In 2015 Square Enix launched Hitman GO, and it was great. 1 year later, they followed it up with Lara Croft GO, a similar, but distinct game.
Aesthetics: The art style of this game is one of my favourite art styles that I’ve ever seen. It uses low-poly models and sharp lines, with bright and distinct colours, one of the reasons that I love this so much is how it pays homage to the PlayStation original by doing this, the other reason is how they got the balance between the hard and soft lines perfect, making it look beautiful. This balance between the hard and soft lines means that the colouring work looks even better, as this lets the models colouring look both smooth and sharp. This can especially be seen in the environment, with the blocky style that the original had, but from an isometric viewpoint, with detailed environments, make it feel like you’re looking at an M.C. Escher painting. There are a very limited number of enemies (as they serve as part of a larger puzzle rather than combat encounters), but they all look great (especially the Queen of Venom). Each of the different areas maintain their own unique style, while still being cohesive.
Audio: The best way I can think of when it comes to describing the audio is as atmospheric. It feels like the purpose of every single sound is to add atmosphere to the game, making the game feel, well, atmospheric. One major change from Hitman GO is how everything is fully animated. While this does weaken the board game aesthetic that was present in Hitman GO; I like the decision, because of how important the acrobatics were to the original game. It also helps distinguish Lara Croft GO from its predecessor, as well as setting this precedent for Deus Ex GO). The sound engineering is good, but not anything that special.
Technical: The first thing I noticed about the technology is how smoothly the game runs. However, this smoothness is like a Faustian deal with the Devil: the game murders your phone’s battery with very little effort, making the game great to play on short bus rides, but not on long commutes. This sort of works, because of how the game is organised into bite-sized pieces, but they could have done something to lower the power requirements.
Story and Characters
The plot is very minimalistic and is told purely visually and rather well, but the it’s not like the plot is complicated enough. There’s barely anything here to say, although, at least it flows fairly well.
The game follows a similar gameplay pattern to that of Hitman GO: you navigate from point to point to get to the end of each level. This gameplay is influenced very heavily by board games (also working within a turn based system). The best thing about this system is how it makes you think about what you’re going to do and plan your moves. Another great thing that about this system is how it constantly introduces new elements and challenges, meaning that you can never truly settle into a pattern, unlike a lot of puzzle games. The game also has collectables, which are scattered across the various levels, that let you unlock new outfits for Lara Croft. It’s a fun addition, but skippable. The final gameplay aspect that I would like to talk about is how the enemies don’t have much variety, but the use of the enemies as obstacles means that there would probably be an information overload. The level design is challenging enough, though the difficulty level was too low for my liking.
8/10 Easily worth a play if you own the system, but no need to go out the way for it. This game is worth playing if you’re a puzzle board game fan. Everything about this game ranged from good to great, but not quite at the top