Game Reviews

Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light

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Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light

Gaming's first lady is about to be rebooted in emphatic fashion with the forthcoming 360 and PS3 prequel, but it's easy to forget that Miss Croft recently experienced a rebirth of sorts with this superb top-down adventure.

Originally released on Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network - and subsequently on iOS - Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light takes the world's favourite female archaeologist and places her in a twin-stick action-adventure set in deepest, darkest Mexico.

Tomb raiding we will go

Although the shift in perspective from third-person to top-down may hint at a change in gameplay, that isn't entirely the case.

Granted, there's a stronger emphasis on shooting, and the additional of a companion character (who can be controlled by another player) subtly alters the complexion of the game, but Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light still has its fair share of ingenious puzzles and exploration.

For the most part, the game consists of tasks and challenges, which offer a tangible incentive when compared to the rather free-form nature of Lara's previous outings.

The ability to use the unique skills of the two main characters also opens up plenty of opportunities for clever level design - something that's even more apparent when you're playing alongside a friend.

Deeper underground

On Xperia Play, one of the biggest gripes we had with the iOS edition is resolved. We noticed control issues when playing on the iPhone and iPad, but this is rarely an issue on Sony Ericsson's phone. The dual touch-pads offer precise control and mean that your fingers never obscure the screen.

Visually, Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light on the Xperia Play is a close match for the iOS edition, but there are moments of slowdown - an unfortunate but understandable failing which is largely down to the age of the hardware.

Still, these issues don't change the fact that the Xperia Play version of Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light is the best outside of a home console. The inclusion of physical controls makes all the difference, meaning you'll be more willing to endure the occasional dip in graphical performance.

Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light

Once again the Xperia Play improves on what has gone before. This version is enhanced dramatically thanks to the phone's physical controls, although a few ugly graphical issues have snuck along for the ride, too