Level: Amber Life back home search
Author(s): Inchdix
total rating:9.50 Gameplay &
Objects &
Sound &
Lighting &
Jorge22 9 9 10 9
Mman 9 9 10 9
Ryan 9 10 10 9
Torry 10 10 10 10
category averages
(4 reviews)
9.25 9.50 10.00 9.25

Reviewer's comments

"Right. I'm very glad that this completed version of Amber Life saw the light of day. Quite an interesting set of levels with a globally nice balance between loads of tasks and a good atmosphere throughout. I must say I disagree with how logical it all was (most of them are in the end, aren't they?) because the game was, in my opinion, a bit too heavy on the backtracking front and, yes indeed, I did have to resort to both written and video walkthroughs quite a few times, especially in The Ravine and in the underwater levels, too frequently perhaps in the confusing HMS Botany Bay level. I still enjoyed it very much. And it ended on a lighter note with the last level, Amber Life. Recommended." - Jorge22 (23-Jan-2020)

"Here's another much anticipated return from a builder from yesteryear, in the form of Mr Hidden Garden himself. My understanding is that for one reason or another, Inchdix himself wasn't able to see this one through to completion, so GMac took the reins and finished it off while giving it a good spruce in the graphics department thanks to the next generation textures. The scenery throughout is extremely professionally rendered and pleasing to the eye (aside from a couple of areas that were a bit too greyscale and bland for my liking), the atmosphere is well executed and the music choice is sweetly done while the gameplay side of things has plenty of well thought out puzzles, traps and exploration segments to keep you occupied. George's style seems less omnipresent this time round, and it seemed to me that Inchdix's style shone through more. You begin in a forest/cave section, then progress onto an immense underwater cave-cum-sunken ship setting (I appreciated Lara's slightly longer "air time" in some of the trickier spots), before finishing off in a coastal location and meeting the guide for a finale. Enemies don't play a major role until near the end, but the secret locations are generally well thought out and sometimes quite tricky to obtain. I thought that the backtracking in the later levels was a bit excessive at times, but it's not really a major issue. A thoroughly enjoyable experience, when all is said and done." - Ryan (06-Dec-2019)

"It seems this was a set of levels mostly finished a long time ago, and finally brought together as a release by GMac; in that regard it's a little ambiguous how much of it is solely by Inchdix and how much was modified by others after to complete it. The overall style definitely has Inchdix's distinctive design throughout though; various Gmac set textures, objects and music are used, yet it's so distinct from the somewhat infamously cookie-cutter asthetic aspects of those levels it almost feels intentionally subversive, with those familiar GMac level cues inserted into a level set that feels nothing like one of those releases (though the first couple of levels have some Jungle Ruins type feel to the forested areas). The first couple of levels feel quite different to the rest, with you exploring various Jungle type areas and ruins (along with some Ganges-style river traversal); after that the theme completely switches to an undersea style that has little in common (although the very final level does bring some aspects back), with a giant underwater cave working as a hub leading into ancient ruins and a wrecked ship. The general visual quality is high, with the large hub cavern of the second part being the obvious centrepiece, but every level has impressive visuals and distinct style. Despite the general quality there are some missing textures in the first levels and the occasional obviously stretched wall, which could have been ironed out; these issues seem to go away later on though. I also had a secret trigger a second time when I returned to a level, there was also a torch that disappeared in that return too, however, there are spares and it was for a secret so it's not a big issue.
Gameplay is mostly fun and flows decently, with a heavy focus on exploration and relatively little combat. despite some large areas like the water cave there's generally enough clues to find the way (while not infinite, you also seem to have a somewhat longer air bar in that level to reduce frustration too), and a nice mix of traps and puzzles. It's not too hard, although there's the occasional difficulty spike for some challenges, and some thorough exploration is required. A few of the secrets are a little oddly placed and essentially along the main path, but then others are very interesting and elaborate, so the weaker ones get balanced out somewhat. The biggest issue is I felt the gameplay ran out of steam somewhat in the last couple of levels, with the penultimate one still having some nice challenges, but also a pointlessly long block puzzle and needless backtracking. The final level is short but has little going on with some minor puzzles and combat but nothing that suggests it's the finale, and it feels like that's a sign of it probably being a mostly unfinished level with some gameplay thrown in to justify it's inclusion. Even earlier there are one or two parts where it feels like something more elaborate is supposed to happen and then... Doesn't, but it's not really egregious until the end.
Overall a great set and worth playing, but the signs of it being partially a compilation of semi-related and not entirely finished maps comes through at times, and results in a less cohesive experience than Inchdix previous masterpieces, but that's the only real issue with it beyond the minor bugs." - Mman (29-Nov-2019)

"This is a massive game that took me eight hours to complete but the beauty of this is that I (or anyone) can master this without the aid of a walk through and that my friends is simply great level design. Sure I got stuck on occasions but generally because I missed something in my haste. The old forum adage of "Best Played with Eyes Open" certainly applies. There are no ultra tight timed runs, no pixel perfect jumps and no near impossible traps in this. The whole adventure encapsulates exploration and the environments you traverse are stunning. This is an older adventure that finally has seen completion and some of the ship sequences I remember testing good 16 years ago, before Jon gave up on it so it is great to see this finally completed. Having said that, none of the new moves you see in todays levels are present. This is a traditional raid in the greatest sense of what raiding is about. Gtaphics are great and the vistas marvellous. I loved it." - Torry (27-Nov-2019)
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