Version Reviewed: 1.0.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5
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While growing up, I could never decide if I preferred Tomb Raider or Tomb Raider II. Both were important to me in different ways, and I have fond memories of my time with Lara Croft. They both suffered from fussy controls, but it was mostly forgivable. The iOS port of Tomb Raider II has somehow made those controls even fussier, and made it harder to like.
As a direct port, you’ll be spending a lot of time leaping around and taking out bad guys with a variety of different weapons. While the first Tomb Raider was quite solitary, this installment pits you against many enemies. That means you need to be able to react quickly - something that the control method just doesn’t allow for.
Without the use of a controller (there is Mi-Fi controller support), you’re tasked with figuring things out via a series of virtual buttons, cluttering the screen quite significantly. There’s an analogue stick for movement, making it near impossible to stay in a straight line very often. Then there’s a button for whipping out your weapon, a grab button, a jump button, strafe buttons, camera button, and a 'flip around' button. It’s a bit overwhelming when you’re trying to time something just right, and can easily cause a careless death. Or three.
Tomb Raider II was always quite finicky with insta-deaths (such was the nature of games of its time) and it still looks quite dated, but those virtual controls make it all the more frustrating. Even the keyboard controls of the PC or Mac version of old were less awkward than this. Battling the control system more than the enemies you face means that Tomb Raider II just isn’t as much fun as you remember. At least, not on this format.