Last year’s Hitman Go was an incredibly pleasant surprise that smartly adapted the core gameplay elements of the Hitman series to a simplified style designed for mobile devices. Now, following in that game’s footsteps, we have Lara Croft Go, which turns tomb raiding into a turn-based puzzle game.
Each level is essentially laid out like a game board. Swiping the screen will guide Lara from tile to tile, and enemies will similarly move spaces as you take actions. You’ll push blocks around, hit switches to raise platforms, time your moves between spinning saw blades, and shimmy sideways until there is room–you know, Tomb Raider stuff.
It’s pretty simple, but idly swiping back and forth as you consider enemy movement patterns and how to proceed is incredibly relaxing. Most of the puzzles come down to finding a specific move to make which syncs your movement with the enemies’, and the simple process of trial and error is satisfying and perfectly suited to the mobile platform.
The only issue is the game’s short length, as it can be completed in just a handful of hours. There’s not much replay value, either, as each puzzle has only a single solution. There are collectables hidden in each level’s background which unlock additional outfits for Lara, but these add little to the experience. Of course, at $5, it’s tough to get too out of sorts about the game being a one-and-done affair. And while there aren’t any announced plans for content updates, Hitman Go had its content nearly doubled through a series of free level packs, and as many other similarities as the two games share, the same could easily happen here.
The game looks great. It has a less cohesive visual identity than Hitman Go’s board game aesthetic, but its flat, unshaded polygonal models call to mind the days of the original Playstation without actually subjecting us to the jaggy mess of that era’s graphics. Lara animates gracefully through each level, which really helps the game maintain the series’ flavor.
It’s a smart adaptation of the Tomb Raider gameplay for mobile devices. The core puzzle solving is fun and satisfying, and it’s a concept that feels most at home on a touch screen.