Lara Croft iPhone game port is solid, Co-op mode needs work

Dec 22, 2010
Games

It’s remarkable how great a job Square Enix has done in converting Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light from a downloadable title for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 into an iOS title. The game is basically a point-for-point recreation of its console sibling, and is deep, challenging and fun. Unlike most of Lara Croft’s […]

It’s remarkable how great a job Square Enix has done in converting Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light from a downloadable title for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 into an iOS title. The game is basically a point-for-point recreation of its console sibling, and is deep, challenging and fun.

Unlike most of Lara Croft’s Tomb Raider adventures, Guardian of Light features a top-down perspective, and is part two-stick shooter, part puzzle-solving dungeon crawler. There’s quite a lot of combat to be had against various enemies, some of them huge (like a T-Rex you take on during a boss fight), and the game is filled with weapons you can find, buy, and upgrade throughout the adventure.

Even better are the various environmental puzzles to solve, and traps to circumvent as you navigate through various temples during Guardian of Light, which features Lara and the aforementioned Guardian, an Aztec warrior, as they attempt to regain an artifact and trap an ancient evil demon inside. You’ll use spears to climb ledges, and a grapple hook in various capacities, as well as switches and huge stone balls that have to be rolled over pressure plates and the like to open doors.

Guardian of Light also features a ton of things to do and collect. In addition to working through each level, solving the puzzles they contain, and fighting their enemies, you’ll also have various challenges to complete in every stage. Some are simple, like scoring a certain number of points, but others require you to dismantle traps quickly or beat bosses in a certain manner. Completing challenges earns you upgrades to your health and weapons, so they’re all worth doing and add a lot of value to the game.

The best feature of the game is also its most troublesome. Guardian of Light features an awesome co-op mode that requires a lot of teamwork and strategic thinking. All the puzzles that are solvable alone in the single-player mode require team thinking and planning in the co-op mode. In the iOS version of the game, this mode is all Internet-based, and it suffers from lag and some crashing issues. A title update probably will do away with those problems, but it’s unfortunate that the most fun part of Guardian of Light is hampered by technical problems.

The single-player campaign more than makes up for these issues, however, and if Square Enix gets on fixing co-op, Guardian of Light could very well be one of the most-involved, deepest games on the platform. Even with its current problems, there’s a ton of fun to be had here.

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Phil Hornshaw

Phil Hornshaw is a freelance writer, editor and author living in Los Angeles, dividing his time between playing video games, playing video games on his cell phone, and writing about playing video games. He’s also the co-author of So You Created a Wormhole: The Time Traveler’s Guide to Time Travel, which attempts to mix time travel pop culture with some semblance of science, as well as tips on the appropriate means of riding dinosaurs. Check out his profile.

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