UPDATE: The game was soft-launched in the Netherlands in mid-April. Here are my initial thoughts on Relic Run along with some screenshots and a gameplay video.

After weeks of complaining about the lack of Tomb Raider news, we were suddenly deluged by a flood of information about the upcoming Rise of the Tomb Raider. And now it seems there may be another Lara Croft-branded game on the horizon: Lara Croft: Relic Run.

News about Lara Croft: Relic Run hit Twitter after some sharp-eyed fans noticed that Square Enix had registered a trademark and domain name for this mysterious product, fuelling speculation among gamers about what this meant for the Lara Croft franchise. Realising that the proverbial cat was out of the bag, Square Enix issued a short announcement to confirm that they were indeed working on a new “nostalgic Lara Croft adventure” for tablets and smartphones but declined to reveal anything more about the project at the time of writing.

Lara Croft: Relic Run announcement

Based on what little we know so far, it’s clear that Square Enix are working on a mobile game and its name would suggest that it may be an endless running game in the same vein as Imangi Studios’ popular series Temple Run. But is this really what we need right now? Are we beginning to reach “peak Tomb Raider“?

Here’s what my good friend John T (aka JHNGames) had to say about the matter:

“Whilst Lara Croft: Relic Run may prove to be an enjoyable experience, I think it’s symptomatic of huge problems the people behind the Tomb Raider franchise as a whole seem to have at the moment — a serious lack of originality, and no inclination of when to stop. Sometimes, ladies and gentlemen, enough is enough.

I’ll be elaborating on these feelings in a post scheduled to appear on JHNGames on Monday, but, for now, I’ll say only that I think the folks behind Tomb Raider need to let the franchise rest a bit. With the comics, the novel, the undeniably fantastic Temple of Osiris, and now this, they run a serious risk of over-saturating the market before the release of Rise of the Tomb Raider.” (Read the full article)

The Bad Signs of Lara Croft: Relic Run
The Bad Signs of Lara Croft: Relic Run (Image credit: JHNGames)

Although we don’t yet know the full details about the game, like John, I fear that Square Enix is at risk of over-saturating the market with Tomb Raider and Lara Croft-branded spin-off games and merchandise. I’ll reserve judgement until the mobile game has been released and I’ve seen it in action but I do question Square Enix’s decision to dilute the Lara Croft brand by branching out into mobile gaming, especially if the game turns out to be little more than a Tomb Raider-themed Temple Run clone.

Hopefully Relic Run will turn out to be a greater success than the short-lived Lara Croft: Reflections, which was cancelled before us European gamers even got the chance to play it.

So what do you think, Raider fans? Is Square Enix making a good decision to expand the Lara Croft brand in this way or should they simply focus their efforts on producing more arcade-style games like “Temple of Osiris” or “Guardian of Light”?

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