Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light for Android review
While we’re eagerly awaiting the reboot of the Tomb Raider series next year, there’s something else to tide Croft fans over. After a long gap, Lara Croft and the Guardian has finally arrived on Android, promising the same action slash puzzle gameplay as it does on the iPad and iPhone.
Can it still keep our attention two years on? We’ve been testing it out on the Sony Xperia Play gaming phone: read on to see what we made of it.
Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light first hit consoles as a digital download back in 2010, and was well received by critics. It’s now arrived on Android to show Temple Runners how it’s really done. It’s available on Sony Xperia smartphones only for a limited time, with all gameplay modes intact, as well as support for the Xperia Play’s dual thumbsticks and PlayStation style physical buttons
There’s a reason Tomb Raider isn’t in the title: this is a very different experience to most of Ms Croft’s high flying escapades. Instead of a gymnastic third-person platformer, this game is much more focused on using your noggin.
From a fixed perspective, you’ve got to get round puzzles using little more than a gun and a spear: the waves of enemies that you’ll have to gun down too are also a change from the slow burning Tomb Raider series.
Each level brings a new setting and more novel conundrums, and the co-op mode really makes you work together: you can’t progress without using each others’ skills. If you’ve got a mate to play with, do so.
Visually on Android, the game looks great, though not as dazzling as top end iOS titles like Infinity Blade 2. Inevitably, characters look slightly blockier, composed of fewer polygons, but that’s to be expected: most mobiles can’t quite match the Sony PS3 or Xbox 360 for pixel-pushing power.
We can’t throw too many criticisms at the game: it’s perhaps better played on a larger tablet than a smaller phone screen, but the Xperia Play’s perfect controls resolve even that issue.
There is one rather large caveat however: Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light on Android is a Sony Mobile exclusive at the moment, limited to just three phones: the Sony Xperia S, Xperia Ion and Xperia Play.
Hopefully it won’t stay this way forever, but there’s a workaround if you’re using a HTC or Samsung phones: you can play the full PC version through the OnLive Android app – you just need an internet connection to play.
The bottom line
Sony Xperia Play owners haven’t had the best time of things since the gaming smartphone launched last year, with few exclusive titles, and no Android 4.0 update from Sony. But Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light for Android is a rare reminder of just how fun gaming on the go with proper, tactile controls can be: for £1.99, it’s an absolute must have if you’ve got an Xperia blower.