Monday, December 5, 2016

Review Lara Croft Go

A surprise addition, although not unexpected, to the Vita roster, Lara Croft Go was the first in Square's efforts to bring its big-name game line up to mobile devices. Belatedly arriving on the Vita, and in the wake of Hitman Go's Definitive Edition earlier in the year, Lara gets a bonus episode to up the value, but is otherwise the same tour de force in finely-tuned mobile gaming.
Mixing your puzzle solving and observational skills, the first few levels see Lara elegantly leaping and tumbling around the levels, using her trademark moves, finding ways pasts serpents and spiders. All the while you have to be on the look out for jewels or artefacts. They may only appear from behind a distant pillar or tree when viewed from one specific tile on the step-by-step board. Vigilance is always required even if the game is pushing you to run like heck.
Otherwise, most of your time is taken up navigating trial-and-deadly-error puzzle solving, with switches, levers, collapsing squares, rockfalls and increasingly complex animal movement patterns that will drive you feral, trying to figure out the solution,

The new episode ups the complexity, with Lara and here mirror twin having to navigate dual-puzzles at the same time, which adds a deft element of trickery to proceedings.

In focusing on the puzzles, or getting the urge to run, you'll probably miss a gem or two, but can go back through each "storybook" from the menu to find where you missed them. As a distraction and reward for collecting the gems, you get to dress Lara in various costumes from her adventures, plus a few borrowed ones from other Square titles.

All of this fun is soundtracked by a neat collection of semi-ambient tunes, with crisp effects throughout (literally, some of beast movement sounds like someone rustling a bag of crisps). The graphics, slightly downgraded though they are, still look pixel-sharp on the Vita, with the game's giant beasts providing suitable menace. Sure the loading could be a little faster, but there's nothing to stop Lara Croft Go from being a brilliant burst of fun that will lighten up any gamer's evening.

Score: 8/10
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Price: £7.99 (PSN)
Developer: Square Enix Montreal
Progress: Platinum

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