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Lazy Raiders Review (XBLA)

Game Review: Lazy Raiders
Release: Febuary 24, 2010
Genre: Action/Puzzle
Developer: Sarbakan
Available Platforms: Xbox Live Arcade
Players: 1
MSRP: 800 Microsoft Points
ESRB Rating: E
There comes a point in a man’s life when he has to take it easy and relax a bit more often than he usually would. However, Dr. Diggabone is taking that a little too seriously; He doesn’t shoot, jump, run or even walk. Instead you have to flip and spin the mazes and let gravity do its thing so you can send Dr. Diggabone on his epic journey of archaeology to collect 16 lost relics and along the way get rich. So Lazy Raiders, a platform/puzzle game, was released last week by Canadian developers Sarbakan Studios. In it you play as a British explorer by the name of Dr. Diggabone, or if you want you can choose your Xbox Live Avatar, who is on a quest to find 16 lost relics across the entire game; the game also has 12 achievements and 3 avatar awards.

The detail is on each maze is beautiful!

The first city you play is the Seven Cities of Gold which is very reminiscent of the Egyptian tombs and has that underground feel. With the addition of spiked rolling boulders and booby traps, it makes for some exciting mazes. After Seven Cities of Gold is Arctic Caves, a cold and icy set of mazes, full of rolling ice boulders and icicles along the walls, much the same as the Seven Cities of Gold except it is covered in ice. Last, but not least, is the Wild West, one of my personal favorite cities, where in one maze in particular you are under a mountain and the maze is shaped like a cog wheel. It just brings back the memories of what the Wild West was truly like.

In the Willd West!

In each maze, you need to pick up Idols, which are small statuettes, then collect a certain amount of gold before you can pick up the golden pickaxe, thus completing the maze. Then, after a few mazes, you start a maze where you collect one lost relic; these are spread out through the game and through each of the three cities. The controls are simplistic to use but some can be tricky to master. Using the right thumbstick, you can tilt the maze, which makes the character start sliding and gravity takes it course. That’s not all, if you press A, you can flip the entire maze upside down which I must say can be disorientating, but other than that, it adds a new dimension to each maze. You can also press RT & LT to zoom in and out to get some much needed detail on your screen for those tricky parts of the maze where there are traps and it is a definitely feature you will be using throughout the game.
But if you’re like me and like to take your time instead of trying to beat the developers time, you can go slow and use the things that are supposed to kill you to your advantage. If I tilt the maze and use the boulders to destroy spikes, then dynamite to destroy flames and thieves, I can earn some extra gold in the process, but if you’re not careful you can easily get yourself killed or even have your gold stolen by thieves. You have the option to play as Dr. Diggabone or your own Xbox Live Avatar. I chose my own avatar simply because I don’t get to use him that often. By choosing my avatar I can make the game my own because I can quit the game, edit my avatar’s facial features and I have a brand new character to play. Seeing my avatar in his funky archaeology suit and sliding about in caves dodging boulders, flames, and spikes, outwitting thieves and other enemies, is pretty cool and makes a change from staring at the one main character, Dr. Diggabone.

Brrrr...looks chilly in the Artic Caves!

The game looks fantastic and plays the same. The graphics are amazing in 1080p and each maze played looks beautiful whether you are in the Arctic Mazes or the Wild West. The one thing I love is the pick up and play aspect of this game. The controls are not by any means hard to learn but some can be tricky to get used to. However, once you do, you will have endless amounts of fun. Also, there are leaderboards, something which provide endless amounts of game play, trying your best to beat your friends times.

Dr. Diggabone is about to snatch an Idol!

I felt the game was missing one thing – co-op multiplayer. Something like Splosion Man had, where you and your buddy could go through the mazes helping each other out. I feel like it would have helped make the game less repetitive and would add an entirely new dimension to the game.
Andrew’s Final Say: Yes the game has some hard mechanics to get used too, but when you do, the game is perfect for what it says it does. So if you’re looking for a puzzle game and want it to be a ton of fun, this is the game for you. The game is only 800 MS Points and well worth that price. It can get a bit repetitive at times with each maze having the same objective, but with them having different obstacles it’s always a changing experience and is a very good and enjoyable game to play.
Now if you would like to win a code for Lazy Raiders for free, all you have to do is follow the rules below.
“Just leave a comment below and give an honest critique in a few sentences, and include a few points I made in the review?”

I will pick a winner at random. If the question isn’t answered successfully, you will be disqualified. Giveaway ends March 6, 2010, at 12:00 PM GMT. Any entries submitted after this deadline will not be eligible. Winner will be contacted via email and will have 48 hours to respond back. Failure to do so will force my hand into selecting another winner. So please check your inbox and make sure you have Platform Nation on the “not spam” list.

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  • Chris

    I tried the demo of “Lazy Raiders”…which allows you to play the first five levels (out of 75 total). This is a unique game in which you don’t control the main character. Rather, you move terrain (if you want to call it that) because the main character is so lazy, he doesn’t even walk on his own…hence the title of the game. In honesty, rotating the levels around and flipping them upside down has me a bit dizzy, but the zooming definitely helps. Andrew has done a great job of explaining the basic controls of the game. It just takes some getting used to. I also agree with Andrew that multi-player would have been a great addition to this game…soling the levels together. It’s a fun game…but can get frustrating especially if you start rotating the levels too fast and wind up killing yourself…the Lazy Raider.

  • Chris

    Nota bene: I meant “playing the levels together”…not “soling the levels together”.

  • bdavid81

    The demo was great representation of what I’d expect from the full version. While it seemed easy enough to complete the levels in the demo, I can see the real challenge will come in Time Trials, and working towards the achievements.

    Nice review, though I’m not sure if I agree on the co-op mode being implemented. From the demo levels, it just doesn’t really seem like it could be executed well. Side-scrolling platformers are easier to design a co-operative mode, so if Lazy Raider took on a puzzle form, but crossed between games such as Little Big Planet & Pitfall, I could easily see a great opportunity for co-op play.

  • Chris

    First of all, I would like to point out that I am NOT the same Chris as above.

    Now, as for Lazy Raiders, I think it seems like a fantastic game so far. I have a hard time imagining how a co-op mode would work in something like this. Because you move the environment instead of your character, what exactly could you do with another person? If anything, it would just make the game unnecessarily difficult. Personally, I would much rather see a level editor. The ability to make unique levels that you can share with friends would add to the replayability in a huge way, I think.

    I do agree, however, that it is really nice getting to play as your avatar. There aren’t nearly enough games that allow this. Very nice addition.

  • Daniel

    As one who doesn’t usually like puzzle games, Lazy Raiders surprised me. The game is simple, yet its challenging and different enough to keep me playing.

    I found my self actually having fun playing this, which no other puzzle game apart from Peggle has been able to do.

    I also found the environments to be stunning.

    Everything about this game is well thought out, leading to an addictive and enjoyable experience, and that was just from the demo!

    However, I also don’t see how co-op could have worked in this game and like Chris I would like to see a level editor to see what mazes others could come up with.

    • Thinking back now yes a co-op mode wouldn’t make sense but what I meant to say was another multiplayer game mode seperate from the singleplayer. Thanks for your comment and everyone else thanks too, this is how I improve my writing skills by getting feedback.

  • Having not played the demo or bought the whole game yet, I like reading the reviews of people who write about said game.
    This one stands out to me the most as the person is a regular “Average Joe” so he is not being paid to review this game, is near the same age as me and know him on a level through Twitter.

    The way that the game is described is in detail and enjoy reading the articles that Andrew writes.
    To be a good writer at that age is something many of us (including me) could only dream of.

    Well done Andrew and keep up the good work! 😀

  • Very good review, nicely set up quick and to the point 10/10

  • Eazynem

    Sounds cool.

  • I had no idea what this game was until I read this review. Great job. Very succinct and informative. I personally like the idea of avatar unlockables. What were the items you can unlock?

    • Thanks man first review I have ever done 🙂 The unlockables were an archaeology suit and when you complete the game you get an archaeology hat. The other unlockable is just a female archaeology suit.

  • Mirpkered

    I liked this review. I remember a game with similar controls that also as successful.

    I agree that some type of coop would greatly improve the game.

  • FCB

    The graphics are really great and the gameplay original.

    At the middle of your test, i was launching marketplace.xbox.com to download the trial 😀

  • Andrew

    This sounds like a great game. I don’t see how a coop mode could work from what I understand of this game, since the different players would end up trying to move everything around them in different directions. BTW, the Seven Cities of Gold probably refer to mythical cities that Spanish conquistadors tried to find in the Americas. Wikipedia has an article about an old computer game with that title.

  • Majere Xyu

    I really liked the demo too. I was planning on purchasing the game to encourage my fellow canadian (Quebec) developpers, but I will hold until the giveaway is over. Nice critique of the game. Like the writer, I also really like to use the environmental hazards and traps to my advantage. I really like when developers give us that freedom to be genuinely creative with our gameplay. Long live Sarbakan!

  • PlayingMantis

    I think some sort of CO-OP play could be figured out. Gameplay mechanics for the 2nd player may have to be entirely different. Like say P1 is Diggabone, rotating the level (but not inside the level), and P2 has jumping and climbing abilities. Some areas could be fixed, requiring the players to work to get together to reach the goal.

    You should check out The Adventures of Cookie & Cream for PS2, it’s a good co-op puzzle platforming game.

    I used my avatar too, not many games to use them in!

    Your review is pretty thorough, the only thing I would say is if you spaced the pictures a bit mor evenly throughout the article.

    The part about the contest is brilliant 🙂

  • sKuLLmAn xXx

    The review is great and if im not lucky at this competition, i’ll certainly buy it. I hope it doesn’t get boring too fast, like Luxor.

  • This game sounds really great, and I enjoyed reading your review. You made this game seem even more tempting. 🙂
    Rock ON!

  • CaptainMurdo

    Very good review! Just keep practicing. You have a good range of sentence lengths, beginnings and vocabulary. I enjoy it!

    I will say however, I don’t like the wall of information about the game at the start (release, genre, etc). Seems a bit over the top but if it’s the style of the site…

  • Based on your review, it seems a little dizzying at times.

    The unique screen movement looks like it could be a lot of fun to play around with & also a little tough to get used to.

    The Seven Cities of Gold was an old C64 game lol – I used to have it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Seven_Cities_of_Gold_(video_game)

    I like that they varied the map locations/theme & the ability to use your own avatar is a plus.

    Thanks for the review.

  • eugaet

    The review is enough for me to want to download the demo and give it a try. The mechanics sound interesting, though the flipping might take some getting used to. I like that it’ll let you use your own avatar, I’d like to see that in more Arcade titles, as well as the avatar rewards.

    Co-op would be interesting, but I’m not sure how it would work in a game where the levels are rotated/flipped.

    Thanks for the review, looking forward to trying the demo out.

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