Coming fresh off of my experience with WWE 2K, I was a little weary about jumping right into another 3-D fighting game for a mobile platform. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the undeniably smooth animation and addictive nature of Mortal Kombat X’s game play and structure.
First off, the single player is a series of battles, building your three-fighter team of bad-asses. With each battle you win, you get loot and possible fighters in order to bolster your team for future battles. Team-building is a large part of the game, and fighters level-up and their precious metal-rating also factors in. The nature of this team-building experience (not to mention the allure of unlocking the canon characters) is an incentive to keep playing. The fighting is done mainly by tapping, and tapping a whole hell of a lot. There are prompts given by the game to swipe left, right and every which way to execute special moves. The controls are responsive and crisp to the touch, which is something that certainly cannot be said for a lot of other Android fighting games. However, there is something of an inherent problem with tap-oriented fighting. It can become a little bit tedious by the seventh or eighth fight. Certainly by this time, you are playing using sheer muscle memory.
It behooves me to let everyone know right out of the gate: this is nothing like the Mortal Kombat X that you are playing on your PS4, Xbox One or PC (And in the future PS3 and Xbox 360). The Android version is a stripped-down version of its console counterparts. The Story Mode and Tower Mode present in the console games are not available in the Android version. Instead, there is a single player campaign and online play. In the single player mode, you are charged with building a team of three fighters. The fighters are tiered by precious metal (because precious metals rock). Bronze fighters are more like character archetypes than anything else, which include the Soldier, the Lin Kuei ninja, the Sergeant, the other kind of ninja, etc. The Silver Characters are more familiar fighters in the Mortal Kombat canon like Sub-Zero, Jax and Johnny Cage. The Gold Characters are series staples like Scorpion, Liu Kang and Bi-Han (Sub-Zero, the original one; there is a second one, check the canon, dude).
The only problem that I had with the game as a whole is that it didn’t really feel like a Mortal Kombat game. The game teases you with a tutorial match where you play as Scorpion, kick the ever-loving crap out of Sub-Zero and then perform a wonderfully gory fatality on him. However, this first fight is not an indication of the rest of the game. For example, the wonderful fatality you literally just performed on Sub-Zero? Yeah, that’s never happening again. Or at the very least, I was never given the opportunity to perform another one. Seriously. Fatalities aren’t really part of this game. You just pound the crap out of people until they fall over. Though fatalities aren’t necessarily what make games Mortal Kombat great, it is kind of what gives the series its own identity, and surely if you’ve heard of the series, you know of the brutality it is supposed to contain.
The game manages to be incredibly smooth for one that is in semi-3D. But I couldn’t help feeling all while I played that I would have loved to play a more complete version of the game. The limited and stripped-down game modes made me yearn for a story mode or one of the fighting towers that’s sure to be in the PS4 or Xbox One versions. On top of that, despite the fact that the game does look fairly good for an Android platform game, I found myself wanting to play in the fully-realized HD of a console or PC version.
That being said, Mortal Kombat X for the Android platform is free. That, combined with the addictive gameplay makes it a no-brainer for anyone who is a fan of the Mortal Kombat series or the fighting genre. It is by no means perfect, but it’s entertaining and fun.
A great beat ‘em up with a few missing elements, such as more opportunities to perform fatalities that would make a Mortal Kombat game truly KOMPLETE!