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BtB2020 - Beyond the Sky by IvanTRFan

Adrian 9 9 8 8
BlackWolfTR 8 8 9 8
DJ Full 8 9 9 7
eRIC 8 8 8 8
EssGee 8 8 8 8
Jay 8 8 8 8
Jorge22 10 10 10 10
Jose 7 7 7 7
Josey 9 8 10 9
Lizard Queen 9 8 10 10
Magnus 6 6 6 6
manarch2 7 7 7 7
MichaelP 9 8 8 8
MigMarado 7 9 7 9
Mman 7 7 8 7
Mytly 8 6 7 7
nad 7 7 8 7
Phil 8 9 9 8
Relic Hunter 8 8 9 9
Ryan 8 8 8 8
Topixtor 7 8 8 7
Treeble 9 9 9 9
Zuxuna 8 8 8 8
release date: 14-Jun-2020
# of downloads: 98

average rating: 8.02
review count: 23
review this level

file size: 111.00 MB
file type: TR4
class: Oriental

author profile(s):

Reviewer's comments
"I cannot agree with the lighting in the final section and the troubling lenghtiness of the pushblock. Also wait a minute, but weren't we meant to use those uzis somewhere? The rest is a short and swift infiltration plot. Due to the feeling of definite closure it provides, it's probably best played as one of the last of the pack... or maybe I'm completely wrong and it should all end with the fireworks in the cintamani level. Anyway, I recommend all of them to play. It is a brilliant batch." - DJ Full (03-Apr-2023)
"Good level design, a little basic architecturally. Lighting arbitrary, Sound cues ok. Outside snow storm design good, Tower trap design good, Hard timed run, tough well-designed challenge at the end." - EssGee (01-Aug-2021)
"And so my BtB2020 journey comes to an end and this nice level of just under an hour net gaming time was a really nice one to end the season with. It is fairly straightforward to get through in principle. At the beginning, the fixed camera angles are maybe a few too many and things are generally hidden by crawlspaces, darkness (or both) and there are rather too many pickups, but soon enough things pick up pace with an interesting multi level rotating blade room and a really fun floating island section where you get to battle two hammergods. From there it challenges you some more with quite a tough timed run that needs a bit of preparation to stand any chance of mastering it and a nice take on the usual dragon boss battle rounds it all up. I liked the general connectedness of the rooms and also the way the secrets link with each other and I can forgive the often rather square room geometry because I simply had a high entertainment factor in thise level. [55 min]" - MichaelP (29-Aug-2020)
"I think this deserves a little higher scores than it was given by many. There are some nice ideas here, the boulder, the stacked rotating knives, the prep for the timed run are some. Good secret placement. Jumps had to be carefully judged but not impossible. Perhaps the large indoor rooms were lacking a little in content, but overall a nice well made level." - Adrian (27-Aug-2020)
"I’m nearly halfway through Back to Basics 2020, and I’ve just come across my favorite story. It’s just… *chef’s kiss* I feel sorry for the remaining levels, because there’s no way they’ll be able to top this. It’s like the author just doesn’t care, and I can really relate to that. They have, fortunately, put more care into the actual level (although they didn’t bother to use any music for most of the flybys), but it’s still another one of those good-but-not great levels. I liked the snowstorm at the beginning, and I thought it did a good job at making the opening areas feel larger than they really were. I also thought the timed run was pretty clever. Just like in A Matter of Life and Death, you get to make a visit to a world filled with floating platforms, but it’s not as pretty as in that level and you spend most of your time indoors anyway. In general, I didn’t think the level was too visually interesting, although I did find the room with the dragon striking. There was nothing really unique about the gameplay, but I did think it was reasonably fun, and the forty minutes the level lasted moved at a fast clip. I’m going to stop there, because I’ve probably put at least twice as much time into writing this review as the author did into writing the story for the level." - Magnus (27-Aug-2020)
"This is the 14th level in the BTB series I chose in sequence of the least downloaded at the time. What I liked about the level: 1) The massive outdoor snowstorm effect is absolutely fantastic! 2) How the incense bowls emitted smoke when placing them only on the correct tiles. 3) I enjoyed navigating the green-mossy tower challenge. 4) How Lara casts a glowing light around her in the “floating islands” section (and subsequent areas too)… very nice! 5) I am a real lover of jump sequences so when I saw (albeit only a few) sloped blocks for jumping, I was a very happy camper. 6) Okay, all is forgiven about the nasty timed run because the Boss Fight is a BLAST to do. No guns required for the first part, just a lot of jumping around (which I’ll say it again, is my most favourite thing to do) and probably the only Boss fight I’ve ever actually enjoyed. Well done, anonymous builder!!! What I didn’t like: 1) The fixed camera without being able to tap out immediately is not exactly my favourite way to play. If it were used to see what’s behind you for example when making a jump or using the new back turn and grab move, then yes that’s very beneficial. But to hide a firepot from view so you catch on fire because you can’t see it, not so beneficial. 2) Seems like a small thing but I was not fond of the glass windows that can only shatter with the shotgun and not pistols which threw me off quite a bit during gameplay (so sneaky). And even though the builder left shotgun shells at the window, I still didn’t clue in and did the headless chicken for a while. 3) The not so common high rope swing move is required and if you don’t know it, you will be stuck. It is not mentioned in the walkthrough and it’s not that obvious at first glance when you watch a video walkthrough either. I’m also not sure how adding this move enhances gameplay. 4) And yes, there’s a nasty timed run… doable but you have to be pin point perfect in your run. The nice takeaway is that if you’re an average player like me, you’ll definitely get a feeling of satisfaction at getting through that timed door. All in all, I’m really torn about how I feel about this level which is not necessarily a bad thing. There are so many things that I really enjoyed doing (did I mention the jumping?) And a few that really frustrated me. I will certainly have to play this one again sometime. In any case, try it out for yourself but I would say with the very tight timed run and the uncommon high rope swing, not for beginner or average players." - Lizard Queen (27-Aug-2020)
"The gameplay in this level is the best part of it. I liked the trap challenges for the two prayer wheels, especially the one where you have to climb a tower full of rotating traps. Making your way over the floating islands is mostly enjoyable, though there’s a certain amount of backtracking involved. The lengthy timed run in this section, for which you have to prepare the way with a pushblock puzzle, is a little tricky, but also fun. The finale with the dragon is not bad in theory, but in practice, it just involves you jumping around on the pillars for ages on end, waiting for all the boulders to fall.
The earlier sections of this level – the snowy outdoor area, the caves and the interior of the monastery buildings – are not particularly impressive visually. The rooms with the two prayer wheels are especially very dark and bland, with no decoration whatsoever. The snowy areas can be rather atmospheric, but visibility is severely limited due to the fog. The floating islands section later in the level looks quite nice, though the interior of the building you enter near the end is unreasonably dark. I like how Lara’s body glows with a soft blue light in the floating islands section.
Overall: Not a bad level at all, though it didn’t leave much of an impression on me on the whole." - Mytly (25-Aug-2020)
"This is set in a temple implied to be high in the mountains, with a bit of a twist towards the end. The main areas look decent, but a lot of the lighting is pretty flat. and rooms range from interestingly organic to very cubic. Object use is fitting, but relatively limited. I did like the attempt to convey a high in the mountains design, since it was part of the concept for the map I wanted to make (and hopefully still will at some point...), and it and the linked caves are probably the strongest part of the map atmospherically. The gameplay is mostly fine, but for a relatively short and linear map there's quite a bit of block pushing, monkey swinging and other slow interactions. There is some nice platforming at points however, and the boss fight has a twist that adds some nice intensity to it. A fine level, but doesn't match many of the others in this BTB in either quality or quantity, and I feel time constraints might have harmed this one a bit, given how much better looking some sections are." - Mman (22-Aug-2020)
"Interesting, short and straightforward level that deserves some attention, yet is not a force of nature. There are interesting areas and rooms, many hampered by the use of fixed cameras, in my opinion. The beauty of the BtB2020 package is shown off quite well. The gameplay is relatively simple but interesting and somewhat diverse. I enjoyed the lighting and atmosphere throughout, especially "beyond the sky". The enemies are well used, in general. Pistols did it for me, as usual. The sequence with the dragon was my least favorite part of the level, since it didn't require a lot of mental skill. Thank you for this level and congratulations on the good result to your effort, dear builder! The way to make it even better would be to lose the fixed cameras, add a few sections with some puzzles and change the dragon "puzzle". I still recommend it!" - MigMarado (19-Aug-2020)
"I hate to see it all come to an end. It's almost like losing your closest friend. Without a doubt, this has been the best BtB competition ever, with three good levels, eight outstanding levels and four exceptional levels. I had to make a coin toss to eliminate one of those four in registering my vote in the online poll. This final level left something of a bad taste in my mouth, however, because it's the only time I had to use someone else's savegame in order to progress, and that came almost at the very end. That timed run was unfair in my opinion and an extra second would have made all the difference in the world. The problem was that Lara would almost always jump from that raised block and come to a stop on the ledge below instead of continuing with a fluid running motion. Even on those occasions when I was able to make it across running with an angled jump, I was always too late to make it to the timed door. Too bad, because in most other respects this was a fine raid even if you discount the excessive darkness in too many areas. You get a variety of "looks" here, including a floating islands segment. In fact, I'll mention here that, unlike previous BtB competitions, the levels didn't tend to start looking alike as you went from one to the other. Each level here was fresh and different, which is the main reason I consider this competition to be the best one ever. Congratulations to all of the builders, not just the ones with the highest rated levels. May you live long and prosper as you continue to bless us with your creative talents." - Phil (19-Aug-2020)
"A very good level, slightly prejudiced by too much mist around a hole with a ladder, two not very fun tasks for grabbing Prayer Wheels, and a little slow motion. As other reviewers have already said, there is here an expert timed run and a very nice pushblock puzzle as a preparation for this run. I liked very much Lara's body light when she arrives at the floating island part, and this was my favourite part of the game, although I didn't like very much the two repetitive big bosses to kill. I must say also that I didn't appreciate the new feature of necessarily having to use the shotgun for breaking a window and some jars. (In fact, I lost a lot of time searching for some means of opening that window...) The music and the camera hints are ok, and the dragon sequence, very original. Good job!" - Josey (16-Aug-2020)
"Nice and one of shortest levels of btb. I completed it in 51 minutes. Gameplay is good, some pushables, parkours, traps and time trials. We have also quite nice battle with boss. And I also liked the puzzle with four pushables where we need to put them on appropriate textures. There are also location very similar to floating islands, it's really nicely and wonderful done. All locations were also little poor decorated. I really liked the wind blowing on the beginning, it was very beautiful. Whole athmosphere with ligthing was wonderful. Texturing was little poor, weak various of textures and there were repetitive. I found 1/4 secrets. It's nice level that is worth playing." - BlackWolfTR (21-Jul-2020)
"A smaller level with some nice moments and ideas. There isn't much to say: solidly built, on point atmoshpere, generally decent visuals and gameplay, there even is that change of pace when entering the floating islands realm - but ultimately, there wasn't any "wow" moment aside for the aforementioned floating realm, and even then it surely could have been much more detailed and it didn't last so much. Secrets were ok, jumping over the items in order to trigger spikes and pick them was a bit unintuitive (I couldn't figure that out) and the ultimate reward, the Uzis, felt... jarring, when you already had the revolver and generally A LOT of ammo for stronger weapons... The timed run was a bit too tight, you have to do it perfectly in order to succeed, and it involved too much pushblocking for my taste; there was actually another really nice moment, after defeating the dragon the last fight was pretty original (would have added one more hammergod tho). Really, it's a nice and fun level, it's just flawed by some little msitakes, generic tasks and sometimes visuals (the two prayer wheel rooms could have used more care, tbh), so I can't really ramp up the scores even if personally I loved it. Looking forward for your next, hopefully more unique adventure!" - Topixtor (19-Jul-2020)
"I wasn’t at all sure I was going to enjoy this level as it contained so many fixed camera angles initially, but on reflection I think that was intended to cause a sense of disorientation in the snowstorm scene; it worked! Once Lara gets out of the storm, things settle down a bit visually and it’s not long before she finds herself in a vividly lit Floating Islands setting, when the gameplay really gets interesting. It’s not a long level, but it packs quite a bit in and the boss ending with the dragon is unusual to say the least. And, sadly, that’s it for this year’s superb Back to Basics competition." - Jay (11-Jul-2020)
"From the title, one might expect a floating islands type level, but that doesn't really come into play until the last third of the adventure. Anyway, this is gameplay-wise one of the more straightforward entries into the contest. The only real tricky part is the surprisingly tight timed sequence (that is neatly tied in with a brief raising block puzzle), which took me a couple of attempts to conquer. The design and texturing also seemed a little less streamlined and polished than a few of the other entries, although I liked the atmosphere of the floating islands section. Despite the area being relatively sparse and the textures a bit sterile, there was an unsettling atmosphere about it that worked rather well all the same. Overall though, this was a great way to bring this excellent BtB journey to a close. I would like to end this review by offering my gratitude to everyone involved in putting this package together. You really have outdone yourselves and brought me many hours of excellent, excellent raiding. Kudos!" - Ryan (11-Jul-2020)
"There were a lot of things I really liked about this level. The fixed cameras were a nice touch, although I know most people are not into those, and I absolutely loved the atmosphere with the sandstorm on the mountains. The inside areas of the temple were a bit too dim, not dark enough to require flares though I found myself cracking them all the time because it was rather tiresome on the eyes (I played in a dark room, yes) — speaking of which, I also loved that Lara's immediate surroundings were slightly brighter —, and generally speaking it was all a bit simplistic, with a few trap siderooms and a few blocks that require intelligent placement to provide a path for a tight timed run. The final encounter was quite nice but then it was over all too soon. With the level title and some of the comments I'd read I somewhat expected a full blown Floating Islands styled level, but that really was only a very small part of the level. A pity. On its own, it's a perfectly fine adventure however, so don't miss out. 55 minutes, 4 secrets. 06/20" - Treeble (06-Jul-2020)
"This is a very cleanly put together level and there's really barely a really negative thing to say about it - fluent and varied gameplay, a interesting timed run at the very end, decent usage of enemies (I liked the different approach to kill the dragon, even if it was a bit tedious), a nicely created snow storm in the outside areas and barely a fault in terms of texturing. Nevertheless, I think this level does not go far enough in creating a unique experience and mostly delivers just fairly ordinary stuff and things are slightly more on the simplistic side. Not a bad thing, but not something that I'd put into a higher rating range. I also think that the lighting is a bit flat and the looks of the areas in the two quests for the two prayer wheels is underwhelming with the same texture used almost everywhere. There are still enjoyable bits like the climbing of the tower in said room, the aforementioned timed run and also the boulder, including a nice hint for the shootable window. The four secrets are rather easy to find with one half exception (you'll see what I mean), and all in all this was good but not very good stuff throughout. Spent 35 minutes in here." - manarch2 (04-Jul-2020)
"This game starts in the mountains of Tibet, but soon continues in the temple and finally ends in a parallel world with many floating platforms. The tasks in the mountains and both tasks in the temple are quite simple, even if it doesn't look like it at first. The design of the areas leaves a lot to be desired, though. Afterwards in the area with the floating platforms the game flattens out, since there are hardly any tasks worth mentioning, except for the quite well thought out, but also very thight timerun. Here you first have to prepare the course before you start the sprint. But that was it. The final bossfight was, to put it mildly, a dumb joke. Lara has to run around and daround until the dragon is defeated. What's the punch line here? All in all a simple game without any special highlights." - nad (03-Jul-2020)
"a very solid one hour raid , mostly straightforward through different sceneries. More beautiful than what the screenshots can tell of it. The gameplay is quite varied and what stands out is its readability , you can focus on playing without wondering too much what it's all about. Even so it is not predictable at all. Good playability (except maybe one too many fixed cameras at the beginning). Some good ideas are appreciated , the enemies are not many but well used at the right time. Mabye a couple of areas could have a more varied texturing to be more appealing like the area with the rotating blades. By any means , quite a recommanded level, i particularly enjoyed that room with the rotating blades gameplay wise and the whole area with floating islands." - eRIC (25-Jun-2020)
"Not very agree with the other reviewers, indeed it's a solid level, but there are several things I didn't like: the panel you can't shoot with pistols, the very difficult jump with the chain in the floating islands area or the very tight timed run near the end of the level; also I couldn't understand very well the way to kill the dragon, jumping around and around all that fat pillars. The architecture is simple and many areas are too dark for my old monitor, but the way to prepare the timed run was a good detail. I think this level wont be very pleasurable for the players, but take a try anyway." - Jose (22-Jun-2020)
"I really have to praise this level. The path, not being simple, is never overly complicated, but the looks and the atmosphere are really great and the author has found a nice balance between different Tomb Raider features, namely exploration, action (including fighting enemies, mostly bosses in the current case) and puzzles in quite original manners. I even thought the floating isles part of the level was great, while not usually being something I enjoy. The moves are put to good use too and there's a mix of a simple puzzle with a tough-ish timed run that's really interesting. I almost forgot: the snow storm at the beginning is wonderfully crafted. I don't know about you, but it looked like a winner to me." - Jorge22 (22-Jun-2020)
"Very solid game right here. This adventure begins in the midst of a snowstorm as Lara climbs some snowy mountains and traverses a few caves in search of a mysterious temple. The close distance fog and the particle effects outdoors impressively sell the atmosphere and immersed me in the initial environment. I hoped the adventure would last more in this kind of atmosphere as the inner Tibetan temple and the floating islands section later on were not quite on par with the initial setting, but are still convincingly constructed surroundings. The gameplay involves light exploration mixed in with pushing puzzles, platforming challenges up a spire with whirling blades and later in the floating islands section, a few hammer demigod encounters to fight through and a few simple item quests that provide an objective for the player. Things wrap up with preparing a hallway for a tight timed run and a showdown with a dragon where Lara has to trigger rocks to fall on tiles in a predetermined order. I think the best parts of this adventure are front-loaded, and the rest of the level's environments didn't receive the same level of attention, due to time constraints maybe. I did also encounter a bug with the rope crystal, where I shot it before claiming the revolver and I never had a rope spawn to get back to the first set of floating platforms. Overall though, I had an enjoyable hour here. Well done!" - Relic Hunter (19-Jun-2020)
"A very clean and linear type of adventure which has good replay value . A good level for players of all types to enjoy, since it doesn't have many demanding or frustrating elements (except the only time I got stuck for a few minutes trying to figure out a timed run section) . I liked the final boss fight quite a bit . The only nitpick I had was during a floating island section , which at times could have a bit more shape and character (some of the islands felt too empty while the area holds great promise to further extend the awe moment) . Other than minor details, a fairly enjoyable one ! Good job" - Zuxuna (16-Jun-2020)