“This post is part of a series exploring the history of the Tomb Raider series and its entries. Be sure to check out the hub article on NekoJonez’s Gaming Blog for links to all the great retrospectives written by other bloggers, and to find out more about what makes this franchise such a classic.”
If there’s one thing I’ve enjoyed in the old PSX games of Tomb Raider is the many puzzles you had to do when journeying through various tombs in search of treasure. It has gone up and down with many of the other games in Lara’s line up, but for a small indie developer at Square Enix saw to it, that she have a new adventure on the mobile platform.
Being the second game from Square Enix’s GO series, they have managed to come out with a game I personally had trouble finding any faults with. This might be one of the best mobile game experiences in a very long time to have landed in my hand.
What is the game about then? Well Lara is at a tomb where she needs to find the Atlas of Beyond. What does it do since she is trying to find it? That is never answered but it looks cool!
Alright, one problem I did have with the game was the story was more vague than any of the Soul Series or even the legendary Myst for that matter as it never seemed to be giving you that feeling of being Lara as she adventures.
That is not so say this game looks beautiful because it has this strange mix of being a cartoon but also a very old PSX game, that could be taken down to its isometric view and cel-shaded graphics, that gives the game smooth polygonal characters and scenery. A few times the game made me stop playing and just look at the scenery from the various levels, enjoying how the waters would run, the spiders would animate, the leaves would rustle as a breeze went through.
One thing that this game does absolutely fantastic for the most part, is the puzzle design that went into every level. It has the smart idea of setting you up easy in the beginning of the game and then as you further journey into the deep caverns below, the challenges becomes more and more difficult.
An interesting part of the game that I noticed, there is the complete absence of a tutorial or just any on-screen instructions to guide you along the game. Everything you need to know is already there in front of you and the game seamlessly teaches its every quirk as you progress. Death in the game isn’t necessary to solve a challenge, to a certain degreee, but will help you find the boundaries of the level being played at the moment. The challenges themselves aren’t too difficult, though experimentations are necessary to find the right path to victory.
The way you play the game is by swiping your finger across the screen in the general direction you want Lara to go. This can be done slowly, where the animations play out step by step or quickly if you continuously swipe fast, where the animations will be cut short. There are hidden collectibles throughout the game that will unlock various outfits to Lara which are simple nods to previous Tomb Raider games (plus the GO series). These collectibles are hidden well around each area with slight glimmer being the only indicator of where they are. I found myself revisiting the levels to find that last piece as it was stuck in a corner out of my vision.
As with any Tomb Raider games, there are bosses in the many tombs she journeys to. There is in fact one for this one as well, though its only one, it has a menacing presence as it lurks in the shadows, only to attack when Lara has gone too far.
The soundtrack that plays out in the background is enjoyable, the team at Pixel Audio who have made something that feels otherworldly with a hint of adventure to be discovered. Something that’s good to listen to but doesn’t really do that much to enhance the game. Although I always felt like the music felt a lot more like a traditional song out of a Deus Ex game.
All in all, I believe this game to be a success for the small company at Square Enix Montreal. It’s very casual and that is what makes it its strength, the challenges aren’t difficult and could use the option to have more than one way to solve the puzzles. However, this game feels like a small adventure of Lara Croft being played out as a special episode on a series ever evolving.
That is why I’m proud to give Lara Croft GO the score of:
It’s an amazing game and for the small price it cost on various platforms, it’s something to be recommended for all to try out just for a few hours of entertainment in classic Tomb Raider experience that takes place in a small adventure of our dear Lara’s tomb raider business.
What are your thoughts on this game? Let me know down in the comments as I hope you enjoyed this review of Lara Croft GO.
Stay Cozy and have a nice day!