Level: Tomb Raider - The Discovery back home search
Author(s): PhryneCroft
total rating:9.10 Gameplay &
Objects &
Sound &
Lighting &
Ceamonks890 9 9 9 9
Chel 10 10 10 10
DJ Full 9 10 10 9
Gerty 9 9 9 9
Jay 9 9 10 10
Jorge22 9 10 10 9
Jose 8 8 9 9
manarch2 7 8 9 8
McRaider 9 9 10 10
Mehrbod 10 9 10 8
PedroTheGamer 8 8 8 8
Phil 9 9 10 10
requiemsoul 7 7 9 9
Ryan 9 9 10 10
Sabatu 8 10 10 9
Talos 9 9 10 9
The Snarky Lesbian 9 9 10 10
category averages
(17 reviews)
8.71 8.94 9.59 9.18

Reviewer's comments

"A truly original debut level with a soul of its own. If I have to choose a word to describe it, I choose "Mystic". The gameplay is simple and immediate, in fact it's difficult to get stuck. But in my opinion, the atmosphere is the real strength of this game: magical, mystical, "Zen", an atmosphere that would have been perfect for a level in the Advent Kalendar. There are some small errors with the texturing but is nothing compared to the level. Congratulations to the builder!" - Talos (27-Apr-2019)

"Nice to see how a new builder appears with all this potential. To be a debut it's a very good work. I found some small defects here and there, like the colision on transparent triangles, but nothing really remarkable if the author looks for a good betatesting before the release. I highlight the good architecture and texturization, the good use of cameras and musics and the good look of the environments. No interesting puzzles, no difficult tasks, easy secrets, but anyway a set of entertaining levels to take a good and relaxing time. I hope this new builder can build and release more levels in the future; sure that I'll take a try because I'm sure that I'll enjoy them. Congratulations!" - Jose (17-Apr-2019)

"How wonderful to see such an amazing three-level set from a debut author! How is this your first level?! I spent my Sunday afternoon with this one. A little under 3 hours total game time. Timestamp of last save right before the end was at 2.5 hours. I held off playing this set for a bit because it's a cold, dark and snowy one and I'm personally hankering for sunny warm weather right now. It's that time of year. Gotta say though that after about 20 minutes of tromping through icy caves the builder had me hooked. I really enjoyed the progression of these levels - the segues into levels 2 and 3 were great. Puzzles gradually got a bit more difficult, though I found that the platforming/climbing of the first level was the most difficult for me, while the traps in the last level squished me plenty, thank you very much. Many thanks to the builder for incorporating the faster shimmy animation into Lara's skill set! Always appreciated. I liked that we had the option of the jump while hanging from a ledge, as this makes exploration and platforming more interesting. I enjoyed all the climbing. All of the puzzles were fair to middling difficulty. This is definitely a set of levels to play with your eyes open, making note of the locations of keyholes for which you don't yet have the key. There were a few nice push-piece puzzles, a torch puzzle and a few clever little switch puzzles as well. Some timed runs, but not too difficult overall except for one in level 3 that's really tight and required a few retries. There is a fair amount of backtracking required much later on, so making a note of which passages I took and landmarks along the way saved me a lot of frustration. I have to wonder if anyone else plays these with a pen and pad of paper nearby? Combat wasn't heavy at all, and human enemy appearances were triggered in such a way as to make me feel that Lara was being closely tracked and hunted by these people. I appreciated, for example not opening a door that's obviously been locked for a very long time only to have some guy with a gun mysteriously pop out. The non-human enemies, consisting of tigers, skeletons and two special guardians made me jump just about every time. The tigers especially. Remember the undead dogs that came around blind corners in Aldwych way back in the day? That kind of jump scare! And they're fast and quiet! No steady thumping of paws like in Tomb Raider 2 and 3. Paying attention to the piles of skulls ahead of Lara, along with any whole skeletons helped me to anticipate some of the encounters. I found all 9 secrets, so I had plenty of ammo to spare and except for the very beginning had no need to resort to using pistols. The atmosphere and overall effect of the level's design paired with the ambient soundtrack was wonderful. The whole package just ties together nicely and sucks you right into the setting. Textures and lighting are pretty much perfect - nothing stretched or weird looking. Lighting was never unnatural looking. Granted this makes for some dark locations at times but it all works. I think I saw literally 1 tile that had the texture turned the wrong way and if I hadn't been idly eyeballing the scenery while pushing a box to its destination I'd probably have missed it. Only real quibble I have with design is that there are a few spots where it's possible to become stuck, requiring you to reload. The deep chasm right before the monastery in level one, and a slope by the hanging boxes next to the icy pool, also in level one. Lara got stuck in the unending loop of sliding into the wall. Other than that, fantastic! I look forward to seeing more in the future from this very talented Tomb Raider architect!" - Chel (08-Apr-2019)

"This was quite an adventure. A bit darkish on my end so playing in the evening was a must for me. Drawback is that I probably jump more in my chair than is needed when being confronted by enemies. Although there aren’t that many enemies, they were pretty good placed. I had lagging in a major way but only when the builder used the shining light object that comes from the ceiling. Lots of exploring to do and enough pick ups to find. That is the way I like them." - Gerty (27-Mar-2019)

"A very impressive debut release consisting of three levels with their own unique atmospheric presence, backed-up by engaging gameplay that feels just right in terms of difficulty and some exquisite lighting, object & texture placement. With all that said though, I could have personally done with a few more enemies to justify the copious amounts of supplies I was picking up and at times, some objects can be obviously seen clipping through walls. But overall, very minor nitpicks in what's generally an excellently-made adventure. Recommended!" - Ceamonks890 (23-Mar-2019)

"Nicely designed and brilliantly crafted for a first effort, and it makes me wonder what the author could produce in future, as debuts of this quality are few and far between. The icy atmosphere is wonderfully done and faithful to the TR2 style with a good placement of music and flybys, the lighting and overall environments are stunning (the former not being laid on too gloomily, only in occasional dark spots) and the gameplay is consistently entertaining and with enough variety to keep players happily occupied. Nothing too complicated, so it should be accessible to most players. Maybe a few too many illegal slopes for my liking though. Overall, definitely recommended." - Ryan (18-Mar-2019)

"Icy, occasionally dark and... rather nice-looking. Also player-friendly, varied, with good use of music and not really too demanding or head-scratching in spite of some back and fro moments, which, to me, means it was cleverly designed. I wish I'd found the explosive arrows to add a little skeleton-exploding excitement to the adventure but that's ok since it was my fault. On the downside, lots of illegal slopes and at least one red herring that could have been avoided. All in all a great debut, I think." - Jorge22 (17-Mar-2019)

"A pretty decent and solid debut level. The tasks are a bit basic ( but I liked so much the latest puzzle with the crystals) and there are many arms but very few enemies. The atmosphere and textures are very nice. I found out a "dead end" at the very first level if we don´t grab the second key. Recommended." - requiemsoul (16-Mar-2019)

"This is an absolutely gorgeous levelset and it is even more impressive given that this is a debut. The atmosphere in all levels is spot on and together with very good sound and camera usage and a very apt texture set this really exceeded my expectations. However, there are more than a few occasions where more testing and care had been needed in order to have a polished look and feel to the whole thing. Several misrotated, squashed, badly clashing and even (very) few missing textures, some lighting cracks, objects being stuck in walls or floating, some misplaced sounds (like when the soldiers are shooting) and several shortcuts where you can skip smaller or larger parts of the gameplay are present. Concerning the gameplay, it is pretty fluent and enjoyable overall, but in some parts there could be more up to it, the puzzles are okay but not quite unique and the first level was just too linear for its own good. The enemies are fairly well placed, but the secrets are all a bit too easy to find, except the last one. Overall, quite a successful first release of a highly promising builder, and with some testing this might have even received some 10s from me. Hopefully next time... Finished in 1:05 hours." - manarch2 (16-Mar-2019)

"This is amazingly good for a debut level. It’s a three-parter and I enjoyed every bit of it. The gameplay is very well rounded, but always logical so I didn’t find myself getting stuck very often, and then not for long. There’s a good balance of enemies (well placed and not overly relied on), interesting puzzles and fun exploring. The timed elements are fairly gentle, which should make this a level for most players. I particularly liked the way the game began and ended with finding one’s route through cave areas; it gave a coherent narrative to the storyline. The temple/water areas are gorgeous to behold and beautifully made. All in all, this is a pleasure to play and I strongly recommend it. Definitely a builder to look out for in future." - Jay (14-Mar-2019)

"For a debut release this is a remarkable achievement. Three levels of about 45 minutes each evoke fond memories of the BtB Asia competition from 2006. The gameplay is never too difficult for the average player, the ambiance is gorgeous throughout, the enemies are well placed and well spaced, the nine secrets are evenly distributed and not too difficult to find (although one required the player to shoot two wall ornaments, something most of us would never think to do), and the music and sound effects are skillfully applied. I certainly hope the builder has more projects in her back pocket. Highly recommended." - Phil (14-Mar-2019)

"For being your first level I must say that it is really very good and entertaining. The gameplay is fluent and therefore makes it attractive, the atmosphere in general reminds me of other levels with a similar theme, textures, lighting fit perfectly in this style. Maybe the placement of cameras that show the next step would have made it perfect but in general the game is good and the author has made a level taking care of details." - McRaider (10-Mar-2019)

"Really very good! a very well made and advanced atmosphere for a beginner, I'm sure that this author will be very successful ahead, I like the stories, the puzzles that are intelligent, I like the sound of the well-managed atmosphere, but nothing, without paravras to describe a good level I finished in 2 days, 6/9 of all the secret's." - PedroTheGamer (09-Mar-2019)

"One of the best snowy adventures I have ever played. I must admit the builder have put lots of effort creating this relieving game; However, there are some minor problems that require to be fixed, such as some bad pitched sounds, illegal slopes, etc. On the bright side, the cunning usage of puzzles, keys and proper textures guide the player throughout the adventure. And one last thing... the builder had to put some Flare items around the map, because the areas you have to explore are mostly located in dark caves and although the caves are stunning, the lack of lighting will frustrate you at some points, that you have to simply take out your gun out of your holsters and start shooting around with no purpose, in order to generate some bare yellow light... And, some dramatic music could be taken into account at some points when you encountered those mine soldiers, in order to bring game more to life. In general, a great game! Great job! Thank you!" - Mehrbod (09-Mar-2019)

"Gave me the same vibes as Search of the Sun Seraph and Himalayan Mysteries but delivered it in its own unique style. I simply have to take two points for missing textures and softlocks but if the author bothers to fix them my score will leap to a perfect ten, since this work is priceless and I don't have enough words of appreciation for it, especially after playing so many levels which were "only" good." - DJ Full (08-Mar-2019)

"This level set (3 Exits) is absolutely amazing in so many different ways. This game is one of those rare cases when the graphics work just right AND the gameplay is amazing. I've given both Atmosphere and Sound as well as Lighting and Textures the full score because it is really damn good, fairly similar in the gameplay department, but there it is about small things, so I can absolutely see other people giving this game the full score in every category. But let's have a closer look, shall we?
These 3 levels combine the elements of ice/snow with the Chinese temple themeing of for instance Tomb Raider 2, but mixed with a lot of different textures. The makeup of the ice level is a lot like in Tomb Raider 3 (including the icy water), while the temple areas bring in TR2 textures with a fairly modern shader quality and custom elements. A few times throughout the first level, as well as in the later levels you will find blue crystals littering the environment, like many TR4 ice levels, but smaller and non-interactable, the second and espectially the third level also have dark blue areas that seem like the temple is mysteriously corrupting somehow, almost like something grows within. But it's not all textures folks, the levels are have custom objects like bookcases, trees, bamboo growths, blue crystals, bells and more. In fact every area in this game is interesting to look at, especially in the second level that is mostly an asian- looking temple. Some rooms have more in them than others in terms of usefulness, but all of them have something interesting to look at. Be it statues, library-esque areas with more bookshelfs, garden areas, the detail in this whole game, but especially in the second level is absolutely incredible, I can see how much love and miticulous work went into this. And this seems to be this author's first level, so if this isn't quite the entrance I don't know what is. And so far I said nothing about the sounds. Most of the sounds in this set seem custom in nature as well, the heavy bass-ey sound of Lara's footsteps in the snow and on wood seem to stem from TR Underworld, and in AgentXP'S stream, the author confirmed a few other sound origins as well. This works more than well, it cements the atmosphere. Making the atmosphere truely stunning. The thematic cohesion between the levels is constant as well.
How the gameplay then? Through the games I have tried so far, a lot of them had very lacking gameplay. Not this, nu uh. First thing you will be introduced by in the readme, is that this game has a custom move, essentially you can jump up once while hanging from a ledge, kind of to give yourself a knock upwards. Works pretty well, is not overused, and even if it was, the move is quick and flows nicely, I was looking forward to climbs in this game. Additionally, the speed at which you shimmey along ledges is greatly increased, a change I am thankful for because - again - it serves to increase the flow of the gameplay, I appreciated that a lot. The riddles in this game are okay, they are not overly intrusive or challenging (except for the last one, the crystal room), though the timed runs all required me to optimize the pathing a little bit, which I liked. There is a riddle that requires you to only step on specific colored tiles that I enjoyed. Not just was the hint for which tile was safe shown in the room, but in fact the first tile in the riddle area that you can touch when just sprinting into the room is the right tile. So if you just stumble into the room and accidantly do one step too many you are safe. Which is very clever room design in my opinion. The only instances of level and puzzle design I did not get was the last riddle in a "crystaline" room, where the solution seemed obtuse as hell and I'm still not sure if I did it right, and another is the end of the second level. Where behind a big wheel are the final sections of that level that lead to the next level, but an entire previous area is there too, but is not required to reach the end. You get an ancient fan there that disappeared in the next level, so maybe I accidantly broke a sequence somewhere. You can jump past the big wheel on it's sides, but there is a secret in those sides too, so I don't think I abused a glitch there.
Now the enemies are okay, there are not that many, and I'd argue they can be fairly safely defeated, this set rewards you with plenty of med kits and ammunition to easily defeat all the enemies, even a revolver I did not use a single time. It should however be noted, that the enemy placement is well thoughtout. That doesn't just mean that snow leopards are found in cave-esque areas and always together because they each have a mate, but also the placement of the human enemies. In the first level YOU are the one intruding on their basecamp, so you usually find them ENTERING an area, while in the second level you are opening all the temple doors and do the puzzles, so enemies only appear in rooms you have already been to, often after doing a puzzle inside of it, because they are FOLLOWING you into the temple. I'm not sure that is intented, but if it is then that is pretty damn clever, to a point I have not seen anywhere else yet. So yeah, as previously mentioned, there are plenty of pickups in this game, more than enough to do plenty of mistakes. What however seemed only half genius to me, was the availability of guns. As I was making my notes in the background, I positively noted that this game does not have the Uzis because they would not really make sense in this or have any use, but then I got the crossbow for lasersight puzzles. And there is no boss fight at the end of this. So I did not use the Magnum (Revolver) pistol a single time, 1 - 1/2 shotgun shots are enough for a leopard, and 2 1/2 are enough for a human enemy, so there wasn't really any need for them. For future games I'd therefor recommend to either slightly buff the enemy health and make them more numerous, or to include some kind of boss fight / monster gauntled to provide an ammunition dump. Especially since Tomb Raider players are in my opinion fairly likely to overuse the normal pistols, so don't be afraid to challenge them to bring out the big guns. But these are small things. I loved these levels, I loved them so much I had to finish them off stream because I wanted to see more. Can absolutely recommend, would play again. Thanks for this awesome game, I cannot wait to see your future work!" - The Snarky Lesbian (08-Mar-2019)

"First, I need to apologize for my not so good English :) Well, I don't even know where to begin. I mean seriously? That's virtually impossible to be your first level ( small game). Let's start from the beginning. My first impression was WAU. The first level was really great. I love those snowy textures and caves. The second level was even better yet I thought after that not so long first level this game will be short. God how wrong I was. Second and the last level was pretty long — some unique locations with great lighting. Well, I should rate it in order. GAMEPLAY AND PUZZLES = 8. Because some puzzles were already seen in other levels or older games. There was some errors or bugs. For example, you can go down into the pit on the first level, but you can't go back. ENEMIES, OBJETS, CAMERAS = 10 Well I do not know what can I say about this, but for example, let's talk about enemies. Usually, my problem is that I put enemies almost everywhere. Every time you enter some bit area, there you will be attacked by a monster. But not in this case. Enemies and objects are really clever here. ATMOSPHERE, SOUNDS, AND CAMERAS = 10 Nothing to say here. I absolutely adore your levels and atmosphere. LIGHTING AND TEXTURES = 9 Lighting was, in my opinion, amazing, but I can't give you 10 points because there were so obvious texture errors. I know you can forget to textures some spot in the deep corner. but the floor in the lake and three squares without textures? Virtually Impossible to miss those sectors:)---------------------------------- But still I absolutely enjoyed your level and I can't wait to play the next level from you." - Sabatu (06-Mar-2019)
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