While I don’t typically review iOS games, I do have a longstanding love affair with one Lara Croft and the Tomb Raider series. Those warm fuzzy feelings won out, and I decided to take a look at the newest offering from Square-Enix, Lara Croft GO, which strays from the usual adventure fare to head in a turn-based puzzler direction. Will it work? Let’s find out.
Each section of the game is broken up into a grid. Diamonds represent where you and your enemies can stand, while lines show the routes available to you. Moving simply requires you sliding your finger across the screen — it’s highly responsive and almost never misreads motions or queues up multiple actions. Small arrows appear on the screen that are tapped when you can pull/push an object, and the spear is thrown by touching the enemy you want to eliminate. It handles great.
There’s also a nice presentation at work here with vibrant, colorful graphics that manage to capture the spirit of the Tomb Raider series quite nicely. Collectable objects are hidden throughout the various levels, cleverly blended into both the foreground and background. The areas are well designed and reasonably varied, though the entire game does take place in a single location so don’t expect massive changes from one grouping of stages to the next.
As noted, Lara Croft GO is a turn-based puzzler. When sharing the screen with certain enemies (lizards, spiders) and/or obstacles (blades) Lara will move first followed by your foe(s). Moving directly in front of one or onto a space where their next move will end up results in death. It’s a clever mechanic that often requires you to think two or three moves ahead, and once it starts introducing other elements — crumbling sections, fire that drives animals back, etc. — it can get pretty complex.
In addition to showing some complexity, the game also flashes a very respectable amount of diversity, mixing elements throughout and introducing new ones as you progress. While Lara Croft GO isn’t a long game with three primary levels bookended by a pair of shorter sections, it more than justifies its asking price ($4.99) thanks to its quality in all aspects, from presentation to gameplay.
While there isn’t a lot to do once you’ve finished the game, you can always replay levels in an effort to find the large number of hidden collectables. Each section has an artifact that can be pieced together along with a set amount of gems. Completing sets will unlock extra goodies like new outfits. It’s nothing extraordinary, but it’s a cool inclusion.
In-game purchases do exist, but they’re entirely optional, offering the chance to buy unique costumes for those that want to adorn Lara in Agent 47 gear. You can also buy the solutions to all of the game’s puzzles, though that seems like an odd move if you’re buying a puzzler.
Even though Lara Croft GO takes an entirely different approach than the Tomb Raider consoles series, it still succeeds in a way that so many titles that try to make that transition do not.