Raiding Tombs in all but name
It's amazing that it has taken this long for the Tomb Raider heroine to show up on the iPhone, but dropping the ‘Tomb Raider’ moniker was probably a good idea by Square, this is not your usual 3D action adventure style game.
The storyline, however, is the one thing in familiar territory. Lara is in search of an artefact, the Mirror of Smoke. Told in a comic book style, Lara’s search takes her to Central America where she gets involved in a battle between the Guardian of Light (Totec) and the Keeper of Darkness (Xolotl). With Xolotl accidentally released, it’s up to Lara to stop the evil dark one and put him back in his place.
The action takes place in an isometric viewpoint rather than fully 3D, but this works surprisingly well for the game on such a small screen. Controls are a typically twin virtual stick affair, working perfectly well together with the style of the game and allowing many moves to be pulled off with just a simple bunch of controls rather than a whole series of buttons. Jumping and actions such as laying mines, are via buttons and, small though they are, work fairly well once you get accustomed to them.
All the usual mainstays of Tomb Raider games are there; pressure pads, traps, puzzles, mythical creatures. In fact, aside from the layout, the game is working by the numbers when it comes to throwing things in your path. That’s no bad thing, though. It gets the formula right more times than not and the ten levels on offer here are very enjoyable to play through solo.
However, The Guardian Of Light’s main strength lays in the option to play the game co-op, with one of you taking on the boots of Lara and the other the mythical Guardian, Totec. Puzzles soon make more sense with two players and the action works perfectly, it’s obvious that the game was built with co-op in mind from the very beginning.
Graphically, Lara Croft is pretty detailed and some of the lighting effects work really well in the cavernous environments. Occasionally the isometric viewpoint does make for an awkward companion to lining up jumps and I found it particularly tricky when needing to move boulders on to pressure platforms, but overall it does the job well in both setting the scene and providing a good view of the action.
At first glance, Lara Croft’s new outing may seem nothing like the Tomb Raider games of old, but it owes far more to Lara’s past than you might think and ultimately, forgiving the odd slip with positioning, plays like one of her best games to date.
- Sound: 8
- Graphics: 9
- Gameplay: 9
- Longevity: 7
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