When Square Enix announced that brutal assassination simulator Hitman was making the jump to the world of turn-based gameplay, there were plenty of raised eyebrows. After all, Hitman was methodical, but halting the action and requiring players to move turn-by-turn seemed like an ill-advised move for the franchise.
But when the quirky little title Hitman Go was released, apprehension gave way to surprise. Hitman Go was a polished, fun game that emphasized strategy, all set in a world akin to a living board game. Players used the turn-based approach to move Hitman 47 around a clean, sparse board, picking off targets and solving puzzles. What seemed like a shallow cash grab turned out to be an excellent addition to the franchise.
Now, Square Enix has decided to see the experiment can be repeated with the raider of tombs, Lara Croft. Whereas the big budget prequel/sequel Rise of the Tomb Raider will play like a traditional Tomb Raider game, Lara Croft Go will slow the action down and task players with using strategic thinking to solve puzzles and survive traps.
The game, set for release on smartphones and tablets, will have all of the exotic locales and tomb raiding that fans have come to expect from the series, but will instead feature turn-based gameplay. The announcement trailer shows Ms. Croft scaling walls, navigating dangerous tombs, and collecting items as she moves across a simple, stylized map.
This isn’t the first time Lara Croft has deviated from her typical tomb raiding formula. Square Enix published the critically praised isometric action game Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light, which was then followed by the well-regarded sequel, Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris.
While a release date has not yet been announced, Square Enix hinted that the game would more than likely see release around the time of its console big sister, Rise of the Tomb Raider. Furthermore, the devices the game will be released on haven’t been established just yet, but considering Hitman Go was released on tablets, smartphones, and eventually PC, it stands to reason that the same will go for Lara Croft Go.
While Square Enix has proven that Tomb Raider can survive in the world of spin-offs, it stands to be seen if Lara Croft Go will continue this trend. First impressions of the game are positive, but Tomb Raider has always been a series that emphasizes action and movement, so bringing the franchise into the methodical world of turn-based gameplay is certainly a head scratcher. Fans will just have to wait to find out if the odd combination pays off.