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iPad  header logo

Lazy Raiders

For: iPad   Also on: Android, iPhone

Temple of BOOM

Product: Lazy Raiders | Developer: Sarbakan | Publisher: Namco Bandai Games | Format: iPad | Genre: Puzzle | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
Lazy Raiders iPad, thumbnail 1
Thanks to the likes of Indiana Jones, Lara Croft, and Nathan Drake, many people think archaeology is a non-stop cavalcade of daring stunts, exotic locales, and automatic gunfire.

Lazy Raiders rolls away the boulder of genre convention and lets a welcome gust of fresh air into a slightly musty old tomb.

By taking the ball-bearing puzzle game conceit, dressing it in a khaki hat, and applying it cleverly to the mobile space, Namco has created a hugely enjoyable departure from the standard third-person treasure hunt.

Digging in the dirt

Lazy Raiders is, at its heart, a game about gravity. Rather than exerting direct control over your lackadaisical leading man – who is content to (literally) let the world pass him by – you manipulate the tombs that surround him.

Each tomb is self-contained maze, with portly palaeontologist Dr Diggabone serving as the ball-bearing substitute.

You have to rotate each tomb around Diggabone, and help him slip, slide, and fall towards his goal: usually a treasure chest or glowing pickaxe.

Originally released on XBLA, Lazy Raiders was created for use with a physical controller, but it handles beautifully on iPad and iPhone.

While the touchscreen controls are decent enough – just drag your finger across the screen to rotate the map – you'll want to engage the accelerometer to get the most out of Lazy Raiders.

In this mode, the nuanced feedback of the motion controls plays off the satisfying physics to create a near-perfect synergy of wrist-twisting gymnastics and cerebral puzzle-solving.

Untold riches

It’s not just the controls that shine, either. Lazy Raiders keeps you on your toes by constantly moving the goal posts, adding more and more obstacles and variables as the levels roll past.

When you start, you'll be mostly concerned with accumulating score-boosting gems and collecting keys to unlock barriers.

Before long, however, you'll encounter boulders that, like the rolling rock at the beginning of Raiders of the Lost Ark, are more than capable of crushing a treasure hunter into a pink, inquisitive paste.

But manipulate boulders with care and you can use them to smooth spiky surfaces and fill-in lethal spear pits - a clever device that allows you to guide Diggabone into previously inaccessible areas.

Other hazards include huge stone blocks that you can only destroy with boxes of TNT. Those boxes need a flame to ignite their destructive contents, and you can activate and deactivate these flames by flipping the screen.

This screen-flipping mechanic – which can also be used to open and close certain passages – presents new ways to solve puzzles, and forces you to carefully consider your environment before you tap.

A priceless artefact

Impressively, almost everything about Lazy Raiders seems to have been given an equal amount of careful consideration – from the smart, charismatic visuals, to the elegant and constantly evolving level design.

It’s a game that pulls off a rare trick: effectively marrying the simple, kinetic pleasure of old-fashioned physical puzzles, with the ever-changing difficulty and objectives offered by modern gaming.
Lazy Raiders
Reviewer photo
James Gilmour | 20 December 2012
Lazy Raiders unites excellent controls with a simple conceit, and then builds on this firm foundation to create a top-tier puzzler. Well worth excavating
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