Lara Croft: Relic Run it the inevitable Tomb Raider themed Temple Run clone. It is yet another free-to-play, three-laned, endless-runner. But at least it has the courtesy to add a little extra action and look fantastic.
Run and reload
On paper, there is little to pick between Lara Croft: Relic Run and Temple Run. You control Ms. Croft as she runs down a jungle trail, while dodging a seemingly endless barrage of pits, spikes, branches, and other obstacles. Failure to avoid any of these see’s your hero unceremoniously rag-doll to her death – leaving you to either restart or use in-game currency to continue chasing your most recent high-score.
The greatest strength of Lara Croft: Relic Run is its action. The game is full of scripted sequences that have been randomly sprinkled through each run. These serve to continually mix up the pace and keep it engaging. One moment you may be riding a quad bike, while the next you could be shooting at massive lizards, or dodging the jaws of a hungry T-Rex. All of this is beautifully rendered in the game’s detailed Aztec world, and animates wonderfully (providing you have a more recent device that doesn’t have too many apps running in the background).
While this makes for a visual feast, it can get a little overwhelming at times. Dashing forward and being confronted by a wall of obstacles, you may struggle to realize that the lane covered in leaves is actually the safe path forward.
What does it add? Parkour
Lara's controls are fairly standard for an endless runner. By swiping your finger in the desired direction she will switch lanes, while a downward or upward swipe will make her slide and jump respectively.
However, Relic Run adds a lot more ammunition to the endless runner arsenal. Wall running can (in essence) add temporary extra lanes to either side of the track. Lara even has the ability to use vines to run along walls for long distances in the same three-lane fashion (tipping the game on to a vertical axis). They are little changes, but they add a freshness to what is essentially more of the same.
But while these add tangible gameplay differences, there are also the little things that just add much appreciated polish. These included swinging from branches, heavily animated set pieces, and vaulting over parts of the scenery – a move that lead to my favorite tutorial quote ever, "slide up to parkour".
The fun isn’t quite endless
A tightly designed and varied three-lane runner, Lara Croft: Relic Run is hard not to enjoy if you hold the character in any reverence. As it stands, its biggest problems are also its greatest assets, with its detailed design and animation at times creating an overly complex world that puts too much strain on older devices' processors. But if you have a device that can run it, this Tomb Raider tie-in is great.