Hitman GO and Lara Croft GO hit on a cunning formula for bringing complex 3D console titles to mobile: don’t bother. Instead, turn the properties into puzzle games! Knowing a good idea when it sees one, Sony’s followed suit with Uncharted, now reimagined as a turn-based puzzler.
Freed from the demands of third-person adventuring and gunplay, Uncharted: Fortune Hunter is largely devoid of action and exploration, and lacks the atmosphere and character of its console parent (unlike the two games that inspired it). However, it retains some personality, mostly by way of protagonist Nathan Drake running about while Sully barks snark from the sidelines as a floating head — the coward. More importantly, Fortune Hunter is tight and focussed, doubling down on pathfinding and puzzle solving.
The aim in each of the single-screen challenges is to get to a treasure chest, grabbing other collectables on the way. Grid-like floors are packed full of traps, pressure pads and switches, and you must avoid being horribly killed by being shot by poisonous darts or falling into the inky blackness should you stomp on a pressure pad that makes the ground give way beneath you.
Movement happens by you dragging a line for Drake to subsequently follow. This often requires careful consideration and snaking paths to get safely past a barrage of dart turrets. And because this is a chess-like clockworkish affair, all environmental movement only occurs once Drake starts running. There’s no time limit, so you can scheme for as long as you like, knowing that one wrong step means instant death.
Early levels are simple, but interactions increase in complexity as you work through the game. You start prodding switches to raise and lower sections of floor, but soon end up blithely shooting dynamite to blow up massive rocks; eventually, you end up facing a set of levels played mostly in the dark.
Should you complete any level within a strict moves limit, you’re awarded a key, which you can give to Sully in return for a loot box. Some boxes fling coins at your face, but others provide unlocks for the console version of Uncharted 4, if you fancy giving Drake a snazzy new hat.
The moves limit works well from a difficulty perspective, too — you can plough through the game using a mix of brainpower and trial and error. But anyone who wants a sterner test can try and win all of the keys. And chances are, you probably will, because Fortune Hunter is a smart, bite-sized mobile puzzler that has plenty to offer.