Game Reviews

Lara Croft GO - One of the best puzzle games this year

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| Lara Croft GO
Lara Croft GO - One of the best puzzle games this year
| Lara Croft GO
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You only have to suffer through 30 seconds of the crushingly bad Tomb Raider 1 port on iPhone, to realise that Lara Croft's antics aren't exactly suited to touchscreen play.

Hitman had the same problem, and Square Enix solved it, switching the game from a stealthy shooter to a turn-based puzzler in the brilliant Hitman Go.

And now, Tomb Raider has been given the same treatment - just with snakes instead of guards, and without the tabletop aesthetic.

Angel of Lightness

So, each screen is split into nodes and you move between them with a swipe on the screen. This moves Lara, but also everything else.

On each turn, lizards scuttle, boulders roll, and saw blades buzz along a track.

Puzzles are about being in the right place at the right time. Kicking a lever to trap a nasty lizard. Moving the tracks beneath a saw blade to send it away from Lara. Thinking several steps ahead to use a crumbling floor to your advantage.

This clockwork pace and grid-like layout gives the game clarity and elegance. There's an internal logic at play, which makes it effortlessly easy to understand how everything will work and interact.

Now it's just a case of figuring out how to solve the puzzle.


You'd think it would be simple. When everything's so tightly regimented to nodes and turns, there's a finite number of states that the game can be in. But, despite this, the puzzles can be wickedly smart.

With sharp ideas, lateral logic, and clever twists that make you rethink the mechanics, Lara Croft GO is constantly throwing out puzzles that will stump you. And you'll feel pretty smart when you crack them.

The only issue is that everything moves quite slowly. You can thankfully speed up animations, but it can still feel a bit sluggish to move through stages.

Still, you'll keep playing because the game is always introducing something new. In one chapter, huge spiders patrol left and right. In another, Lara can shunt pillars which - when used properly - can become platforms.

Rise of the puzzle solver

Did we mention that the game has stunning presentation? Everything is done up in cool hues and musty shadows, with a gentle atmospheric soundtrack. It might not be Monument Valley, but it could be the closest thing on the App Store.

Lara Croft GO is a terrific puzzle game, with a sharp and elegant design at its core. It's constantly coming up with new ideas, and presents them in a beautiful, atmospheric aesthetic.

Lara Croft GO - One of the best puzzle games this year

With sharp design, plenty of content, and elegant presentation, Lara Croft GO is one of the best puzzle games of the year