Lara Croft GO Review

The original tomb raider returns for a nostalgic puzzle game.

Like most gamers, I’m thrilled at the recent reimagining of the Tomb Raider franchise. Not only is 2013’s Tomb Raider?a fantastic game on its own, but it’s also a great way to bring the exciting world of Lara Croft to modern gamers. However, the new series bears almost no resemblance to the original other than the star and her passion for collecting treasure. Anyone longing for a nostalgic return to the original Tomb Raider games can do no better than playing Lara Croft GO.

This game screams retro Tomb Raider from the very beginning. I’ve played the series from the very first one on the original PlayStation, and I love how the menu in Lara Croft GO is presented with retro icons that rotate in a circular 3D fashion. It’s also cool how these icons, such as Lara’s backpack, look like they did back in the day. When the gameplay begins, Lara takes center stage in the original outfit (baby blue shirt, short shorts, hair tied in a ponytail) that made her famous. It’s a great homage to one of the first titles that introduced 3D gaming to the world.

Playing 3D adventure games can be very awkward on mobile devices, so the developers decided to make Lara Croft GO a turn-based puzzle game. What the heck does that mean? Well, every traversable area in the game is broken up into squares that are laid out in a grid pattern. Players swipe the screen to guide Lara through each small level, and every move constitutes one “turn.” Fortunately, players don’t have to wait between each turn, so they can keep moving as fast as they want.

Turns come into play when Lara encounters moving items and creatures. For example, mobile platforms move one space per turn, so players must accurately time their arrival at the entry point for the platform or else they can’t get on. Another use of turns involves a giant boulder rushing towards Lara. Every step she takes activates one move of the boulder. Eventually, Lara is forced to jump to one side to avoid being squashed. Similarly, dangerous animals who see Lara will chase her in turns. This gives players the opportunity to employ various strategies either to avoid them or to take them out.

Lara Croft GO has great pacing. Getting through levels is easy at the beginning, but eventually players are forced to strategize several turns in advance just to navigate difficult areas. This becomes challenging when numerous traps and creatures occur on the same level. Some levels will have players thinking about how to grab a spear without being killed, which enemy to use the single-use spear on, what switch to activate, which enemies should be left alive so they can walk on a floor switch, and what the ideal path is to accomplish all of this.



In addition to navigating levels, players can collect gems and treasures hidden in clay pots. It’s also cool to collect different outfits to give Lara a new look once in a while. These fun activities are a much-needed distraction because the gameplay can become repetitive after a few levels. Killing creatures only takes one swipe if they’re attacked from the side or rear, but I would prefer using turn-based combat where each fighter takes a turn attacking or defending. It would also be great if weapons could be found and/or upgraded.

Nevertheless, it’s really quite amazing to see how much depth has been squeezed into a game where all players do is swipe the screen in different directions. Playing Lara Croft GO is no substitute for the full adventure, but it’s a great way to experience the world of Lara Croft in small doses.

Code provided by publisher. Review based on iOS version. Also available on Android.

  • Nostalgic Tomb Raider feel
  • Great use of touchscreen
  • Great variety of puzzles
  • Excellent visuals
  • Gameplay becomes repetitive
  • Combat is nonexistent

8

Upcoming Releases

Nostalgic Tomb Raider feel Great use of touchscreen Great variety of puzzles Excellent visuals Gameplay becomes repetitive Combat is nonexistent
Nostalgic Tomb Raider feel Great use of touchscreen Great variety of puzzles Excellent visuals Gameplay becomes repetitive Combat is nonexistent
Nostalgic Tomb Raider feel Great use of touchscreen Great variety of puzzles Excellent visuals Gameplay becomes repetitive Combat is nonexistent
Nostalgic Tomb Raider feel Great use of touchscreen Great variety of puzzles Excellent visuals Gameplay becomes repetitive Combat is nonexistent

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