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Freemium Field Test: Lara Croft: Relic Run is flashy, fun, and free

Andrew Hayward | June 30, 2015
Free-to-play games often look appealing, but it's difficult to know at a glance whether the business model is insidious and fun ruining, or reasonable and worth pumping a few bucks into. With Freemium Field Test, we'll take a recent free-to-play iOS game, put it through its paces, and let you know if it's really worth your time (and money).

However, Relic Run's free supply drop--which is available every six hours--delivers a free injection of continues, gems, or coins, plus you'll sometimes have the option to watch a video ad in exchange for a continue after a run ends. That's all pretty generous, and the game is otherwise very hands-off with its monetization attempts. You can spend money, of course, but you don't have to. In other words, it's a pretty ideal freemium game.

The verdict

Lara Croft: Relic Run adds a nice cinematic touch to the endless runner genre, delivering strong production value while injecting some welcome variety into the mix. The elements don't always gel perfectly--the quick camera cuts can kill your flow, or make it difficult to spot the next hazard ahead--but at least it feels like a well-considered blend of endless running with the classic Tomb Raider spirit. A few smart tweaks could go a long way toward making it a truly great runner. 

And it's a really enjoyable game that doesn't pressure you to spend money, although you might be tempted to hit up the store if you're trying to top friends' high scores. Granted, the ability to spend money on advantages does dull the competitive edge, but that's true with all free-to-play games. If you can enjoy Relic Run for what it is--a slick freebie and very solid mobile spinoff--there's plenty of fun to be had.


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