Developer: Square Enix Montreal
Release Date: 8/27/2015
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The Good: Fantastic visuals, brilliant puzzle design, perfect difficulty, replay value, good length
The Bad: An occasional puzzle will infuriate some people, it ends
Lara Croft has made a huge comeback thanks to 2013’s Tomb Raider reboot. With her spin-off top down series, Lara was bound to find her way onto the mobile market. Feeding off the success of Hitman GO, Square Enix takes another popular franchise and ups the ante on the GO series. With fantastically designed puzzles, great graphics, and easy controls, Lara Croft GO is the best mobile game released this year.
If you played Hitman GO you will be in familiar territory. The levels are comprised of squares that Lara moves along, these squares have dots on them so you know which ones you can land on. There are various puzzles that will make you really think before advancing to the next level. From pulling switches, avoiding enemies, killing enemies, moving platforms, moving stone pillars and various other gameplay tidbits. It’s not just as easy as pull this switch over here and that switch and be done. Enemies play a huge role in this game and the movement is key here. Every time Lara moves a space so does an enemy. You must line up your moves to avoid the enemy or go around them. The puzzles are brillantly laid out here and will constantly keep you in check.
The game also felt progressively balanced in difficulty. I started off clearing levels quickly and then slowly had to start thinking. Once I thought I had mastered certain gameplay elements another was thrown at me and made me think all over again. I can’t stress enough at how well these puzzles are designed; they feel like they were made with care and delicate thought in each and every square. In between solving puzzles there are hidden vases throughout the level and hold gems which will unlock outfits for Lara if all are found in the level.
The game is also quite a decent length. It took me a good two weeks to finish the game and there is replay value here. Throughout the whole game I never felt like it was impossible or too hard. It was always something that stared me right in the face and when I figured out the puzzles slowly I had a lot of “Aha!” moments which are so satisfying. Some puzzles I really had to work on and some were quite easy, but the easy ones in between keep it from getting too frustrating.
The graphics in Lara Croft GO are beautiful papercraft models with great lighting effects and high quality textures. This is a high-end mobile game at its finest and I firmly believe every Tomb Raider or puzzle fan must own this. I hope to see more games in the GO series as they are addictive and so wonderfully crafted. This is a hidden gem and an oasis among awful and ugly free to play games.