As far as adventure games go, the Tomb Raider series reads like the resume of Indiana Jones, only with a strong female character at the heart of the action and about a gazillion more PC, console, and mobile titles under its belt. Lara Croft: Relic Run isn’t one of the most ground-breaking of the lot, but it’s a mobile game similar to Temple Run, and that alone should be good enough to warrant a look-in. It’s got more oomph than your standard runner though, and it’s got a silly-yet-enjoyable plot in the form of the famous protagonist searching for a colleague and battling against an admittedly convoluted conspiracy. This review hopes to explore what’s to like, and also what’s not to love about the action.
Similar to Temple Run?
When you first start off in the game, your first impression is likely to be that this is all somewhat par-for-the-course; its gameplay fits in almost precisely with any description of your classic endless running games. Collecting coins is also an integral aspect of the game (also typical of the endless runner genre), and if you collect enough of them a relic will appear. It’s your job to collect 15 of these relics in order to unlock the next level.
Your control mechanism is touch-based, with your left/right swipes causing the endlessly-running Lara Croft to dash left or right to the next lateral track on the screen, all in order to navigate through jungles, temples, and many other kinds of surroundings. You’ll also be jumping and crouching (swiping up/down respectively) to avoid the aforementioned obstacles. So far, it’s not much different to Temple Run Games, right? Well, yes, but the innovations pour in thick and fast from here.
The first flicker of inspiration that signals a departure from the usual endless-running norms comes in the form of dramatic cut-scenes interspersed throughout the game. The camera tends to pan and sweep around when Lara Does something impressive (a well-timed jump or a vault over an obstacle, for example), and the use of slow-mo also punctuates the action with impressive visual flair.
More impressive than the cinematic aspects of the gameplay however are the vehicle-based sections where you hop into a buggy or other wheeled vehicle. Controls remain the same as in the regular segments of gameplay, only the pace is ramped up by a considerable degree. There are even sections of the gameplay that involve shooting by tapping on the screen. There isn’t a fully-blown aiming system, but it’s more than you get with a lot of these endless runner adventure games. Though these sections don’t exactly deviate from the on-the-rails nature of genre, you’re still treated to epic boss battles that many developers wouldn’t dream of daring to include in their games.
An Adventurous Game
When describing the game as adventurous, this doesn’t only refer to the many adventures on which you embark during its action – this also refers to the ambitious nature of the game’s content. Combat elements such as the shooting sections blend seamlessly with the vehicle-based segues as well as the standard on-foot elements. It is this seamless blending of a variety of styles into one Lara Croft-centric package for which developers Simutronics should be heavily praised.
The developers alsp shouldn’t be praised any less strongly for the graphics and general design of the game. It looks the part with its well-designed levels, abundance of obstacles, and let’s not forget the wonderfully-recreated Lara Croft herself. Lara Croft Relic Run only true drawback are the microtransactions, which tend to govern the pace of your progress if you’re a non-paying player. Still, it’s difficult to let this impact the fun because it’s still a free-to-play game after all. In fact, it’s one of the best games you’ll find lurking on even the most specialist of adventure game websites.
It is recommended that you give Lara Croft: Relic Run a try because, when it comes down to it, it’s not just another Temple Run copy. It has many distinguishing features and its gameplay cleverly blends multiple styles into one well-presented, excellently-designed game with heaps of content.