Visually, this was an even tie between Joel and Jared for me, but I was slightly more curious to explore the rest of Joel's dungeon, so that's why he got my vote.
Well done. I like the whole "figure out how to approach this from another angle" vibe and the scenery.
Really appealing scene, tiles and colors. The floor torches look stange on the wall, and the ladder doesn't look like it leads anywhere (stairs might be better). As mentioned, a hint of ground leading into the pit under the central platform (which you have on the northern-most edge of the hole) seems to be missing.
Digging the Arbiter's Grounds vibe! I think the elevation actually is working with two small exceptions.
1) I want Link and the skulls to be resting on floor tiles, so that all the ground at that height looks like floor, and all the ground at the low sand level looks like sand.
2) The lighting logic on those stair tiles is really bad (guess what I'm studying in art school ). To begin with, the black outline really stands out as a flat visual shape, reducing the illusion of depth because there aren't a lot of black lines in the image (there are some on the walls, but hardly any on the floor). Second, the highlight along the left vertical edge of the tiles doesn't belong and is another thing which visually flattens the image. Finally, the shading on the stairs themselves is telling us that we are seeing more on the rising vertical surface than the horizontal surface we step on- which doesn't make sense because these are top-down graphics. I went in and edited the stair tiles because those mistakes were starting to bother me visually:
EDIT: It still feels like there should be a transition telling us where the top of the stairs end and the next surface begins, but I'm not gonna worry about that right now.
EDIT 2: Oh, I see something else: the bottom of the walls meets the floor tiles, so wherever the low sand meets the wall we need to see a downward slope, otherwise it breaks the perpective (it reads like where the low sand meets the bottom of the wall is just as high as the floor level which you need stairs to reach). Unless you're going for an M.C. Escher thing, you'll probably want to fix that.
EDIT 3: Same thing with the columns, they're all the same height, but the base of some reach the low sand, while the base of others stop at the floor level.
EDIT 4: Hmm, if I'm gonna be this technical then I should edit my customized stair combo in the lower right because it has one more stair than the others. I wouldn't change the size of any of the stairs, I'd just delete the lowest (northern-most) stair:
EDIT 5: Not a suggestion for your quest, but your image gave me an idea- it could be really cool if using arrows to pin Fire Keese to the wall was how you burned certain obstacles (like vines).
Edited by Cukeman, 02 April 2016 - 12:20 AM.