Game Review: Tomb Raider (Mobile)


The original Tomb Raider on iOS, huh? I didn’t expect that but as I’m finding out now more & more games that I thought could never be released on the IPad are turning up. Most recently the original Bioshock arrived!

So how does Tomb Raider work on an IPad? Poorly…let me explain.

(Just to add that I am aware the game will work better with an external controller however this review is based off the touchscreen controls).

This is the original Tomb Raider as it appeared back on the PS1 but with much sharper graphics & detail. It looks old but really pretty & sharp even if everything seems to have edges. If you don’t know the story it is extremely straight-forward…

Lara Croft is a British explorer hired to find a mysterious artifact called the Scion in the mountains of Peru. Once she finds it she is attacked by her employer & after fighting him off finds out that the artifact she discovered was one part of bigger piece so she sets about finding the rest.

Lara in front of a puzzle

This is the game in a nutshell…you control Lara in a variety of ancient locations dealing with all manner of puzzles, hazards & situations. The bigger story revolves around the ancient land of Atlantis & the power a completed Scion can give.

The locations that you visit as Lara are wildly different & increasingly difficult. Tomb Raider is less about enemy hazards as it is about environmental hazards. Lara can run, jump, climb, swing on ropes, flip backwards & traverse extremely hostile environments. Control is key as a wrong step will see Lara falling to her doom or becoming lunch for some of the beasties that are present.

Lara fighting

Now if you’ve played Tomb Raider on the original PS1 or even the Anniversary version on the Xbox 360 you‘re sure to be thinking how on earth can the controls work on the iPad?

Well, the answer is…badly. For starters the amount of things Lara can do results in this mess:

Lara hitting a switch

There is a game under there somewhere….

Even with that mess I was still excited to try out a game I only got into with the Anniversary edition but within 5 minutes I was grinding my teeth in frustration. It is so difficult to control that it had me wanting to turn it off after the first few tries.

Remember the first level where you have to cross 2 wooden bridges & the 2nd collapses into a small area with 2 wolves? It took me 20 minutes to get past this area as the controls just couldn’t get the precise movements I needed. Fighting the 2 wolves was a nightmare & I died several times at them. This is within 10 minutes of the start…

Lara jumping for a ledge

Perseverance will help & as the controls become familiar it gets easier but not by much. I found I was saving every time I came to a difficult jump as I would almost always fail it first time. In the end I made it to the Monastery level & promptly gave up playing it after what felt like my 500th death. I don’t get how some of the later puzzles would be possible with controls like this.

Lara's House

A great game ruined by the worst controls I have seen in an iOS game & the best argument I’ve seen for getting an external controller.

Tomb Raider
  • 3/10
    The Final Score - 3/10
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