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Level: BtB2018 - Laras Answer: 42! back home search
Author(s): Lara Croft
total rating:8.56 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
Cbl 7 9 9 10
Feder 8 8 8 8
Jay 9 9 10 10
JoeTheCrazyGamer 9 10 8 8
Jorge22 8 8 8 8
Jose 9 9 9 10
Josey 8 9 10 10
Magnus 6 6 7 6
manarch2 8 8 9 8
MichaelP 9 8 8 8
Mman 9 9 8 8
Mytly 8 8 9 9
Phil 9 10 10 9
requiemsoul 9 8 8 8
Ryan 8 9 9 9
Treeble 9 9 10 9
category averages
(16 reviews)
8.31 8.56 8.75 8.63

Reviewer's comments

"This level provides by far the greatest variety of gameplay and visual amenities (some of the special effects are absolutely stunning) of any of the BtB levels thus far, and I'm only halfway through. My scores reflect my enthusiasm, but I feel constrained to hold back some 10s for the other levels still to come. Playing time was about an hour and a half, and I was left wanting more. You get some fairly grueling timed runs and platforming exercises near the end, but the second secret was almost ridiculously easy to find (provided you went out of your way to look for it, which may have been the point). The atmosphere is somewhat dark and forbidding, but you can definitely see what's going on around you. Exploration is fairly evenly divided between a spaceship interior and an alien landscape. Engaging and great fun from start to finish." - Phil (02-Aug-2018)

"Here Lara travels to two different planets, one of them very beautiful. I liked very much the visuals of the Spaceship in the sky, and the skies and panoramas of the watery planet. Some options led to errors for me; it was not obvious that Lara had to jump to a specific slanted wall, among many of them, and the first Secret would appear on a small table (there was a Space Doll nearby, but this was a weak hint); and my Lara, not knowing that the hot greenery would be cold after a good wash, lost a good deal of health in order to pick up a key inside the scalding place – and was successful. Nevertheless, the game has some interesting features, as the repairing of the Teleport, the trapdoors’ challenge and the actions at the metallic planet. With respect to the watery planet, there was a part that I considered buggy - I’m referring to a timed switch that Lara has to use and jump through a trapdoor in order to move a globe that rises through this same trapdoor, a very confusing action. There was also a part full of transparent blue slopes that I could have done without, and the fruits for the bowl, at the beautiful planet, were too well hidden. Nevertheless, I considered the game an eye candy (that big flower opening in the distance, for example, was specially lovely), and enjoyed it." - Josey (07-Jul-2018)

"This year’s fourth Back to Basics level answers a question nobody asked. Everyone knows that 42 is the answer to life, the universe and everything, so just be quiet, Lara. We all know you’ve only watched the movie. This time around, Lara’s off collecting plants on an alien planet. Lara Croft: interstellar botanist. She starts out on a space station, and I quite like the circular design, even if the small size does mean there’s not much room for gameplay. I also like the idea of forcing Lara to visit another planet before going back to the space station for a bit, and only then going to the planet with the plant she’s looking for. We could easily have spent the whole first half of the level on the space station, but this successfully mixes things up a bit. The alien planets once again end up looking a bit too much like Techno Egyptians Portal in places, and in parts it just looks messy. Some areas fare better than others, though, like the crystal cave or the desert on the first planet (I especially liked those square glowing trees). I’m not sure what I was supposed to do on the first planet - I think pulling the switches in the right order? - and in general I wasn’t overly impressed with the gameplay in this level. It’s competent and varied enough, but also very simple and unsurprising (I did think the puzzle with the fans was clever, though). Combat ended up being a chore, since enemies always attack in groups of two or three at a time, and I didn’t find any other weapons until right at the end of the level, when Lara returns to the space station, plant in hand, like she’s my mom returning from the grocery store with yet another orchid she doesn’t need. Weirdly, my net gaming time was 42 minutes. That’s almost a bit spooky." - Magnus (05-Jul-2018)

"From the ominous introduction flyby you already know that this will be quite a unique adventure. A nicely constructed spaceship here and you even travel by shuttle to two planets to accomplish important taks, so the whole setup is very coherent. Execution is a bit rough around the edges at times and I needed to get used to the way of how the builder is hiding things before I got more into a flow of playing here. But then you are treated to very creative moments, like the fan room puzzle, a fun series of jumps to master and some very clever use of timed trapdoors. I found enemies more of a nuisance then working well in the setting - including the three bosses at the end and missed out on all the secrets unfortunately. The use of colours is often interesting, but sometimes also a bit much. In summary though, another great adventure in the competition, with enjoyable change of setting along the way, but does require a bit of raiding skill to get through successfully." - MichaelP (02-Jul-2018)

"Execution here is brilliant. You start off in your ship with the task of putting it back in order to explore nearby planets, so while the rest of the ship is in cryostasis you board a shuttle to a small planet where you get the coordinates to finally use the teleporter on your ship. The two planets are completely different, one overrun by sand while the other is a beautiful and truly alien environment. I accidentally picked up the shuttle key too early, but that would just shaved three or so minutes and in no way will prevent you from finishing the level. I quite liked the gameplay here, with a few jump sequences, including a series of alternating trapdoors, as well as a short trap gauntlet. All in all, while not my overall favorite, still a beautiful and exquisite experience. 70 minutes. 06/18" - Treeble (27-Jun-2018)

"This TRLE is really puzzle based and has alot of great gameplay, The deadly plant room was a great addition and lead me to spend a while trying to grab the keys whilst chugging medipacks, It was actually a moment of relief discovering that you could turn off the deadly plants. I liked the battle at the end" - JoeTheCrazyGamer (24-Jun-2018)

""Alien grass pot", hmm? A nice adventure but with quite a few things that, although ingenious, I might have never thought of by myself alone, namely jumping behind a bookcase at the very start. I liked the first planet better than the second and I also enjoyed the room in which the fans keep Lara from getting a tube to its place and then getting back up. The way the textures were applied, namely on the second planet) seemed a bit careless when compared to the rest of the level, the sounds and atmosphere were generally ok, the traps part (or was it parts? I can only think of one) was short and sweet and I was surprised to see one could shoot the hammer gods down. I did enjoy the whole but I can't help getting a feeling of at least a bit of existing carelessness in parts. Must be the alien grass pot, I guess..." - Jorge22 (23-Jun-2018)

"I really enjoyed the tricky traps, well devised puzzles and agility tests in this level (I especially liked the collapsing platform run). Also, Lara gets to visit a couple of planets so the builder has taken the opportunity to create some very atmospheric alien landscapes, which contrast splendidly with the spaceship segments. The boss ending is a bit hairy, so conserve your medipacks as best you can. Nice to see Lara get the plant specimen she was tasked with finding and placing it in the greenhouse. Just all round satisfying gameplay." - Jay (22-Jun-2018)

"This entry is set in three distinct locations (not represented by the level names which are unchanged, rather you're just transported to them) on a spaceship and two different planets (Flavomatella and Purtenebris). The gameplay in here is mostly enjoyable - there's an ingenious fan puzzle, some enjoyable find-the-route raiding, a couple of timed runs, pushblock puzzles, a tense trapdoor run and a boss battle. I did run into the unintended bug with the Emergency Key whereby Lara grabbed it out of thin air, but I went ahead and solved it the intended way regardless. I also thought that the trapdoor run was a bit too tight, although nothing too frustrating. The aesthetics are beautiful, particularly the wide open areas on the planets, although the spaceship is attractive too and really shows off the textures to good advantage. Enemies are few, but they are quite fearsome when they appear in packs. Luckily I found enough ammo to get by without too much trouble. An enjoyable level on the whole, but with a couple of quirks." - Ryan (22-Jun-2018)

"This has multiple theme transitions as you have a spaceship pseudo-hub (even if it's mostly linear) that leads to a couple of alien planets. Each area is distinct and individually consistent, and there's a diverse use of objects and some original ideas, like a see-through section. The weakest aspect is the lighting; it's decent but it trends towards being a little flat (although it has some high-points too). The gameplay ramps up well and moves on from exploration challenges to intense platforming and trap sequences later, with a good mix of tasks too. There seemed to be a couple of bugs though, like a timed crowbar switch that only worked when I used it twice in a row, and a raising block that seems to only work once, which gets you stuck if you don't move a pushable onto it first (I admit this may have been something I overlooked though). A few switches were lacking camera hints too, which had me running around for ages to work out what they did at one point when I was actually just missing another switch. The high points were enough to balance this out though. Maybe my favourite in overall gameplay so far, even if it's not as strong as other BTB2018 maps I've played in other areas." - Mman (20-Jun-2018)

"I think it's really hard to place this level as on the one hand, it is fairly obscure at some point, even though I like timed runs I think not hinting one rather lengthy as such was not a very nice idea, as well as several oddly hidden items at the start and I doubt anyone solved the colour lever puzzle without guessing or external help. On the other hand, though, it has many interesting and creative moments, something that I miss in many other levels. The ventilator pushable is certainly an outstanding task here, but there are also several inspired platforming tasks, neither is especially difficult but you can't just rush though this either. The atmosphere is generally quite well done, all three areas have a quite special look and feel and while not everything is on an extremely great niveau, I think it works quite well as for a custom level. Textures and lighting are solid, perhaps the lighting is a bit monotonous at times but it still works in a way. There are few but quite hefty enemy attacks which were quite effective but not hard with the given weaponry. The two secrets are so-so in a way. The second one is fairly nicely hidden, but the first must be the most obscure of the whole contest and then some (especially as the only hint there is could apply to other parts as well), well done if you find it yourself, I couldn't. Overall, another quite unique level, both in terms of visuals and gameplay, and while not in my top 3, one of the better levels of this contest. 35 minutes." - manarch2 (19-Jun-2018)

"The gameplay in this level involves a mix of a few very obscure tasks and several enjoyable ones. I particularly liked the fans and pipe puzzle, the timed trapdoor jumps, and the jumps to get to the Ornate Bowl. On the other hand, the switches task in the room with the rocket was utterly obscure, and I spent a long time stuck there. Finding the Pieces of Fruit object was also daunting, as it was lying on the ground next to a number of decorative objects, so it looked decorative as well. Though the builder has tried to provide hints by having Lara look at certain objects and locations, often these hints are useless as it’s not clear what Lara is supposed to be noticing. A close-up camera hint would have been much more useful.
There aren’t a lot of enemies – some humans on the first planet Lara visits (Flavometalla), and some alien dogs and giant aliens beings on the second planet (Purtenebris). There isn’t a lot of ammo provided; I didn’t miss it much, except at the end, when some magnum ammo would have helped considerably with the boss fight.
The locations are great, especially the spaceship, which is simply extraordinary. The builder has taken full advantage of the excellent BtB package (kudos to the package team!) and built a really cool spaceship. The alien planets are also nicely built, though admittedly, Flavometalla isn’t all that visually impressive. Purtenebris is lovely – albeit a little gaudily coloured – with a lot of plant life.
Overall: This was a nice introduction to the BtB2018 levels for me, though the fact that I wasn’t yet familiar with the objects was both to its advantage and disadvantage, as it made the items and locations seem fresh, but left me confused as to what objects I was supposed to be seeking. Nonetheless, it’s a good level on the whole. Recommended." - Mytly (17-Jun-2018)

"A three parted level with multiple scenarios, each one with a unique atmosphere. Nice design of the spaceship and excellent work with cameras, but the rocket area felt a little empty to me, with just the rocket and a few staircases, the scenary could've use a little more dedication. The alien planet was farely original, but not very neat, and Lara could bump her head easly with an invisible ceiling. Hints of Lara looking in some directions will show you where the important things are, but some other times you have to figure it out yourself (especially after pulling some switches). There are some fun and clever tasks like the fans in the basement and the timed pushable, and some challenging ones like the platform run. There is much combat and arsenary, enemies come in groups but with plenty of time between battles. Overall, a good level with some nice ideas." - Feder (13-Jun-2018)

"Summary: A level with three distinct sections, each with a unique atmosphere. Diverse alien environments and immersive gameplay. Some obscure puzzle hints and a few bugs make progression difficult. Details: The standout feature of this level is the environment and architecture, from the Interstellar-like spaceship in the opening sequence to the crystal caverns on the second planet. Objects were well-used but secondary to the level geometry, a feature I enjoyed. Navigating this geometry was fun, with extended platform sequences including special moves like vertical ledge jumps. Puzzles, beyond the standard trap sequences, were creative, one involving wind and another involving a timed push-puzzle that were very fun. Gameplay suffered from some glitches, exploitable bugs, and hints that were non-existent or obscure. Unintentionally I acquired a key far too early because of a bug, and I ended up standing in mid-air on the first planet after the large trapdoor opened. Puzzles like the timed crowbar switch or the three colored levers did not make sense until after they were completed because of a lack of identifiable clues: cameras could have helped. Some objects also seemed to lack lighting. Enemies were few and far between, but were fairly difficult, often appearing in groups, but pickups and dropped items made these encounters worthwhile. Overall, the level significantly improved once Lara got to the second planet, when, for the first time among the BtB levels I have played so far, I truly felt like I was exploring an alien world with a consistent environment, architecture, and culture. 1 hour 45 minutes on first playthrough." - Cbl (10-Jun-2018)

"Another good level from this contest. The design of the space station is extraordinary, and the locations in the planets have a good look too. You can find fresh ideas here, like the room with the fans and movable pipe or the puzzle to get the emergency key (a pain the bug to directly get it, but you can try the timed run; it's not hard). On the other side, the area with timed trapdoors was not easy, and the final fight with the three giant beasts was quite hard for me because I didn't dispose of enough ammo and medipacks. The secrets are very hard to find (I found nothing). Even when there are several camera targets pointing important items, I missed some more camera shots when pulling switches in the area with the rocket. Anyway a very good level worth to play. Take a try." - Jose (07-Jun-2018)

"The most difficult level of this BtB and one of my favorites. The sections of combined jumps and "timed runs" are challenging and very enjoyable. The puzzle of the fans has an excellent design. The level has two important unintentional solutions (pedestal bug and greenhouse area) The setting is not as good as the tasks." - requiemsoul (06-Jun-2018)
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