Lara Croft Relic Run is a mobile
“unlimited runner” game by Simutronics. Last Thursday Square Enix invited me to
an informal presentation in London. We had lunch with a number of Square Enix
representatives including Iain Riches, producer of Relic Run.
Relic Run is separated from the
main “Tomb Raider” (“reboot”) universe and set in the “Lara Croft” game series.
The events in Relic Run happen after “Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris”.
Those who played that game will recognise Carter from it. The “Lara Croft” game
series is known for its nostalgic homages to the original Tomb Raider games.
Unfortunately, this series isn’t exactly the same as the 3rd person
Tomb Raider action games from Core Design. Guardian of Light and the Temple of
Osiris both feature an isometric view which (in my opinion) can hardly be associated with Tomb
Raider game mechanics. Lara Croft Relic Run is a 3rd person game
which is slightly closer to the original Tomb Raider concept than the previous
two games in the “Lara Croft” game series.
The game first went live in the Netherlands
in April. This was a test run, so to speak. Square Enix and Simutronics wanted
to test the game in an English speaking country that was relatively small in
comparison to the UK or the USA. They analysed the feedback and did all the
necessary adjustments and now the game is available worldwide.
Unlike a generic unlimited runner,
Lara Croft Relic Run features many interesting features such as combat,
vehicles, multiple locations, outfits and items that you can purchase. There
are currently only two locations for you to play but we were told that there
will be more available soon. Square Enix noticed that a lot of people asked for
Venice (from Tomb Raider II) – they really do read their forums so if you have
suggestions do post them there.
Lara Croft Relic Run has lots of achievements for you to unlock!
As mentioned before, Lara Croft
Relic Run pays homage to the original series. Not only is Lara a tough action
hero, Relic Run has many features that classic fans will find very familiar.
Square Enix included our beloved quadbike from Tomb Raider 3 and classic Lara’s
favourite bike, a Norton Streetfighter. I’m sure we will be able to drive a
boat if Venice will be added in a future update. Vehicles however aren’t the
only elements that will please the classic fans. Iain Riches said “You can’t have
a Tomb Raider game without a T-rex” (Crystal Dynamics take a hint) and so we
now have a t-rex as a boss in Cambodia (not exactly The Lost Valley but still).
Iain also explained that they chose to make this game in the classic universe
because the reboot is much more serious and realistic and with classic Lara you
can be more playful.
Relic Run features lots of
interesting artefacts for Lara to collect. My personal favourite is the Rhyton
as I come from the area where the Ancient Parthian Kingdom used to be.
I’m sure the Archaeology of Tomb Raider will now have to write lots of articles about these!
You can purchase additional outfits
and upgrade them to get bonus perks.
There’s also a social element to Relic
Run. You can send curses to your
Facebook friends (providing they also play the game and have connected it to
their Facebook account). Curses are short-term screen effects that distort the
screen in a variety of ways and make it harder for you to play. Curses are
cross-platform so if you play the game on Android you can send it to your
friend who plays the game on their Windows Phone. There’s also a leaders board
so you can see how well you are performing.
Every location has its own leaderboard
Every location has its own boss and loads of hidden passages so
make sure you buy a secondary weapon (you won’t be able to kill the boss with
stock guns) and keep your eyes open.
Square Enix also shared with us the
following details about future updates:
- There will be community challenges like in the
Temple of Osiris
- Cloud saving might be implemented so you can
play the game on multiple devices.
- Square Enix wants to hear your thoughts on
multiplayer and they’re very open to suggestions. Head over to their forums and
voice your opinions.
- They might add some scenes with Lara speaking in
- There might be additional skins for your enemies
(IE different skin for T-rex)
- PC release (as in an actual PC version without
Bluestack) might be implemented depending on consumer feedback
The game is very dynamic and
locations will change even after multiple re-runs. Enemies also change their
behaviour and become much tougher the further you play. However, I noticed that
there were a few repetitive animation sequences and sometimes the game decides
to produce exactly the same location that you passed a few minutes ago.
There’s also a problem with certain
Android devices. I can’t run the game on my Samsung Galaxy Note Edge and users
with Galaxy Note 4 also experience a crash upon start according to many reviews
at Google Play. I’m sure this will be fixed in future update. Also Lara
occasionally re-spawns in the most awkward places that give you no choice but
to start from the beginning.
I also enquired about controller
support as I personally like to play with a Moga Pro controller. Square Enix
said they were looking into it but they currently have problems making it work
during the combat sequences.
Lara Croft Relic Run is
now available worldwide on iPhone, Windows Phone and Android. The game itself
is free but you can convert your hard-earned $, £, ₽, € to the in-game currency to purchase upgrades.
Square Enix also plans to release more Tomb Raider mobile
games. There is no solid information about this just yet but I was told that
there will be some exciting news soon. Hopefully it’s not just TR2 finally coming
out on Android, though we do want it to happen :D.
PS. Apparently Apple is extremely anti-guns when it comes to
promotional posters and images, so if you notice a picture where Lara’s hand
has been cropped out you know who to blame 😉