Published on May 8th, 2013 | by Travis Fahs0
Iron Man 3 – The Official Game Review
Gameloft has been cranking out games based on high-flying superheroes for years now, beginning with their popular Spiderman games, and continuing with last year’s Dark Knight Rises, so it seems reasonable to expect good things from their treatment of the much-anticipated Iron Man 3. Instead, we find yet another reminder of the problems facing the mobile space; a free-to-play “infinite runner” attempting to pair Iron Man’s star power with yet another Temple Run wannabe.
This isn’t to say that Iron Man 3 is a bad game, or even that it doesn’t have any original ideas. Actually, amid the sea of similar games flooding the play store, Gameloft’s title has a few things going for it. As always, the graphics are sharp and on higher end hardware boast some impressive effects, and there’s a huge wealth of unlockable suits and other content to discover, as well as three unique areas, boss encounters, and lots of unique patterns.
The gameplay likewise has a few unique twists on the formula. You careen through the sky rather than running along a road and tilt your device to steer left and right. Unlike most infinite runners, this movement is analog, and you sometimes have to fit through tight spaces very quickly, which can be both frustrating and enjoyable depending on how readable the given scenario is. You also have two weapon capabilities. Holding or sliding your finger fires Iron Man’s classic beam attack, while tapping emits a pulse from the hand. The former feels a bit like Fruit Ninja – complete with “bomb” enemies that need to be avoided – while the latter feels more like a rail shooter. It’s an interesting combination of elements that adds just a pinch of variety to a generally monotonous genre.
The various suits balance the strengths of these attacks differently, and you can upgrade their abilities for some further tweaks. All of these upgrades cost in-game currency, of course, and as usual there are two kinds; one that can be had easily by collecting in-game tokens and completing missions, and another apportioned more sparingly when you level up from gaining experience. Luckily, even the latter is abundant enough early in the game that it’s easy to progress for a while without feeling like you have to pay. There are time-outs for death and upgrades designed to motivate spending of crystals, but they’re so brief I have to wonder why Gameloft even bothered.
None of the free-to-play hooks seem to seriously detract from the gameplay the way they did in Dungeon Hunter 4, but the inclusion of a heavy RPG progression element seems ill-suited to the game at all. Infinite runners are about testing your reflexes and skill, and by making level grinding a major component, you rob the game of one of its largest rewards. On the other hand, these elements allow more casual or less skilled players to continue to make progress based on how much time they put in.
In the context of other infinite runners on the platform, Iron Man 3 is actually an interesting title with some good ideas, combining a few elements from different arcade-style mobile games into a coherent package. Those that find level grinding addictive – and there are certainly those that do – will be especially drawn to this game compared to the more pure challenge of Temple Run. Its biggest sin is just its lack of ambition. Gameloft has made some great games, and Iron Man is a character with so much potential. Iron Man 3 feels small and simple next to its bombastic and flashy cinematic counterpart.
Summary: Iron Man 3 sets out to do what it intends. It’s a decent infinite runner with a couple fresh ideas, but it doesn’t really excel in any way. It’s an average game that you’ll play for a week and quickly forget.