Level: Twenty-minute-tales 3: There and Back again back home search
Author(s): Cory Smith
total rating:7.64 Gameplay &
Objects &
Sound &
Lighting &
DJ Full 7 7 7 7
Drakan 9 8 8 9
EssGee 7 8 7 8
Jay 8 8 7 7
Jose 7 8 8 8
m.julien 9 7 8 8
manarch2 8 7 7 7
MichaelP 8 7 8 7
Mman 6 7 7 7
Orbit Dream 8 8 8 7
Phil 8 8 8 8
Rambo 8 6 7 6
Ryan 8 7 7 8
Torry 10 10 10 7
category averages
(14 reviews)
7.93 7.57 7.64 7.43

Reviewer's comments

"Level quite short but with many challenges. The timeruns are short but feasible. The texturing and the atmosphere are correct (a pity that water textures are not animated). Excellent." - Drakan (09-Nov-2018)

"I found this to be an excellent little level and at no time was I so stuck that I thought of giving up. The very start was the most difficult for me over the jump slopes to the crawl space. Even the timed run soon after over the rising and falling bricks was easier. I loved how much action was squeezed into this relatively short excursion. Every thing a decent raid should be and I applaud loudly. My one and only criticism is the raising and falling blocks had texture fade outs and at some times disappeared altogether (even though you could still run over them) you just could not see them." - Torry (18-Jul-2018)

"This took me just over half an hour to complete rather than the intended 20 minutes but that's only because I took my time to explore everything this level had to offer. The Northern Legends package has been used, which means that everything is fairly blue throughout. It's not too dark, though (I've played levels, Northern Legends-based or otherwise, that have been much darker than this). You get to complete a challenging timed run, solve a couple of pushable puzzles, avoid some boulders and make your way around a perilous room guarded by a dragon. An action packed little level, this one." - Ryan (28-May-2017)

"I quite happily concede that Cory's Twenty-minute-tales are FAR more ambitious than mine;and I was,quite frankly,stunned by how many challenges and puzzles he was able to cram into this 35 (for me) minute level,within only a five day construction schedule.Most of the challenges are of the dexterous running/jumping variety (I haven't even begun to contemplate performing the 'harder' jumping timed run);although the moveable statue puzzle was interesting,and so too were the boulder sequences.It's all very much full-on gameplay,with little reason to pause and appreciate your surroundings (which,it must be said,are rather utilitarian and grey;although competently put together).Enemies are not copious,but appear at just the right moments to get the adrenaline pumping;while music and fly-by's are helpful (and even downright cheeky when it comes to padding out the levels duration). It's a whole lot of fun for those more nimble-fingered players." - Orbit Dream (25-May-2015)

"The intro camera is DEFINITELY too slow and long. It would be good with speed increased by one unit. Then there's a nice ascension feeling through the subsequent shafts. Raising block puzzle hint is creatively hidden, goblin corridor brings threat atmosphere without being really difficult and opening subsequent trapdoors to get higher and higher is like unwrapping a well-sealed gift until a final success. On the other hand, pushables take up half of the game and the second one doesn't even fit the scenery, which is made exclusively of stone and You could almost hear its cry for variety: "Wooooooood... give me woooooood..." ehm. So we get a wooden pushable, and this is exactly why it doesn't fit. You would need to showcase some source of that wood - either a snag sticking out of the grass, or even any grass plus several growing trees, or at least anything that was used to transport this wood into the castle, to justify its presence in there. I liked the boulder secret which is a reward for a whole separate challenge, and it's really useful regarding the ending mutant fight. However that last place contains an error (fix me if I'm wrong): if You fall into the pool before traversing around the high ledges, there's no way back to a crucial button they lead to, what might be a curse for anyone who tends to save on the same slot :( The mutant's demise is really original, as well as the ending (it's always better to say too little than to say too much). SUMMARY: A nice game which feels more vertical than horizontal. Too much stone feels cold and unfamiliar, but the game is too short for the scenery to overwhelm anyone. Also good sound and gameplay compete for the minor flaws. Mind the mutant room bug and You should have fun in here. Recommended." - DJ Full (24-Jan-2014)

"This is a ~30 minute adventure set in a Back to Basics 2013 setting. There's not much flourish in the architecture and design, but the cool blue lighting gives it a consistent theme, and it's all competent. The gameplay has a focus on agility tasks (including a difficulty switch near the start, although I don't know if it applies to the whole level), there's a timed raising block puzzle, and various traps and a Dragon fight to cap things off. The block puzzle that makes up about a quarter of it feels a bit out of place though; in a bigger map it could work, but here it feels like it harms the puzzle-action focus elsewhere. A decent map for a quick level to play, although there's not really anything special in it." - Mman (17-Jan-2014)

"This is the first level of Cory's that I have played and I was pleasantly surprised. It's a twenty minute adventure, that for me panned out to around 40 minutes net gaming and a number of hours spent beating the challenges that are set for Lara. And some of these challenges are a bit tricky. So much for a quick in-betweeny raid. The puzzles are quite good, the texturing is very tidy and lighting is solid as well. What's lacking is summed up in the title "there and back again". There's no story or purpose here except to get through a series of challenges set in castle-like rooms and find a key that ends in a cliff-hanger.... to be continued one would presume. Emphasis is definitely on the gameplay not the environment. The game uses the Btob2013 warm pack and so you'll get to battle gremlins, the witch, tree skellies and a final battle with the giant serpent." - EssGee (12-Dec-2013)

"If you like a little challenge this is exactly the right lunch break diversion for you. 30 minutes of jumps, boulder-, burner-, spike-traps, timed runs, two small push puzzles and a (relatively fair) encounter with 4 dragons. With a nice secret added and a few good camera flybys to round things up. Architecture is fairly simple and functional and texturing and lighting is relatively basic as well - the focus was clearly on make this entertaining in terms of agility and only on second thought in terms of look & feel, but frankly, that is fine by me and certainly understandable within the limits of building this in such a short period of time. Great little level that manages to effectively entertain..." - MichaelP (10-Sep-2013)

"Even with the walkthrough this one took me a solid 35 minutes, so it felt much more like a full-fledged level than a 20-minute quickie. This fact alone makes it an impressive accomplishment, as it displays all the hallmarks of a production months in the planning and making rather than mere days. The builder has used the Northern Legends package, which gives the level a built-in deficiency in the lighting and eye candy departments. However, for the most part I could see to pick my way through the drab surroundings. But it's the gameplay, not the textures, that makes this adventure a winner. That five-switch timed run near the beginning took me a number of tries with the so-called "easy" setting (I didn't bother to try the other setting), and I conquered it only by eschewing the final rising block to jump directly from the fourth block to the ledge on the central pillar. There's also an extended pushpiece puzzle midway through the game that required walkthrough help for me. And I could have done without those fire-breathing dragons and pesky locusts near the end as I made my way laboriously around the perimeter of that tall room. However, this is where playing in god mode comes in quite handy, as I enjoyed the luxury of taking my time, ignoring the locusts while engulfed in flames (which, on the plus side, provided some much-appreciated light for the journey). Fortunately, this segment ends with a drop into a pool of water, allowing me to finish with some of my dignity intact. In summary, this level is good enough that I believe it would have placed in the upper half had it been entered in the most recent BtB competition." - Phil (03-Sep-2013)

"A short level built with the btb package of this year. Long introducing flyby where we see all challenging that lie ahead. Overall, not very difficult level and some surprising traps (rollingball and spikes). I really liked the puzzle with the 5 timed levers, an asset in this level! Otherwise, some little things to improve for the next time: not animating water textures, some too long soundtracks and there're not adapted at the current event. An embarrassing bug, also seen in other levels, with pushable and raisingblocks(pushable has no collision and it's impossible to push it in the final plateform). Lighting and textures are correct. Seeing the final action, there will be probably a sequel - 50 min, 0 secret found - 9/7/8/8" - m.julien (02-Sep-2013)

"More than twenty minutes for me, this small level was easy and nice to play. Only in the room with the pushable statue I couldn't figure out what was the hint to use the three wall switches and I had to do it with trial and error. There is a good use of cameras and musics, few pickups but enough medipacks to use in the dragon room. Good work." - Jose (02-Sep-2013)

"Gameplay & Puzzles: I liked the tasks in this level very much. Good puzzles are one of the most important things in custom levels and this level has a bunch of them. The easy/hard lever puzzle is really fun! But: The gameplay has parts that are just consisting of running into the next room, and apart of the secret the connections are simple, the level is too linear. Enemies, Objects & Secrets: The enemies are not very nicely placed. Surviving the jumps around the boss fight is a bit too much of trial and error, because you might get on fire or not. I didn't like the demigod in this small passage, it would have fit much better in a larger room, but the dwarf fight is nice, you can see them early but shoot them later on. The objects are few but they do their job well. The secret is a good extra task, but it's possible to avoid the first boulder without running away from the second, which makes things a bit too easy. I'm not sure about the beaming, it's interesting but weird at the same time. Atmosphere, Sound & Cameras: This is my first review, and I'm not sure how to rate this category, since it has much to do with two other categories, but I'll try my best. The level looks good, but I think the geometry could have been better (I know, it wasn't good in my levels too, but I know it can be done better). The sound is really a nice choice. The camera at the start is good but a bit too long. Lighting & Textures: The problem here is that the level doesn't use many colours, in fact mostly grey. The quality of texturing is okay, the lighting too often uses normal shadows, I don't like that so much. Total: 6,75/10, a solid level." - Rambo (29-Aug-2013)

"I love the whole premise of Lara having to go all the way back because she forgot her keys. She is human after all. This is the second outing in the twenty minute level challenge and challenge is certainly the word. It may be short, but it takes no prisoners and I certainly felt as though I'd been on a long raid by the time I finished. The first timed run is tight, even in the 'easy' version and as for running around on platforms (some of them collapsing), plus swing bars, whilst being fired on by a four-headed dragon, well that was exhilarating to put it mildly. Actually, I loved that bit (although I could well have done without the locusts). There are a couple of block puzzles also, the first one being the better of the two, and a great ending, described in the readme as a 'cliffhanger'. The estimated twenty minutes took me twice that long to complete, but I certainly enjoyed myself." - Jay (27-Aug-2013)

"I found this to be the way better of the two levels of this mini contest. The gameplay is thoroughly entertaining with several really neat ideas, I really loved the five timed levers puzzle (where the builder generously provided an easy and a hard way, and I guess since I had problems with the hard way that this was a reasonable choice), the rest was never able to surpass this early task, but it is enjoyable too - the boulder puzzle, pushable puzzles and an encounter with a nasty four-headed dragon (luckily you won't spend much time in this room). Some parts are a bit too much guided from the builder and the progression felt a bit too easy, like the boulder puzzle where it's barely possible to get stuck and doesn't require much thinking. On the other side, the boulder run to the secret is really great, and enemies are nicely used. The looks are a bit of a mixed bag, because overall the grey settings aren't very nice to look at, but in general texturing, lighting, cameras and sounds are competently enough used and the atmosphere is as a result decent enough to bear the dull colours. This level is one of the few exceptions where using action music throughout most of the level worked and didn't feel annoying after some time (although it could have been tuned down at least in the starting room). Overall even a tad better than the last level from Cory (unluckily not enough better to express that in the ratings), and I hope to see a continuation of this level soon." - manarch2 (25-Aug-2013)
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