Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light Review
- New direction for the Tomb Raider series.
- Unique twin-stick based gameplay.
- Meaningful co-op (with audio chat).
- Zoomed perspective causes control and visual issues; jumping and character models poor.
Perhaps it's no major surprise that a twin-stick based re-imagining of Tomb Raider would work so well on iDevices, but Guardian of Light goes the extra distance with a challenging campaign and a fun co-op style for friends to enjoy.
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In what was decidedly an odd new direction for the Lara Croft series, Guardian of Light by SQUARE ENIX didn't exactly wow audiences on the PC/PS3/360, but it definitely turned some heads with its twin-stick inspired gameplay and co-op features. Not to be outdone, the App Store version was recently released and while it's not as pretty as its console cousins it still feels at home on the touch-based platform.
Lara Croft has gone and disturbed an ancient evil once again (though in her defense it was mostly the fault of a rogue band of mercenaries) and she'll have to work with Totec in order to seal the big-bad away once again. The game is played in a fixed semi-isometric perspective and those familiar with twin-stick games will slide right in without much fuss. Additional buttons handily placed around your attack stick provide access to jumping, rolling and your selection of hardware, while environment based interactions can be touched directly on screen. Given the perspective and the floaty jumping style of Lara, navigating complex platforming sequences can be a hairy prospect, but more often than not she'll cling to the side of a climbable surface should you go too far, giving you a chance to recover.
Most of the game is set in an ancient Mayan dungeon and while the lengthy camera perspective results in enemies looking a bit plain-jane, the environments certainly remain top notch. Unfortunately it's this fixed perspective that causes most of the game's irritating troubles as it swings away to lock on to objects such as hook-points. It's not game-breaking, but it can become bothersome during some puzzle sequences throughout the game.
Perhaps the biggest selling point is the co-op gameplay that gives each player a specific tool-set that needs to be executed in harmony to get past the game's various challenges. Additional level challenges also grant access to relics and bonuses to equip on Lara, though this feels somewhat ancillary to the action already available in the game.
Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light isn't always the smoothest experience, but it's still a welcome change of pace for the series and a great game to share with your friends.
Description* Some users may experience difficulty connecting via Game Center with iOS 5.0.
“…a fantastic dual stick shooter that will make any fan happy” 148apps.com
“...a great co-operative experience” Pocketgamer.co.uk
“It’s a joy” GamesMaster
Now fully updated and optimised for iPhone and iPad, Lara Croft: Guardian of Light brings you an award-winning downloadable action/adventure to the palm of your hands! With fast-paced play in either co-op or single-player modes, Guardian of Light is a truly unforgettable experience for iOS.
AN INCREDIBLE ADVENTURE BEGINS
Join Lara as she ventures deep into the jungles of central America in search of the Mirror of Smoke, a powerful artefact from a lost age. Whoever wields this item has the power to rid the world of light, and hold the future of humanity in their hands. But now fate hangs in the balance, with the Mirror in the possession of Xolotl, the God of Darkness - Lara and Totec, the Guardian of the Mirror, only have until sunrise to defeat him, or the world will be plunged into an age of darkness!
PLAY EITHER SOLO OR IN CO-OP
Take-on Xolotl and his armies of creatures with an all-new intuitive and accessible touch-screen control system, letting you explore the world and solve the puzzles at your own pace. Jump in as Lara Croft or, for the first time in the series, play in co-op with another iPhone or iPad player joining as Totec.
•Fast-paced action/adventure gameplay
•Local and Game Center Multiplayer
•Co-op focused puzzle solving
•Player upgrades and unlockable weapons