UPDATE: Lara Croft: Relic Run is now available across the world for iOS devices, Android, and Windows Phone. Please note that it may not be compatible with older devices or available in all countries just yet.

The upcoming mobile adventure-runner game Lara Croft: Relic Run was soft-launched in the Netherlands today and, honestly, it couldn’t have come at a better time. My day started off on the wrong foot, with every form of Dutch public transport conspiring to make me wish I had never moved to this country. Pangs of homesickness hit me while I tried to make it through another stressful work day with my sanity intact. So when I got home and heard that Relic Run had launched in the Netherlands today, I rushed to download it on my Samsung Galaxy III Mini and see what Lara’s latest mobile adventure had in store for me.

Let’s just say I’ve been very, very pleasantly surprised by the quality and gameplay of the game so far. The controls may take some getting used to but they will no doubt come naturally to anyone who’s a fan of Temple Run or similar endless-runner games. As someone who missed out on Temple Run, it took me a while to learn how to coax Lara in the right direction, using up-swipes and down-swipes to guide her over fallen columns and under low-lying tree branches.

But before you begin to worry that Relic Run is nothing but a Temple Run clone, fear not. Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics have teamed up with Simutronics to create a game that may feel like Temple Run on a superficial level but is still very much a Tomb Raider-ish affair. From the music, locations, and death-defying acrobatics to the obstacles and enemies Lara will encounter on this adventure, this game is a nostalgic treat for the smartphone generation.

Like last year’s Temple of Osiris, the game will contain numerous collectables and offer fun incentives (both free and paid-for) to boost its replay potential. Long-time fans will be pleased to hear that Relic Run will bring back some classic enemies (such as the T-Rex) as well as some of the vehicles Lara has used on past adventures (including a quad bike.. *drools*). Rolling boulders, swinging blades, collapsing floors, epic boss fights. This game is looking very promising indeed!

Since I haven’t progressed far in the game and certain features aren’t fully active yet (these will no doubt become available once the game is released globally), I can’t really review the game properly at this stage and can only share my first impressions of this fast-paced runner. But I can safely say that I’ve truly enjoyed every minute of guiding Lara through the jungle ruins of Cambodia. Or rather, guiding her to a swift and possibly painful death. As a newcomer to the runner game genre, it took me some time to get used to swiping the touchscreen to make Lara jump, duck, or sidestep (it’s so much easier with a PlayStation controller) so this resulted in funny rag-doll death sequence after death sequence… after death sequence. Ahem.

My only gripes with the game so far are the fact that there seems to be no way to re-play the opening cinematic (it mentioned something about Carter Bell being lost in a Cambodian jungle?) and the fact that Lara’s appearance has changed once again. And this time it’s certainly not for the better. Obviously, we can’t expect a free-to-play mobile game to boast current-gen console graphics, but that Lara on the main menu screen just looks off. Perhaps she’s still recovering from all the torture I put her through in Temple of Osiris.

So where does this new game fit into the greater Tomb Raider universe, you ask? Well, Relic Run is actually a Lara Croft game, thus it belongs in the same “universe” as last year’s isometric shooter, Temple of Osiris, and exists separate from the more mature, grittier reboot. So expect a more humorous and lighthearted affair than the 2013 game or its upcoming sequel, Rise of the Tomb Raider. This is a world where T-Rexes still roam certain remote parts of the Earth, where a woman can swan dive, backflip, and cartwheel her way through ancient ruins with nary a scratch, and where silly shenanigans are the main order of the day.

At the time of writing, Lara Croft: Relic Run wasn’t available to gamers living outside of the Netherlands but this should hopefully change within the next couple of months. It’s been an honour to be among the first to play this game but I can’t wait for my fellow TR fans living elsewhere to join in the run. Some things are just meant to be shared. So stay tuned for news of the game’s wider release for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone in the coming weeks!

Updated: Added the gameplay video shown above. This session was played on a laptop running BlueStacks and recorded via OBS.

More information about the game’s features and system requirements can be found on the official Tomb Raider blog or over on the game’s Google Play page (Android) or iTunes page (iOS).

NOTE: All of the screenshots shown above were taken on my Samsung Galaxy III Mini. Please keep in mind that the game may look different on different phones and/or OSs. You may download and use any screenshots above but please do not remove the watermarks. If you wish to republish parts of this article on your own blog or website, please credit me with a link back to this page. – Kelly M

Official Synopsis & Description (Taken from Google Play):

Lara Croft: Relic Run is the all new action adventure for nostalgic Lara Croft fans. When a shadowy conspiracy threatens the world, only Lara Croft is equipped to unearth the truth. Collect clues to uncover ancient relics. Run, swing, drive, and swan dive your way through beautiful and challenging environments. There’s no time to waste, but how long can you survive?

Key features:

  • Make your way through multiple ancient locations – each filled with secrets and danger
  • Power up Lara’s weapons and engage in frantic combat
  • Use parkour moves to create death-defying last minute escapes
  • Fast-paced vehicles like ATVs and motorcycles give Lara more ways to conquer the terrain
  • Epic Boss Fights – including the return of the infamous T-Rex!
  • Swap and upgrade equipment to give Lara the edge
  • Earn bragging rights on the leaderboards
  • Outsmart and sabotage your friends by Cursing their Relic Run
  • Each location features unique gameplay elements and brand new challenges!

Additional Information:

  • Size: 87MB
  • System: Requires Android 2.3 and up (please note that there is also an iOS version available)
  • Content rating: Low maturity
  • In-app products: €0.99-€49.99 per item

The above three screenshots are copyright of Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics.

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