly pretty, with the occasional odd texture and a few dark indoor areas in between. Bottomline, a pretty straightforward level anyone can enjoy. 45 minutes, 2 secrets. 08/14" - Treeble (01-Sep-2014)

"A simple, easy and very enjoyable game, with a few traps, well placed enemies and the fiercest shivas I have seen. A few camera hints as to what was accomplished sometimes are lacking, but this lack is not serious at all. The final room, with waterfalls and shivas, is very beautiful indeed. In resume, a level to relax from intriguing and boring sequences: it flows nicely and is not unduly demanding. If you wish, you can even avoid to explode the shivas, and the soldiers present are not bomber experts, as some others. Well done!" - Josey (28-Aug-2014)

"A good level which varies enemies, traps and puzzles, but I finished pretty quickly actually. Graphisms are corrects, and the game is pretty well built." - SlyRaider (23-Aug-2014)

"A way too easy level for my taste and that in all gameplay and puzzles aspects, and just to mention where is the fun fighting enemies in every single room?!! Well let`s start from the beginning of the level. You will begin inside some kind of temple where you shortly arrive in a room where there are lit wall torches and some unlit wall torches of which right below some of those right on the tile are torches to pick up, well you can guess what to do now, well just in case you still don`t know, what I doubt, but I don`t spoil it anyway , it leads "just" to a secret, way too easy secret which is easier than the task itself but the task isn`t hard either! As soon as you accomplish this "super complex" task you get to some other area of temple and after that you get out of the temple where there is a gate with a receptacle requiring two-piece combined item which each part you must get in two different areas which I don`t really remember as it was somehow easy and unmemorable. Oh wait...now I recall, I was mostly fighting with enemies. As soon as you recieve both item parts, you place the combined item into receptacle and the opened hallway leads to final outside temple area which by the way I must admit looked quite good and here you must "find" two serpent gems of which one is in a room with rollingballs trap and other one, well, just a little hint, don`t forget to explore every tile with grass. Then you must place both gems into receptacles in upper part of temple using revolver to open a trapdoor to get the final artifact. Well at least atmosphere in this level is quite good but in my opinion inside areas are too dark and I usually don`t complain about dark levels but this was too dark even for my taste, but ok there are enough flares also you can explore with torch most dark areas and outside areas are too bright and also lighting in some places flat. Textures are rather well applied but I noticed few incorrectly applied ones. All in all perhaps this review might sound a little bit harsh but this level wasn`t so bad just too easy for me and I like more complex levels, and also I don`t really like fighting with enemies in every area, enemies should be placed strategically and making some purpose and epic moments. For the less demanding players and for those who like shooter class this level might be more interesting. Playtime 42 minutes and found 3/3 secrets which were too easy. 5/7/8/7" - OverRaider (21-Aug-2014)

"This is a shorter entry of the this year's competition taking about one hour. Gameplay is not very demanding, puzzles are very easy, there's not very much searching or exploring. A jumping sequences over temporarily burning blocks carrying a torch isn't hard to perform, the torch- or the block-puzzle are too obvious, the timed run is quite easy. The areas built with the given rextures are mediocre and would have given more possibilities to develop more creativity concerning gameplay. Lightning is not very professionally made, dark corners often are simply black. Enemies are numerous and are often coming out of nowhere. But the quality in all concerns is growing towards the end of that game." - Christian (21-Aug-2014)

"I was astounded that nearly every BtB level offers some quite creative (more or less well executed) gameplay ideas, being a welcome change from quite a few run-off-the-mill releases lately, but unfortunately this particular offering doesn't hold up to the ideas in the gameplay class. It's 25 minutes of very simplistic and only occasional task-based raiding, and even the few real tasks provided in between don't quite make a large difference. Less skilled players might enjoy the fairly easy progression, with only a few mildly challenging traps and very easy jump sequences, but I left this level fairly want at the end. Even the five-block puzzle, one of the seemingly highlights of the game, was way too easy to solve with only one lever being actually needed at all, as well as the other tasks like navigating a torch over some fire platforms or the boulder alley which are finished in no time. The main challenge comes from definately too many enemies of which most are of the tougher kind (there are soldiers, knights, tigers and Shiva statues lurking around nearly every corner) and for me the density was definately too high. Still, since you can outrun most of them (which I did at the end), they are at least a nice addendum rather than an annoyance. The object design is okay, and covers the slightly simplistic geometry a bit. In one area the wall torches are missing - even if the fires are visible, strange thing. The visuals of this level are rather strong without being outstanding - texturing is clean for most of the time save for a few wrongly segmented walls (mostly seen on ladders), and the lighting is fairly atmospheric too. But this level clearly lacks highlights - only the two waterfall areas are particularly beautiful while the rest is consisting mainly of solid looking, yet not really eye-catching areas and passages. Overall, while this is a competently made level, I feel that it needed much more work especially in terms of gameplay as it feels too easy and a bit rushed. Found all three secrets of which one was quite nicely hidden, the other two being still nice to find too." - manarch2 (21-Aug-2014)

"Nice use made of the texture set in this level. There's a good balance between enemies, traps, agility and puzzles, which makes for well rounded and satisfying gameplay and at not much over an hour it certainly doesn't outstay its welcome. Another good entry in this year's competition." - Jay (20-Aug-2014)

"The lighting in this level is highly varied, in style as well as quality: some interior areas are nearly pitch dark; some outdoor areas are bright enough, but have flat grey lighting; and yet other areas are very pretty and nicely lit. The two waterfall areas are very beautiful, especially the one at the end.
The gameplay too is rather varied in quality: there are a few good puzzles and traps, such as the multi-switch puzzle where you have to raise/lower blocks to create a bridge for a pushable; the fire columns that you have to navigate with a torch in hand; and the boulder traps in the room with one of the serpent gems. On the other hand, the other serpent gem is just lying around in a random clump of grass. In one area, using a switch creates an invisible bridge, which I realized only after Lara accidentally climbed onto the bridge. The lack of cameras is problematic at times, for instance in case of a timed run, in which I had a hard time figuring out what the timed switch was supposed to be doing.
The enemies are a little overused. Every new area sees Lara getting attacked by tigers, tinmen and mercenaries and occasionally crocodiles and Shiva statues get in on the act as well. The haphazard mixture of animal, human and supernatural enemies is also odd. I found 1/3 secrets, and the level lasted just over an hour.
Overall: Not a bad level by any means, though it has an overall amateurish feel. Pleasant yet not overly memorable." - Mytly (16-Aug-2014)

"Thus far the shortest of the Back to Basics 2014 levels for me, Shangri-La is a nicely constructed little adventure based around a small complex of Khmer temples which features a nice variety of tasks. The first section opens up with some light swimming and a platforming section involving flame emitters. The second section is more exploration oriented and includes a puzzle involving block manipulation to get a pushable across to the other side of the room, some platforming, and a bit of combat with tigers, stone men, and mercenary thugs amidst a temple glade and a waterfall temple. Like the other reviewers mentioned the last section, a dazzling waterfall shrine is the prettiest though it lacked a bit in the gameplay. There is a boulder-trap room protecting one of the serpent gems needed to finish, and some thug combat, but the placement of the other serpent gem in a large grass shrub feels uninspired and a bit like the author had to hastily wrap up the level somehow. Either way though, I thought this level was very solidly made with a clear flow of gameplay and nice accompanying visuals." - Relic Hunter (16-Aug-2014)

"Very good and nice level, it's pretty easy! The puzzles are not complicated and it gets to the end of 50 minutes, it is well within the standards required for this contest. I found 2 secrets. Congratulation." - Drakan (15-Aug-2014)

"An enjoyable level not very difficult except the research of a gem. This level takes place mainly in 3 parts. The last one is clearly the most beautiful with all the waterfalls. I think the autor can improve his level with more lighting effects in order to have a level more mysterious." - Glouglouton (09-Aug-2014)

"Shangri-la. The first level of the competition that I managed to end in less than an hour. Actually I didn't see the ending coming. In a general view I think this game has a solid gameplay, and solid scenarios. It's nothing too much impressive but beautiful and good. The best place I think in that one with lot of waterfalls near the ending. I found some cracks in some parts of the level and some textures streched but nothing too much alarming. The ilumination was good worked in my opinion. About enemies, they awere a nice challenging but I think sheeva enemy was a little bit overused here, a little variation sometimes could be good in some scenarios. Anyway solid and good game from the competition. There were some objects that could be better placed and had the color better worked acconrding to the level ilumination. Good game for the competition even though what I mentioned. 57 minutes to reach the artifact on the top of that temple." - Adriel (07-Aug-2014)

"For no particular reason I picked this one as my inaugural 2014 BtB level, and if it's representative of the lot I'm in for a treat indeed. It's a solid one-hour adventure that bears the stamp of a veteran, yet it has an easy symmetrical flow that pushes the gamer on quite inexorably. In fact, I would say that the gameplay is so player-friendly that the BtB bird fairly cries out the builder's identity. We'll see. The only place I really got bogged down was near the end, hunting for that second serpent stone. However, it's quite sneakily hidden in the main area, so don't go looking for another side trail in search of it. I managed to miss two of the three secrets, but I never was much of a secret hunter anyway. Shangri-La is a great start to this year's competition." - Phil (03-Aug-2014)
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