If Lara Croft GO is a one trick pony, it is Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron. Lara Croft GO has a beautiful aesthetic and a well-realized puzzle dynamic, unfortunately, it is over rather quick.
Lara Croft GO banks on the idea the new Rise of the Tomb Raider is expounding upon; people want to see Lara Croft and they want to see her exploring tombs. Enter Lara Croft GO, which explores one tomb in depth for a couple hours as you look to capture the Atlas of Beyond. As it is a smaller title, this goes back to the days of Lara Croft exploring tombs and retrieving artifacts without much of a larger story involved.
As a game focused around puzzles, the game uses a swipe mechanic to allow the player to move through each level. Lara moves one increment at a time on the stage with each swipe of the screen. However, the game does provide some obstacles. As you progress, you run into weak points in the ground, which you need to note how many times you can step on them before they fall through.
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You have to learn how each opposing character you run into on stages will react to your movements. For instance, when your character makes a motion forward, an opposing character obstacle may chase after you. You will need to know how many spaces that enemy stays behind and when it will attack. When traps are sprung, you will need to figure out how to avoid them and sometimes you may even need to figure out how to spring some traps in order to open up a goal to move forward.
The puzzle design in Lara Croft GO is very simplistic, but offers a much more in-depth experience from a simple mechanic than one would expect at the initial outset of the game. This game design is extremely well implemented and works to create tension as you try to figure out the path forward. The game also teaches you how to encounter and deal with different enemies in smaller set pieces before unleashing larger puzzle dynamics upon you.
The design limitations of the kinds of mobile experiences Lara Croft GO is going for definitely impact some of the things it does. It does not want to vary off of its puzzler goal, so even the chase sequences where you run from boulders or avoid traps are designed as an ‘I move, You move’ puzzling mechanic. There are very few surprises designed into the game and that goes for play style, character design, and environmental design.
None of this is to say Lara Croft GO is bad. The intention to create a streamlined puzzle character starring the world’s most famous tomb raider works really well. The music is very serene and picks up where it needs to during escape and danger scenarios. The boss fight sequences towards the end of the game are extremely well designed and even caused me to think a bit harder than I normally would in many other puzzler games I have played.
Ultimately, the largest issue with Lara Croft GO is after you have finished this one tomb, you want to do more. Unfortunately, there is not much more to grasp onto here. There are some collectible to let you go back through the tomb again and look for them, but once you are done with the game, it is basically over.
If you are looking for a well-designed puzzler, Lara Croft GO is the game for you. It is a good value buy at $5 in that it provides a good stop and go puzzle game that will serve you well in short bursts before coming back to it. Just do not expect it to last too long.
Lara Croft GO is out now on mobile and tablet devices now.
A copy of this game was provided to GameSided for the purpose of this review. Click here to learn more about our Review Policy.
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