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Lazy Raiders

Dr. Diggabone isn’t much of a self-starter. It makes you wonder how he ever got into the field of archaeology. With a name like Diggabone, you’d figure he was born into the role of a plump Indiana Jones impersonator, although he contradicts this image with a delightful mustache curling away from his pear-shaped face. All the way down here, in the confines of an underground excavation site, the Doctor remains a victim of gravity, allowing the world to dictate his every move.

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That’s where you come in. By rotating the level, or using the “World-Flip” function, the portly Doctor slides across the walls of each maze, kicking up a trail of dust behind him. Whether you’re a completionist aiming to nab every last treasure or you’re looking for a good speed run, either style of play is encouraged in Lazy Raiders. Trophies are earned for finishing under a set time limit or collecting all the treasure in a level. By accumulating trophies, you’ll unlock relic stages. The difference is that you’re competing with thieves to reach the dig icon in relic stages, and unless you’re careful, they’ll also take whatever gold they’ve come into contact with.

There are a few twists in the regular stages, such as traps which turn on and off when you flip the level. Flamethrowers built into the walls of ancient Aztec mazes, for example, are turned on and off with the aforementioned “World-Flip” technique. Sliding a TNT crate into the flames clears previously blocked paths with the explosion. Paying homage to Indiana Jones, humongous rolling boulders threaten our explorer, as well, although they also help Dr. Diggabone out by filling in pits of spikes.

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Solutions are always straight-forward and you’ll most likely only be repeating levels if you’re looking to place on the leaderboards, or are going for a higher treasure count. With 75 levels across three distinctive themes, it’s too bad Lazy Raiders only lasts a few hours (many levels can be completed in seconds). Spinning the levels can become far too nauseating after only a few minutes, which is a huge downside for an otherwise high-quality puzzle game. Zooming in on the action or placing filters to block out some of the borders provides a temporary remedy, but it’s not enough to forgive the design flaw.

It’s worth noting that Lazy Raiders was originally being developed for the Wii. While it’s easy to recognize the appeal of rotating levels with motion controls, the controls feel natural enough on the Xbox 360’s pad. Avatar support only sweetens the deal, providing a secondary dopey character. It’s good to see Microsoft’s not totally serious about the handling of their Avatars. Nintendo, take note: if you want people to embrace stupid caricatures of themselves, let them abuse their digital counterparts. Lazy Raiders is a welcome addition to the ever-growing library of unique Xbox Live Arcade games from small-time developers.

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For 800 Microsoft Points, you’re getting 75 levels of a puzzle game that has nothing to do with Tetris. Lazy Raiders gets almost everything right. If it weren’t so sickening to play the game, it would be much easier to recommend. Nonetheless, this is a strong showing for a developer you’ve probably never heard of. Lazy Raiders is totally worth a try for fans of strange facial hair, Avatar haters, and gamers wondering what Super Monkey Ball on a tight budget looks like.

7 out of 10

The author of this fine article

is an Associate Editor at Thunderbolt, having joined in July 2007. Get in touch on Twitter @Calvin_Kemph.

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