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Level: BtB2015 - Amalthea Island back home search
Author(s): Jose
total rating:8.50 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
Bene 10 10 10 10
DJ Full 7 8 8 7
Drakan 10 9 9 9
janachorider 8 8 7 8
Jay 10 9 9 10
Josey 8 9 10 10
Magnus 6 6 7 6
manarch2 7 7 7 7
MichaelP 8 8 8 8
Mman 8 8 8 8
Mytly 8 8 8 8
Phil 10 9 9 10
requiemsoul 9 8 8 8
Ryan 9 9 9 9
Tolle87 9 8 9 10
Treeble 9 10 10 10
category averages
(16 reviews)
8.50 8.38 8.50 8.63

Reviewer's comments

"This entry is undoubtedly a bit more complicated than the previous two I played, and requires quite a bit of observation on the player's part. A couple of the tasks are a bit on the tricky/obscure side (the vase shooting puzzle and also a couple of the keys were a bit difficult to locate), but mostly it's quite a nifty level with a few neat touches, particularly the Pegasus ride and the Athena pushpiece puzzle. The atmosphere is nicely set up and surroundings are soothing to the eye, and the level makes a good use of the BtB package as a whole. Great fun!" - Ryan (01-Mar-2016)

"This is set on a small island and is mostly explorable from the start, it's less intimidating than it initially appears though and is on the shorter side again (though still quite a bit longer than the first two maps I played). The main visual issue is that the size means constant draw distance issues, even if there's no way around it outside of changing the whole map. The rest of the design is relatively simple visually, but there's nothing ugly and some of the areas are quite nice and unique looking (like the underwater temple). While very open there are multiple hints at what to do and only one or two things end up vague (namely a puzzle with a table that, while a cool idea, is on the lateral side due to it not being intuitive that it can go on the same tile as other objects). It mostly keeps a good pace and even one push puzzle I thought would be long turned out to be structured so it's much less irritating than I thought it would be. A strong level and an improvement from the author's last BTB entry." - Mman (14-Jan-2016)

"I find this level to be very unique with it's design and gameplay.Whole time, I felt like I was playing some classic point&click game (it kinda reminds me of the original Myst game) with the way it's structured.You have one island, certain clues and your brain.This is like the old school of Tomb Raider, which means that you have to take a deep breath, think about what you know and what are your goals and the solution will present itself.The island itself looks very authentic with it's central temple area and surrounding hills, smaller islands, caves and the dock.Short trip to the underwater Athena's temple was also fun.Gameplay is mostly-puzzle based and I have to say I really love how certain clues are presented.For example, you have one pushable table puzzle where, instead of typical searching for a different colored texture on the floor, you actually have to think about where is the most logical spot to place it.Unfortunately, certain things prevented me from giving 10 for gameplay, no matter how hard I tried to ignore them.There are a few traps that I find to be unfair, some including spikes and others including rollingballs falling through solid ceiling.One clue (watter bubbles) is very hard to notice and even harder to take into account as the actual clue.Lara does turn her head, but it looks more like she looks at nearby island.Also, like I already said to Jose, some things in the central temple room simply don't make sense and at the moments this room makes a player feel kinda like a fool.You are searching for an ancient artifact and the only thing that prevents you to take it from start is a wooden fence.So, one wooden fence is the reason why you have to risk your life, visit ancient temples, ride mythological creatures through spiked hills and fight huge monsters?I'm sure everybody would rather find a way through the fence (which you can actually do by using glitches and complete a level under 2 minutes) instead of doing all that:).There is also one table that is made unclimbable and positioned exactly below the unreachable ledge.Even worse, to be more accurate, it was made unclimbable just for that reason, to prevent a shortcut.Technically, I can't really call that a bad gameplay, but....my brain simply refuses to accept that fact in this mostly logically-based level.I think there were other ways to set that puzzle.Also, two monsters that spawn from thin-air in that room can follow you through tiny door while nearby people are casually ignoring a deadly fight happening above their heads. Audio tunes are well chosen, there are good camera hints to keep you on the track, enemies are relatively rare but they fill their purpose and add some action between puzzling elements. Bottom line, it still might be my personal favourite in this BtB contest and I recommend it to everybody.It's really a shame that Jose didn't have just much more time because with just a few small corrections it could have been even better." - Tolle87 (02-Jan-2016)

"Another level which changed a lot since the beta and I knew it so I played it for the fourth time now. It utilizes almost every puzzle item provided, just the snake goddess and the cog are missing (it seems there's a limit of certain puzzle the editor allows per competition). Very often these puzzles miss a context though. While the submerged Athena temple, notabene totally different than any other I have seen so far, makes perfect sense, then it's not quite explained why a lyre opens a house, why a plaque gives access to lava room or why a key unlocking the underwater eye is in shape of Minotaur head. Speaking of enemies almost every single one makes appearance, excluding the poor ahmet locked in the cage (if I remember this pal went buggy and none of the builders could make it work as it should - sounds like an interesting topic to investigate, and I hope this one here has enough food in the cage). But they sometimes miss context as well, while the first lack of context could solve the other: for instance the mentioned minotaur key could be dropped by such enemy, while the currently applied minotaur bossfight could be substituted with these two cyclopes attacking Lara earlier. Or the scorpions could be better circling around the underwater pyramid, having more reason to guard it and only attack Lara if she approaches. After all these fights I was still left with 30+ shotgun shells which might be a little ammunition overdose, but on the other hand I had a choice and could use my favourite TR2 uzis all the time. Yes, uzis can be a favourite weapon, pick up your jaw, it doesn't belong on the floor. Still, a vast number of bullets or medis could be applied together with secrets, which are instead as useful as in Big Fat Greek. I would also add one secret for these crosses which are currently just a decoration on the rooftop and make that rooftop accessible at all, because such place always calls for exploration. I would also adjust lighting, because the majority of rooms seems to be saturated with the same colors, and I would try to avoid using the same texture pattern over large pieces of geometry. I see what I note are mostly betatester's advices and I wish I could form them earlier, but back then we've been tracking serious errors and never had enough time to rethink the design... so again instead of "simply playing" I wonder what is really serious and if some of my reports really mattered for quality of this game, same as I wondered if certain package fixes really mattered for its quality. Only now, after playing half of these games, slowly and peacefully, I see we might have wasted time for repairing minor issues while the amount of minotaurshit we haven't noticed and left in the pack for the builders to utilize is simply TRAGIC... which also gives me a clue what to review in the next order. SUMMARY: One of few island levels which really feel like an island. Remarkable for sunken temple, pickup variety and flowing (or bubbling) puzzles. Not much context yet plenty to do in open space should grant you an hour of easy-going exploration-based trip." - DJ Full (01-Jan-2016)

"There are some good ideas in this level, such as a spike-filled pool with a fake lever, and the logical pushblock puzzle in the submerged temple. The Pegasus ride on the spike-trapped slope is fun; the ride on the pier is trickier, but not too hard. Some puzzles have thoroughly obscure solutions, such as the one where you have to shoot some vases through a window. Providing a couple in a restaurant-like place with a table is a cute idea, but not easy to figure without some help from the walkthrough. While the builder does try to provide camera clues for the location of various keys and artefacts needed to open the numerous doors, the clues aren't always helpful - for example, the clue for the Waterskins Room key simply shows an entire multi-level structure, rather than the very random pot at the top of the structure that the key is finally found under. A lot of areas and gameplay opportunities feel wasted: for example, the submerged temple is huge, but there's hardly anything to do in it (the entire middle floor contains absolutely nothing, not even a pickup); the sequence switch setup, which has so much potential in general, is used only to access a single key.
There is not a lot of eye candy in this level; still, the submerged temple is quite impressive, and the harbour area is not bad either. While the setting consists only of a single small island and a submerged temple, there is rather too much running around from one point to another on the island. The main colours are grey and brown, with only the green plants and bright blue water outdoors providing some colour. The end of the world is very visible at almost all times, as the sea surrounding the island does not blend into the horizon (this is a technical issue with the Level Editor, not the builder's fault, but it is something he/she should have kept in mind when building).
Overall: A pleasant level, with some good ideas, but not quite one of my favourites from BtB 2015." - Mytly (31-Dec-2015)

"Religion was so much more fun back in the day. A goat forcing Zeus to breed with milk? And then he"accidentally" breaks one of her horns (“got milk? How about 'got horns'?!"), and then just makes it magic because why not he's a god he can do whatever he wants. Being a god apparently also gives you your own private island off the coast of Greece somewhere. Tiny and square, and the view isn't very good, but an island all your own nonetheless. Save for a short excursion to an underwater temple, the entire fifty-minute level takes place on this island, as you run around tugging at all the different threads laid out, trying to find the right one that will allow you to progress. It's very non-linear, with lots of different paths to take. Eventually you'll find that you need a key, so you'll go somewhere else, where you'll eventually find that you need a torch, so you'll go somewhere else - and so on. It all makes sense in the end, but it's really easy to get stuck on some of the less obvious paths - even if the author has been kind enough to provide some hints in the level. By far the worst puzzle for me is the one that requires you to shoot the right pots. It's not actually a difficult puzzle - except that it *requires* you to use the crossbow. The revolver does *not* work. I think including the revolver in the level was a huge mistake, especially since it's easy to get it before the crossbow, and you even get a laser sight in the same room. This was one of those cases where the only reason I even managed to solve the puzzle was because I eventually hit the point where I was desperately trying everything. On the plus side, at least this gave me more time to explore the level and find some other things I had missed. That includes all three secrets, although they seem to serve no other purpose than bragging rights. So this is me bragging about finding them, I guess. Although I think making the whole level take place on a small island is a cool idea, it really doesn't allow much room for gameplay, so everything feels pretty bite-sized. It's an okay-looking level - impressively compact, but somewhat bland overall. There's also a huge amount of cracks in the texturing, which is especially distracting in the underwater temple. I think this level lives and dies by its tiny-island idea. If you like exploration, this is a reasonably picturesque place to do it, but be warned that there's not much more to it than that." - Magnus (30-Dec-2015)

"Large map of an island surrounded by water, you will find the 2 key pythagore to access the cornucopia. But before many puzzles to solve including a huge room with lots of underwater statues and an epic stint with Pegasus for across a field of spikes." - Drakan (21-Nov-2015)

"A level that can be quite intimidating at the start as you have this huge space to explore and do not quite know where to even begin. And I thought the hiding places of the initial two keys were a bit obscure despite the hints given. But it only goes uphill from there with many creative ideas, sometimes maybe a bit too clever for the player and only smart in hindsight, but the builder certainly tries to provide subtle guidance with clues and often camera hints lead your way. Nice use here of pegasus with a mildly tricky ride to get your much needed torch and the drop-in submerged temple was a great surprise moment. Overall, I did feel a bit lost many times and only got to my net gaming time by reloading an old save after quite a bit of running around without finding the right next thing to do. Enemies are used well in the right moments and the secrets are a welcome addtition, one adding the only timed run of the level. So overall, a very solid entry with good ideas added that are bit off the usual track. [60 min, 3 secrets]" - MichaelP (18-Nov-2015)

"This is the first of the BtB levels that I have given a perfect 10 in all categories. Tricky puzzles and clever traps including an UW lever that's a no-no, a follow-the- bubbles swim in strong currant and a Pegasus that can not be stopped from sliding down a slippery slope. There are a few signs leading to one of the secrets and a surprising fall into a submerged temple area. Flybys are done well and give the player helpful hints. I tried to find something that did not rate a 10 and as you can see, did not find it....hmmmm maybe the enemies could rate lower then a 10...nope...I like enemies that don't take the patience of Job and/or the skill of an expert player who can race through everything. :) Recommended for all." - Bene (08-Nov-2015)

"Good level.a bit unrealistic layout,but still enjoyable." - janachorider (04-Nov-2015)

"And here comes the first massive BtB level. It's actually rather overwhelming in the beginning, as it's very open and not always clear what you have to do or where to go - it took me a good while to understand some of the camera clues. Despite being very large thus having the horizon breaking in the distance, the areas are generally pleasing to the eyes so that's a plus. Within the Athena temple lies one of the most logical pushblock puzzles I've seen (provided you understand the clue you're given within the scroll, but it's not hard to figure it out), it could easily be a lengthy and boresome way to add padding to the level but fortunately not the case here. One of the keys, in a sneaky corner by some fruit stands, had me going around for far too long and the elusive quest for a flame to light the torch came naturally once I found it. Ah, speaking of which, I'm not sure why there was more than one in the rock since we can only make out with the one anyway. Make sure to keep yours safe! 100 minutes, 3 secrets. 10/15" - Treeble (04-Nov-2015)

"Another somewhat mixed bag for me, but, despite not outstanding in any aspect, one that at the end manages to be more consistent in the quality. While the flyby of the initial area is charming enough, the end of the world is not properly hidden and the geometry is a bit boxy and not always as natural as it could be. The game focuses a lot on gameplay and provided hints on what to do next are plenty so there's barely a moment of utter confusion (despite some more obscure moments like the teleport square to the statues room). There are a lot of smaller puzzles to solve and most of them are quite neatly thought out, although I think not a most memorable way (progression is almost too fast and the puzzles aren't very hard either). Highlights were the (unrealistic but fun) water flow puzzle and the maddening Athena room, the ride with Pegasus was at least a bit tricky. While object design is quite decent and fits the climate, I found the enemy triggers to be a bit strange (two large monsters are only triggered with a pickup, which can be skipped, and there are some other similar situations). The three secrets are not very hard to find, but still a nice addendum. The visuals of this level are quite decent, with rather clean textures but some wallpaper effects on long walls, the lighting is a bit flat too and there are several visible cracks. I did not find the atmosphere to be as impressive as in other levels this year, it is often a bit simple, but not quite secondary to the gameplay either as there are some quite nicely worked out areas too. All in all these 35 minutes were good, sober raiding in pleasant surroundings, but for me this is not quite among the best levels of the contest." - manarch2 (03-Nov-2015)

"A beautiful game where the gameplay takes place in a beautiful environment. Well done! There are some sneakily hidden objects, that I would never have found without the Forum people (thanks, Gerty and Treeble!), some horrid enemies that nevertheless are somewhat easy to kill, a lot of tasks well thought and planned, but difficult to grasp (use your gray cells!) and much, much imagination. The lighting is perfect, and the author is generous: there's a lot of ammo and weapons, the two most frightful and horrid enemies don't appear if you leave alone a certain goodie, and the flybys and camera hints are quite enlightening and sufficient. The author also likes a little joke: the picking up of the key in the pool is a good example. As to other puzzles, like the scale one, the solution is clearly indicated. And for those who love difficult tasks, there are at least two of them: the Pegasus ride and the time run for a secret. Lovely game." - Josey (18-Oct-2015)

"Only three levels into the competition, and I've already been treated to a lakeside adventure, an indoor raid and now a romp through a beach resort. They just keep getting better and better. Amalthea introduces some new enemies, notably a restructured chicken monster that really does look monstrous rather than comical, and a huge minotaur hammergod that's surprisingly easy to kill (especially if you stay on the stairs to keep the hammer from falling). There's also a winged horse to ride as you navigate a slope fraught with spike traps. There's an obscure Athena statue puzzle that I figured out through trial and error, although I'm sure there were adequate clues for those playing with eyes open. There are other puzzles as well, together with a timed run or two, making this the most well-rounded of the BtB levels I've thus far played. It's longer, too, clocking in at an hour and 38 minutes, so you get a lot of gameplay for your download. I don't think I had to use a single flare in this level, and I had no sense of undue brighness either, meaning that it's perfectly lighted (something extremely rare these days). The scenery is gorgeous to boot. Bravo." - Phil (14-Oct-2015)

"What a fantastically inventive and clever level this is. I absolutely loved the gameplay. There's a good variety of tasks, including some timed elements, but the challenge mainly comes from the puzzles and just figuring out exactly what to do next. Enemies are effectively used, although one or two of them ended up running into walls and thus proved very easy to bump off. The island setting is lovely and the swimming challenge to get to one of the islands is most intriguing. Nice use of Pegasus and cunning hints/red herrings all round the place just made this exactly my type of level. Mind you, approximately one hour's net gaming time turned out to be two hours 35 minutes, but, hey, time flies when you're having fun! PS. I found all the secrets. I found all the secrets. Yes, it had to be said twice, given the rarity value of the event." - Jay (14-Oct-2015)

"One of the BtB levels with the best puzzles. Very unique . I love the room with many statues . The section with Pegasus is the best of this type in this BtB . Superb camera -hint ... a great example for other authors . Dificulty: Medium 60 minutes." - requiemsoul (13-Oct-2015)
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