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Six Colors

by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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By Dan Moren

Lara Croft Go delivers a quality tomb raiding experience on iOS

Note: This story has not been updated for several years.

I don’t play a ton of iOS games, but over the last month or two, I’ve found myself pretty consistently dipping into Lara Croft Go. That’s unusual for me, since I generally either play games of this sort in a couple of marathon sittings.

What I love about Lara Croft Go is that while it’s based on a popular and long-running franchise—Tomb Raider, which will hit its 20th anniversary next year—the creators didn’t feel compelled to try and recreate a console game experience on mobile1. Rather, the iOS game simply aims to retain the conceits and flavor of the series: you’re intrepid explorer and adventurer Lara Croft, and you’re making your way through a cavern of treasures, dodging nefarious traps and vicious creatures.2

At heart, Lara Croft Go isn’t a twitchy shooter, but a puzzle game—it strikes me as much closer to Monument Valley than to the actual Tomb Raider games, even to Monument Valley’s aesthetic. However, unlike Monument Valley, Lara Croft Go is a turn-based game: enemies and traps only move or act when you move Lara. As such, you end up going through a lot of trial and error to determine the correct path through any given level. As the game continues, it introduces more and more mechanics, but it never feels overwhelming—the developers do a great job of slowly amping up the challenge without ever really hitting the frustration point. And if you do get fed up, you can always put the game down and pick it up again later.

There are a few secrets scattered throughout the levels that allow you to unlock extra outfits for Lara, and of course there’s an option to buy more, though I didn’t avail myself of it.

Overall, the game’s a clever one, and I love that I’ve been able to pick it up and put it down when I want. (You could probably play through the entire game in a few hours—it’s not terribly long, but I enjoy doling out the experience in bite-size chunks.) My only complaint is the somewhat finicky iCloud syncing—I eventually found a fix to get my iPad and iPhone on the same page, and it’s been pretty solid since then. But beyond that, I feel like I got a pretty good return on my $5 investment. If you’re a fan of puzzle games, you might want to check it out.

  1. I’m not a huge Tomb Raider aficionado, but to establish my small amount of credibility, I did play the most recent game all the way through on my Xbox, and it was fantastic. Looking forward to the sequel. 
  2. There’s also a Hitman Go iOS game, based on that popular franchise, by the same developers. I’ve heard good things, but haven’t yet played it. 

[Dan Moren is the East Coast Bureau Chief of Six Colors. You can find him on Mastodon at or reach him by email at His latest novel, the supernatural detective story All Souls Lost, is now available for pre-order.]

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