January 2, 2016 2:00pm
This entry in MobileSyrup’s Game of the Week series takes a look at the best mobile release of 2015, Square Enix Montreal’s Lara Croft Go.
2015 was a huge year for mobile games and a wide variety of excellent titles, spanning various genres, landed on iOS, Android and even Windows Phone. Contenders mostly consist of games that were included in our 2015 Holiday Mobile Game Gift Guide: Downwell, Alto’s Adventure and Prune instantly come to mind. But one title surpassed every other mobile game released this year: Lara Croft Go.
Lara Croft Go features all the correct ingredients that create a great mobile gaming experience. The game’s retro polygonal Tomb Raider-inspired visuals are refreshing and standout from the wash of other mobile games on the market. Its fast-paced turn-based gameplay is perfectly suited for the platform, and the game nails a dark, atmospheric tone few mobile titles get right.
This is largely due to the fact that Square Enix Montreal takes mobile game development seriously, a strategy other triple-A studios hopefully adopt as mobile becomes an increasingly important part of the video game industry. The studios’ two other critically acclaimed mobile titles Hitman Go and Hitman Sniper, were also developed from the start with mobile in mind, taking bite-sized portions of the Hitman series and breaking them into gameplay that can be enjoyed in short bursts.
The studio began the difficult task of bringing a console game to mobile in a way that makes sense with 2014’s Hitman Go, but then, against all odds, perfected that formula with Lara Croft Go. The generally fast-paced, exploration focused nature of the Tomb Raider series really shouldn’t work in the context of a touchscreen turn-based mobile title, but it does — almost perfectly. Square Enix Montreal pulled off something I didn’t think was possible.
In Lara Croft Go, players navigate Lara’s board game-like avatar through a series of turn-based stages, circumventing traps, enemies and solving sometimes extremely difficult puzzles. A recent free expansion called The Shard of Life adds 26 new stages to the game, giving even more value to what Lara Croft Go already offered players.
Related reading: Review: Lara Croft Go is another hit for Square Enix Montreal