Tuesday 21 November 2017

Lara Croft Go review: Turning back time on the tomb raider

Lara Croft Go (iOS/Android); rating: 9/10; age: 12+

Lara Croft Go: She's back
Lara Croft Go: She's back
Ronan Price

Ronan Price

A MUCH-ABUSED franchise gets some love with this mobile-friendly reboot of Tomb Raider built squarely around movement puzzles.

Instead of wrestling with unsuitable touchscreen controls trying to emulate a joystick, LCG strikes a more considered approach based on fixed routes clearly visible. A swipe moves Lara one notch at a time along the paths that twist and turn through the rocky caverns of a jewel-filled dungeon.

But every swipe potentially brings Lara within range of a strike from a one-hit-one-kill enemy. Some of the wildlife – such as the snakes – stay put unless you threaten them with a (rare) burning torch. Spiders follow a pre-determined path and move as you move. Salamanders will pursue you once you stray within sight.

Effectively a turn-based adventure with echoes of a sliding-block puzzle, LCG impresses with crisp visuals and fiendish brain teasers. As the levels become more intricate, Lara must deal with falling boulders, crumbling paths, moveable pillars and timed doors.

Lara Croft Go: The dragon levels add a real frisson of fear to the tricky puzzles
Lara Croft Go: The dragon levels add a real frisson of fear to the tricky puzzles

The boss sequence near the close is worth the price of admission alone. Sustained over several levels, it ushers in quick reaction times as a new hazard, as Lara tries to outmanoeuvre a giant dragon while traversing the disintegrating caverns.

Costing just €5, LCG supplies a taut 40-level experience with several hours of entertainment. If you get stuck, you can hand over another fiver for the solutions to all the puzzles, which seems a bit excessive when you might be stuck on just one. Similarly, you can unlock new costumes by finding collectibles sneakily hidden in the backgrounds – or, again, fork out a hefty five notes to score them all in one go.

Lara Croft Go: Crisp visuals, moving hazards and smart puzzles
Lara Croft Go: Crisp visuals, moving hazards and smart puzzles

 Such parsimony doesn’t sit well with the generous, grown-up vibe of the main game but in this day and age of in-app purchases, it could have been worse.

 

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