Square Enix’s Tomb Raider Endless Runner Breathes New Life into the Genre

Like many other publishers, Square Enix have entered into the mobile “cash, grab and run,” but have they actually put time and effort into a mobile app to create a well-crafted mobile gaming experience? Lara Croft is speeding across all mobile devices in her debut of the randomly generated linear running app experience, but is this just another endless runner that will clutter up our App stores?

The sub-genre of endless runner games has taken mobile devices by storm thanks to the endless hits like Temple Run and Jetpack Joyride. Now Square Enix is taking a shot at the genre with their newly-released endless runner, Lara Croft: Relic Run. Lara Croft’s take on the mobile running app is a free-to-play game where she finds herself doing more than just running. Lara pulls out all the stops of an action/adventure hero from shooting bad guys, hanging by a rope from the side of a cliff, driving various vehicles, to pulling off some parkour jumps and wall runs.

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The foundation of the game is like any other endless runner; the player uses touch actions to evade hurdles, obstructions and blockades, although Square takes it a step further and breathes new life into the endless runner genre that surprisingly other endless runners haven’t tried taking a crack at before. In the case of Lara Croft: Relic Run, tedious repetition of the gameplay is eluded creatively by going even further and introducing segments that put the player in all sorts of situations. Sometimes the player is able to drive vehicles such as a dune buggy or hop on Lara’s motorcycle for a spin of new gameplay elements that keep the endless running fresh and interesting, while at other points, the player may come across the T-Rex from the first installment of the Tomb Raider games and be chased by it for a duration of time. Square doesn’t stop there for a comprehensive change of endless runner gameplay, introducing sections where you can shoot bad guys attacking you on your run adding a welcomed gameplay element to the genre and the ability to unlock new levels.

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Although with plenty of new engaging gameplay elements to keep mobile players retuning to the app for a long time, there is still (as always) the transportation of many old ones such as the ability to buy in-game shop items such as weapon upgrades, outfits and resurrection stones in exchange for real hard-earned money through mircotransactions instead of spending countless hours collecting absurd amounts of in-game coins. Square Enix is not new to mobile games as they have already launched Tomb Raider I and Tomb Raider II on mobile markets and it’s refreshing to see that Square has made Lara Croft: Relic Run more than Temple Run with a Tomb Raider skin over it. Although many gamers dislike games like these, as they are no more than a ploy for an over exploited model of business, the game has gone further than any before as it actually puts in an effort to take the foundations of the original model and build upon them.

The overall look and feel of Relic Run is pleasant compared to previous endless runner successors and Lara brings a new challenging and surprisingly fun component to the game. For a gamer who hates mobile games with a passion, Lara Croft: Relic Run had actually supplied a few playthroughs of endless running fun.