There are many things I love about the old-school level design and one of them is the notion of interconnected spaces throughout the maps. I think that horseshoe designs and looping navigation in general convey 2 particular ideas:
1) The "Aha, that's how you get here!" idea. When the design makes a player feel smart for finding a way to a place seen previously only from a distance. The navigation is the reward in and of itself in that situation.
2) The idea of a real tangible place, no matter how abstract the level layout actually is. The presence of common themes and shared structural elements makes the world feel like it has some internal logic, which hin turn makes the navigation easier.
These are the priniciples I'm trying to stick to while designing the layouts. Let's hope that they turn out well
Meanwhile - some progress pics.
Spoiler: Map progress