Iron Man 3: The Official Game – 8 GPPs
With Tony Stark‘s latest action-packed adventure now in theatres, and receiving some decent reviews (one of them mine), we now turn to the obligatory movie tie-in game of the same name. Thankfully with an IP like Iron Man there are so many avenues of approach when it comes to a game that it can be easy to get it right, but just as easy to get wrong.
Gameloft are the company bringing Marvel‘s “genius billionaire playboy philanthropist” to our handheld devices, and I’m happy to say they’ve done a decent job. Iron Man 3: The Official Game was released the same day the movie hit the cinemas here in the UK (April 25th), and has quickly been climbing the ranks of the Google Play Store and Apple App Store as though they were given a dose of Extremis.
The game is set after the events of the movie (no, you won’t find any spoilers here, so feel free to read on), where Tony has once again taken up his role as a peacekeeper, dealing with terrorist threats and supervillains all over the world. The link to the movie is somewhat tenuous, in that every now and again you’ll come up against some bad guys that are infused with Extremis. So if I’m honest, Gameloft could’ve just called this “Iron Man: The Official Game”, and no-one would bat an eyelid. But in all honesty, it doesn’t really matter – you’ll have fun regardless.
So what with the storyline not being too complex, it boils down to the gameplay to make sure that Mr. Stark is kept in business, which I’m happy to say lives up to my expectations – admittedly I wasn’t expecting much at all, but I was pleasantly surprised.
When you first load the game up, you’ll be impressed by the looks of the game – you’re greeted by the Mk 42 Iron Man suit initially, and it looks gorgeous – perfectly recreated from the movie, and graphically stunning.
Even the environments in the game are surprisingly detailed – of course when you’re flying at high speeds you’re not paying as much attention, but it’s definitely worth taking in when you can.
I was playing on my Google Nexus 4, and it handled the graphical requirement very well – although if I’m honest my phone did heat up quite a bit while playing, though that’s the same for most games.
The menu system is suitably Jarvis-like, being mostly techie-blue with circular buttons or the cut-rectangles… the mission text and tutorials are all in text form, so there’s no Paul Bettany for us unfortunately. There are some small voice samples, but they’re soundalikes – these are few & far between though. To be fair if they’d incorporated voices, the installer would be huge, and the game is already a 795mb install.
All the music in the game sounds like it could be ripped directly from the soundtrack of the movie – in most cases, it may well be! You get the very heroic-sounding music over the menus, and all the in-game music fits the atmosphere and tension very well.
The sound effects aren’t bad – the menu selection noise is a bit tinny, and sounds like a squeak sometimes, but it didn’t bother me – the in-game sounds are all in-keeping with the game’s general polished aesthetic.
Gameplay is an area where this game shines though. The easiest way to describe it is to say it’s a successful marriage of Temple Run and Skylanders: Cloud Patrol – though it actually reminded me of an older classic from my Atari ST days: Space Harrier. (If you haven’t played it, find an emulator and check it out – it’s awesome!)
Movement around the screen is controlled via your device’s accelerometer, although you can change this to swiping on the screen instead, and blasting enemies with repulsors can be done either by tapping the enemy in question, or swiping from one enemy to another to build combo attacks. There’s also a dedicated special move button, which discharges Iron Man’s Unibeam attack from his Arc reactor on his chest.
Using the device’s movement is easy enough, however swiping to move is a pain when you have to move as well as tap/swipe enemies to shoot – so I’d recommend keeping the movement side of things set to the accelerometer setting.
The aim of the game is to fly as far as possible without getting taken out (which isn’t always as easy as it sounds), but also to collect red orbs which act as one of the two currencies in the game, the other being the alien isotope ISO-8. You also gain these along with experience by defeating enemies and drones, as well as with picking up power ups. The core gameplay can be a little repetitive, and the initial gameplay environment is a little samey – however there are more environments & enemies, you just have to progress further.
You can also earn trophies which give you an orb, ISO-8 or experience payout once you achieve them – for example there are trophies for flying certain distances, defeating enemies like Crimson Dynamo, and getting 10 10-hit combos. These trophies help to extend the replay value of the game, as you can share them on facebook – you’re also part of a leaderboard of other game players, so you can strive to increase your ranking as much as possible there too.
What’s the point of earning all these orbs you ask? Well… this wouldn’t be Iron Man without a plethora of suits to fiddle with, and here you can get up to 18 of those bad boys. These include some of the weird and wonderful suits from Iron Man 3 like the Heartbreaker suit, Igor and the awesome Iron Patriot. (You can get War Machine too… and to quote Colonel Rhodes on Iron Patriot; “It tested well with focus groups, okay?”)
Each set of armour has a 3 sets of upgrades; HP, Weapon & Special – each with 3 tiers of upgrade in each class. Getting the upgrades is quick enough, but unlocking new armour takes a long time (unless you’re playing constantly). An upgrade will typically cost between 150-350 red orbs, but to build a new suit starts at 7,000 orbs, and goes up to 12,000 in the next tier – you’ll practically need a Tony Stark-esque income of orbs to get them all.
You can supplement your orb income by purchasing ISO-8 if you don’t want to have to earn it, however this doesn’t come cheap. Starting at £1.49 for 150 ISO-8, it goes up in steady increments to a maximum of a hefty £69.99 for 15,000.
Aside from looking rather spiffy, the different sets of armour serve several purposes – each one has a different special attack… the later suits obviously more powerful than their respective predecessors. Each progressive tier of suit also allows for score multipliers to help you earn orbs and ISO-8 that bit quicker.
All-in-all, Iron Man 3: The Official Game is exceedingly-well executed, with great eye-candy and good gameplay along with lots of replay value, although it can be a bit repetitive. For the great price of FREE on both Android & iOS, I can heartily recommend you pick this up and have fun with it.
It’ll reward consistent players quickly, and if you’re not a regular player you’ll still have fun with it and more than likely get hooked on acquiring new suits as fast as possible. The only thing you’ll probably have an issue with is how quickly it’ll deplete your mobile device’s battery.