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Level: BtB2018 - Renaissance back home search
Author(s): matrix54
total rating:9.00 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
Cbl 10 9 8 9
Jay 9 9 9 9
JoeTheCrazyGamer 9 7 9 8
Jorge22 9 10 10 10
Jose 9 8 9 9
Josey 10 10 9 10
Lara_Fox_Croft 10 10 10 10
Magnus 8 7 8 7
manarch2 8 9 9 8
MichaelP 9 9 8 8
Mman 10 9 9 9
Mytly 8 8 10 8
Phil 9 9 10 10
requiemsoul 9 9 9 8
Ryan 9 9 9 9
Treeble 10 10 10 10
category averages
(16 reviews)
9.13 8.88 9.13 8.88

Reviewer's comments

"This was a complex level, with hub rooms and a couple of planets to explore. I especially liked the feature of taking the shuttle to go back and forth between the various venues, but for some reason this level didn't push my hot buttons the way some of the previous entries did. Still, it's good looking and well lighted, and I still haven't tired of these picturesque alien settings. I reached the place where you choose your ending after about an hour, and at this point I followed Dutchy's advice (the alternate walkthrough provided by the builder was rather cryptic and hard to follow) and saved my game so that I could sample all three. Sad to say, I found the selections rather anticlimactic, but by that time I was prepared to give the level high marks anyway. Not my favorite in this year's competition, but it provides top flight entertainment." - Phil (04-Sep-2018)

"This year’s seventh and final (what’s that? There’s one more? Oh, for the love of-) Back to Basics level didn’t make a good first impression on me when, very early on, I went up an elevator, pushed a button and got transported to an alien planet. “But… I haven’t explored the rest of the space station yet…!” was my first thought, so I loaded a savegame and pressed another button - which then took me to *another* alien planet. That’s twice as many alien planets! And twice as many places to visit, so I got a bit overwhelmed. The story sees Lara try to rescue the rest of her crew, so I guess that’s why she’s space traveling all over the place. The level did start to make sense rather quickly, though, so I wasn’t confused for long. The story also kind of made sense when I really thought about it, but there’s a lot of stuff there about different things you can do and choices you can make, so I think it overreaches a bit for what’s possible to convey within the constraints of a BtB level. There are three different endings, which is fun, but I didn’t realize this and was confused when the level originally ended when there were still things left to do, forcing me to load a savegame and go back. It’s a cool concept, at least. The cool concepts carry over to the gameplay, which has a lot of creative ideas, like: dislodging a block (cleverer than it sounds), a magnet room, finding several different ways to kill enemies without guns, a rotating room, a shop - the list goes on. Sometimes it gets a bit too clever for its own good (like the aforementioned block you need to dislodge), but it’s never boring. The different planets are competently textured, but ultimately really tiny and not that interesting. I found the space station and the alien spaceship to be the most interesting-looking parts of the level (and the shop looks straight out of Star Wars). All areas are visually distinct, though, which makes it relatively easy to remember where everything is, even with all the space travel going on in this level. The level ends after roughly 45 minutes regardless of which ending you pick, and at that point my inventory was overflowing with junk. It’s a minor complaint, but I like knowing what I’ve picked up, and scrolling through ten items (five of which are utterly useless secrets) can get a bit annoying. Minor gripes aside, I really do appreciate a level that manages to actually surprise me with its creativity, and this one does just that. Lucky number 7 indeed!" - Magnus (05-Jul-2018)

"While this level gets full marks for creativity, it loses some of those marks because of its player-unfriendliness. The gameplay gets ridiculously complex, with a lot of tiresome back and forth among multiple planets. A lot of times, figuring out what to do next involves reading the builder’s mind (or more practically, the walkthrough), as the steps involved are so obscure. For example, in one case you have to lure an alien creature into an electricity-filled room in order to kill it and harvest its organs. But how is the player supposed to know that this creature can or should be killed in the first place? As opposed to simply avoiding it, given that Lara has no weapons in this level? Another obscure moment involves jumping onto a block from a high ledge in order to drop the block into the room below – a not-at-all intuitive action. That said, I did enjoy some of the tasks, such as the jumps in the magnet room and the jumps up to the tower for the boss fight.
Although I definitely appreciate that the builder has tried to tell an interesting story in this level, it is told mainly through external means – through the ultra-lengthy readme and the walkthrough written by the builder himself/herself. This method comes across as amateurish compared to a level like, say, ‘Hope of Meridian’, which manages to tell a story within the level itself. The multiple endings are intriguing, but some of them don’t make a lot of sense within the context of the level – such as, why does Lara enable a UFO to blow up the Earth?
The various planets – or at least, what little we see of them – are nicely differentiated. I like the idea of a merchant planet, where you can go to buy necessary items. I do wish we could see more of this planet, though. Ditto for the surfaces of the hot and cold planets. The looks of the level are mostly functional, with little in the way of interesting architecture. But there are a few nice-looking places – I liked the colours in the hot planet, and the interior of the UFO, for instance. There are a few very dark spots, but there’s no way to see them properly, as the builder has disabled flares, guns and binoculars. I really don’t get the logic behind that.
Overall: No doubt this is a unique level, and probably one that’s more appreciated on hindsight than while playing it. Recommended for the creativity." - Mytly (04-Jul-2018)

"And now for something completely different. This level deserves a 10 for creativity and innovation, as it leaves the proven path applies a bit of a different concept to the overall gameplay. You get to travel a lot between locations here and the tasks you get to do are also a bit off the beaten path. Mostly I see that as a good thing, but sometimes it is of course also confusing, as you have no idea what to do and little guidance, which may have you resort to the forums or the walkthrough for help more than you may like. I also thought it is a nice idea to offer several endings here, but I did not find it so very clear in terms of how these are actually separated from each other - so again, needed the walkthrough to figure that out. Still, the whole mix of activity and location works together very well and the progression in each area if fast and crisp. Architecture is at times a bit simplistic and functional versus the beauty other levels offer in the competition, but that is a minor gripe in an otherwise really fun adventure." - MichaelP (02-Jul-2018)

"A beautiful, unusual, different and mightily creative level. In one word, stupendous. I couldn’t play it without the walkthrough, because it was impossible for me to guess what had to be done in some places, for example: who would guess that Lara had to fry a monster inside an electrified camera?? I simply passed by the monster, climbed the ladder, and arrived nowhere. The game is full of actions of the same kind, so I decided to wait for the walkthrough and only then I could really appreciate the magnificence of the level. It is indeed different, without flares or pistols, with 3 possible endings, with intriguing places and actions; to play it was pure joy, and the only irritating thing that I found was the continuous alarm sound in the ship. Congratulations and thanks!" - Josey (30-Jun-2018)

"The best level so far and one among the best ever made but... so complicated in the sense that you're really not sure what to do in most situations, plus you have to do quite a bit of back and forth from the start to the end. That's why I have to rate it 9 in the gameplay section. Sadly - and I mean it, because it never lacks great imagination and all the action that comes with it. After endless exploring in several different worlds, you get to choose among several different endings. In one of them, the earth is destroyed. In another, you manage to escape with a couple of your crew members as soon as you finally get your pistols and the earth is saved. Then, there's something else in between as well in which you just go on exploring the outer space. Some things are just optional too. I wouldn't have known how to defeat the boss after the floating islands-style part platforming if I hadn't taken a look at a video - I confess. I didn't see any clues there. I also never found any practical use for the heavy magnet, one detonator I had left and maybe the access card (unless it means it's supposed to grant access to all that traveling). There's so much to say about this level that becomes rather long (but not tiring) simply on account of its complexity... I loved every bit of it in spite of that. It's excellently crafted in every sense and the only thing in which it lacks is knowing what and how to do things. I'd rate a classic like Broken Sword lower than 9 (especially the last one they released) precisely because of it being so cryptic. But don't be fooled by this 9. Don't you even dare skip this one and you'll be in for a real treat." - Jorge22 (29-Jun-2018)

"This level was one of the hardest Levels in the BTB space, This one can get annoying is some parts. You dont get any guns and there are very few enemies anyway." - JoeTheCrazyGamer (29-Jun-2018)

"I left this for last for the wrong reasons (the Stuck thread had me thinking it'd be the hardest of the set), but I'm somehow glad that I did as I finished this with the highest note possible. This is an incredible adventure and curiously you are exploring alien planets devoid of any weapons. Planets, plural, as you will see a certain spaceship cutscene quite a few times, and even the readme shows this is quite a departure from your 'standard' TR level. Flare pickups are used to trigger remote mines provided you have the detonator (which requires you to collect a few coins and making a stop at the merchant first), for instance. I'd feel slightly worried at Lara's ease to just casually enter and leave an UFO standing by " and ultimately even triggering a death beam down on a city " but I loved all different planets and the different puzzles you get in each. There are three possible endings, but I only got to see two of them: dooming the Earth and the other having Lara and a fellow shipmate stranded on a deserted planet. I'd have gone for the third ending, too, but much to my surprise it was too late as they'd already been sacrificed in an earlier fight. A consequence well thought. Overall, a brilliant and very ambitious level, but it certainly paid off as this will no doubt come out on top. 70 minutes, 5(+5) secrets. 06/18" - Treeble (27-Jun-2018)

"Wow, there's some truly intriguing stuff going on here. This took me nearly 90 minutes to complete and had me vexed but hooked all of the way through. A neat concept is utilised with Lara being able to visit different planets in order to accomplish different tasks and gather items, while opening up new paths within those planets as she progresses. The thing with this one is that while it may be clear on what to do, how to do it is another story completely. A couple of highlights for me were the wheel that alternates a particular room to different versions of it, and the jumping sequence across floating islands. I did have trouble getting to grips with the secret system as I found four coin caches and four secret items, but never found out what to do with them, and the level ended with Lara using the Cosmic Cube, so I may have missed something there. But bottom line, you may be confused, but you won't be bored." - Ryan (23-Jun-2018)

"Wow, what an inventive level. This is brim full of clever ideas and Lara gets to travel to various alien planets either via transporter or shuttle. Physically, there's nothing overly hard to achieve, but mentally you really will need to keep on the ball. I must say I really loved it, especially the wonderful section where turning a wheel made several different areas appear in the next room. It's far from obvious what to do next at times, but oh so satisfying when you finally work it out. Highly recommended." - Jay (22-Jun-2018)

"This goes through several themes, with a spaceship hub leading to various alien planets. The scale of each area is relatively small, but there's various little details and overall convincing design and object uses, it also does a good job making each area feel very different. The lighting and texturing is overall very good even if there's nothing especially stunning. The gameplay concept here is something completely different, with no weapons and very few enemies (and those that are get treated as puzzles), but the level manages to have a lot of variety and original ideas despite that. The execution of the planet-hopping even leads to a pseudo-Metroidvania type design where finding certain items is only possible if you return to previous areas with items you find earlier, there's even multiple endings as rewards for exploring more (though it felt like the best ending was still a little abrupt). One or two areas felt a little simpler, but the overall gameplay design makes up for that. Other maps have better overall visuals and high-points but this might be my favourite BTB2018 map so far with the amount of original design it pulls off." - Mman (22-Jun-2018)

"gameplay and puzzles: Well, I don't play BtB very often, but sometimes I try some, and this one made its little effect, I enjoyed it from the start to the several ends. Puzzles from the BtB wad were well used, and the builder also added some "room" puzzles, like a part of a floor to make fall to a room down below, or the creature to kill with a special room. I enjoyed also the "seller", I already had the idea to make on for my next level, but with some script to make more logical. But even with the BtB restrictions it was quite well done. I enjoyed to fly from one planet to another to find some "codecs", and to choose who save, or to use earth coordinate/ selfdestruction mecanism etc, that was brilliant, and pretty fun, more like a game than a trle, which is maybe the best thing that a "not only trle" player could say. Enemy, objects and secrets: I enjoyed the secrets and the placement of the only enemy in the game, I won't rate the quality of objects, I don't know who made them, but some of them were not that well done: for instance the 3D walls, the diagonal walls, we can between them, I'm not a master in object creation, but if I ask something for a level I made, you can be sure that object must fit perfectly the room geometry, or I will modify it, or I will simply won't use it... This is not a criticize of the builder, he used these objects very well. Atmosphere, sound & cameras, I could critize the sounds of the level, but wait they were choosed by the BtB databank,right? So I won't :) Atmosphere was very well made, and cameras were well used, for instance the "space travel". Lighting and texture were perfect, I think, I didn't saw a single mistake, that was perfect IMO. Lighting was colorful, even if I'm not a big fan of "too colored" levels, this one had a kind of "color code", some color for some planets. Well,to sumup this level could be the best BtB I played, but as I said I don't play much BtB, because I use to think that making a trle with too much restrictions is only a way to restrain the builder imagination, except that this builder made such a good work on his/her imagination to build this one. Well thanks for this level, and good luck for the competition." - Lara_Fox_Croft (18-Jun-2018)

"Summary: The most ambitious BtB 2018 level I've played so far! A multitude of worlds to visit, with innovative special effects, an involved story, and a fun (although complicated) secrets system. While the level has multiple endings, I could only seem to manage two of them, and was confused by several of the pickup items including one that was nameless. Overall a fascinating level to play. Details: It took a while to get used to the mechanics of this level, which are unique as far as I know: navigating the level involves trips to multiple planets, including a red metal world, an ice world, a Martian desolate landscape, and a world with a toxic cave and flying saucer. There is also a world to pick up additional secret items. The secret system overall was a little confusing, especially at the end when I wound up with a nameless item in my inventory, and 4 out of 5 secret items. The architecture was a bit repetitive despite the dramatically different lighting on the planets: frequently it consisted of a hall, followed by double passageways that led to another hall no matter which passage you took, and this appeared on the planets and in the station. That said, some of the simple elements of exploration and architecture were balanced by wonderfully engaging puzzles and physics: the magnet room was a particularly good example of this, and I really enjoyed trapping (and harvesting!) the mutant on the ice planet. Other parts of the game were finicky: I had to reload an earlier save because the ice wraith refused to go into the water on one playthrough, and I never figured out what to do with the Poison Canister or how to defeat the boss. Neither seemed necessary to complete the level, since I had at least two different versions of an ending, escaping in a ship and (finally) picking up pistols. The focus on puzzles and the amazing travel system were my favorite parts of the level, while the confusing item placement right at the end, and the blocky rock environments/similar dual-hallway architecture were the things I thought could have been improved. However, truly an enjoyable, and unique, level!" - Cbl (17-Jun-2018)

"Certainly one of the most original levels, not only in this competition, but in general as well! This unique concept really is brilliantly put into scene and the cutscenes, flipmaps and teleports are really fantastically designed. The gameplay starts out calm and ordinary, but once I reached the area with multiple flipmaps (reminding a bit on The Black Lodge and especially the room with the "drop" I knew this would be very special and wasn't disappointed. The magnet room was also a very unique experience, even if the concept might have been enhanced even more. The rest of this level is still great, with some nice cinematic sequences, - noteworthy - a straightforward though fun platforming sequence, a boss battle without weapons and many other things, but the tasks are a bit more "classic" and I really think that the builder could go even further with his very creative ideas. Perhaps, though, a single BtB level isn't even enough for this, so I propose to expand this into a larger levelset. Anyway, at the end you're even treated to an intendedly chaotic but satisfying object hunt and multiple endings. As a personal thing the secret system is a bit odd overall, the coins are mostly hard to miss as well as a few items named secrets, but some "secret" items are much harder to find - somehow uneven. Anyway, the atmosphere of this level is great, mainly of course due to the rapid change of settings and some especially great views like in the alien starship areas. I can't really fault the builders camera and audio work here, they are almost perfect and it's really a level to get absorbed in. Despite of all the praise, I still have to note that some areas are a bit simplistic in their design and the visuals are "only" good but sometimes not very good, but it all doesn't matter so much when you have a level which is so creative and atmospheric. Spent 40 minutes in here and there's only one thing left to say: More of that please!" - manarch2 (12-Jun-2018)

"Extraordinary. Here we have a long and complex level made by a professional and experienced builder. No guns and no flares, Lara will travel a lot of times to different locations with a lot of backtracking. There are a lot of special effects too, and the tasks are not hard, but you'll find many innovative ideas and it's easy to get stucked often. I missed one of the secrets, perhaps 'cause I didn't find a receptacle to use an unnamed item I found or I couldn't pick up the item appearing when usin the poison cannister. There are a couple of possible endings: Lara escaping in a starship and another one if you use the cosmic cube (destroying the city?). Anyway a very complete level with a lot of tasks to accomplish and a huge dose of imagination. Take a try." - Jose (11-Jun-2018)

"Pure "Space Opera feeling". The level of this BtB with the most innovative concept and with several possible endings. The challenges are simple but very enjoyable. The geometry is quite basic compared to other levels but functional and effective." - requiemsoul (06-Jun-2018)
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