With some games I find myself either really enjoying the title or greatly disliking it without being able to put my finger on exactly why I feel as I do. More often than not, this difficulty arises with a game I don't enjoy, but it doesn't make for a satisfying review to simply refer to a title as "blah." Whether or not a game is blah is certainly a worthwhile question to answer, but the why is equally important.
The iPhone iteration of Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light is one of those games that gives me a blah feeling without my really being able to pinpoint a reason for it. I'm going to certainly try as the game is not without some obvious faults, but I don't know that there's really anything definable as to why the overall experience isn't a good one.
The game finds our hero, Lara Croft, on the hunt for a way to re-imprison Xolotol (a demon) within the Mirror of Smoke before Xolotol takes over the world (he was released by accident from the Mirror). Aiding Lara on her quest is Totec, the titular Guardian of the Light and a 2,000 year-old Aztec god. If that sounds confusing, ridiculous, and kind of weird, don't worry about it – it's wholly irrelevant in terms of gameplay. The only time the story really appears is in comic book-style cutscenes between levels. The levels themselves are full of monsters and traps and puzzles. Usually in a Tomb Raider game (even if this doesn't carry the Tomb Raider moniker it is a Tomb Raider game) that's a good thing – the traps are ingenious, the puzzles clever, and the enemies fun to dispatch. Virtually none of that is true here.
And there it is dear readers, that is why the game is blah – none of the three things gameplay is built around (traps, puzzles, and enemies) are very enjoyable to experience, the story is even more foolish than a typical Tomb Raider adventure, and it's really only told between levels. Great, so then what's the next question we need to answer? Right – why are the traps, puzzles, and enemies not terribly interesting.