We had some difficulty selecting our best iOS game of E3 2015, for various reasons. We already told you how much we’re anticipating Zodiac: Ocanon Odyssey, but Kobojo wasn’t on the show floor, so they technically weren’t part of E3. Seasun certainly had the best presence for Relics of Gods, and there was no shortage of nice looking RPGs, but most of these also also available for PC or Mac. For the best pure iOS game, we one again turn to Square Enix and Lara Croft Go.
It started with Square Enix’s E3 2015 press conference, in which Lara Croft Go actually got some stage time. Yes, along with the numerous big announcements the company made that morning, they actually made time to let Patrick Naud, Head of Square Enix Montreal, talk about a mobile-only game. How far we’ve come.
Sadly, you wouldn’t know this from the Square Enix booth, which had only a few iPads set up one a back wall, all of which were set on the recently released Lara Croft: Relic Run. Square Enix has enough top-level iOS games available now that they should’ve had an entire wall set up with a dozen iPads to show them off, as they’ve done in the past.
Be that as it may, we received a closed-door demo of Lara Croft Go with developer Daniel Lutz, and came away quite impressed. The presentation is very cinematic, with graphics that hark back to the Tomb Raider games which inspired it, but are also right in line with the amount of detail and color we want from mobile games these days.
Even better, the puzzle-based gameplay feels truer to the Tomb Raider canon than the console variations coming from Crystal Dynamics. Yes, Lara will have to kill some snakes and lizards in Lara Croft Go, but the focus is more on puzzle-solving and environment exploration than on gunplay. In the game, Lara moves along set paths, navigating various obstacles and traps to reach the end. And all motion is handled via swipes, turn by turn, making the game perfect for touchscreen devices.
We were told to expect 40 levels spread across five chapters, and got to see a couple of them. Unlike many puzzle games, the various levels feel connected. Square Enix uses the tomb depth and “camera placement” to allow you to see ahead to locations you’ll soon be visiting, and you often see how your decisions affect the puzzles ahead of you, or get hints of what you need to do.
And finally, we were encouraged to learn that Lara Croft Go won’t involve in-app purchases. Buy the game, and it’s yours to play without interference of ads or micro transactions.
The only thing we don’t like about Lara Croft Go is that we’re unsure of when the game will be released. Daniel could only tell us that they’re hoping to get it out this year.
Well, we hope so, too, Daniel. Between this our pick for the best Mac game of E3 2015—Sword Coast Legends—we’re bound to get a little antsy.