NOTE: GAME WAS PLAYED ON iPOD TOUCH 5
A trend that has developed with every major comic themed film since 2013 is that it’s accompanied by a mobile game tie-in: Iron Man 3, Man of Steel, Thor 2, Captain America 2 and more recently The Amazing Spider-Man 2 all had games launched on various mobile devices. A common thread among most of the above mentioned titles is either poor controls not suited to mobile devices, in-app purchases that place a monetary wall between the player and fun, or a combination of the two. Having spent the latter part of last week completing the 23 story missions contained in Glitchsoft’s Uncanny X-Men: Days of Future Past, I can safely say that it falls into neither of the above mentioned categories and is well worth its low $2.99 cost of entry.
To call Days of Future Past (DOFP) a movie tie-in game is a bit of a disservice, for although it shares the title of the X-Men film currently in North American cinemas, it has more in common with the two issue story from the pages of the comics. For those unfamiliar with that story, it resolves around the X-Men of the future sending back the consciousness of Kitty Pryde to her younger self to stop an assassination that will put the mutant race in the crosshairs of the deadly robotic Sentinels. The mobile game covers this in great respect to the source material, lifting plot points and the dual time eras straight from the comic. In addition, developer Glitchsoft added new environments, plot as well as villain characters to expand the game.
DOFP plays like a 2-D action game from the 16-bit days of old with simply left and right movement controls combined with attack and jump buttons with the option for double jumping. There are two controls schemes: on-screen buttons as well as a button-less swipe control option. I tried both and personally I found option “A” more ideal as it was easier to pull off the more advanced character specific moves . Controls fell a little floaty, especially in jumping, and normally that would be taken as a negative but here it allows the player more accurate control of their character with the less precise virtual button icons.
You’ll be able to play as some of your favorite X-Men including Wolverine, Colossus, Storm, Cyclops and Kitty Pryde. Initially you’ll start off as Wolverine but as you play through the campaign you’ll gain access to more X-Men. Once a character is unlocked they can be changed on the fly in a level by simply pausing the game and selecting them in menu. A peeve of mine in games is when you’re locked out of playing as your favorite character due to story restrictions, but here the story will play out with the intended character in the cut-scenes and then switches back to your preferred mutant when the action starts.
Each hero plays basically the same so you’ll no problem experimenting with other characters, however this is an X-Men game after all and what would it be without mutant powers? Simple left, right and downward swipes of the attack button icon allow the heroes to use their special abilities that are attached to a stamina bar that recharges on its own: Wolverine attacks with his adamantium claws and can heal while standing still, Kitty Pryde can summon her dragon Lockheed that acts as a familiar and Cyclops can unleash his optic blasts to name a few examples from the roster.
Mutant abilities can be expanding upon by collecting blue sentinel tech containers within levels but these points can also be used to decrease the cool down time on your powers as well as put towards alternate costumes. The costs on powering up the X-Men is not so high that it will take the entire game to properly power up just one character as in one playthrough I was able to max out several characters and as I mentioned above, I didn’t have to spend any extra money other than the cost of the game to do so. DOFP has a decent amount of replay value on top of its 23 level campaign. There’s lore hidden in levels that includes comic covers and concept art to be found, as well as a three star scoring system for each stage depending on how much damage you take, how much sentinel tech you find and how many enemies you dispatch.
Replaying stages you’ve already beaten is not the chore it could be as they only take minutes to complete, perfect for mobile consumption. The levels also look great, contrasting the bleak dystopian future with the more colorful present timeline. Glitchsoft should also be commended on the characters they’ve crafted here, as they’re immediately identifiable and animate superbly.
Anyone who’s a fan X-Men and owns an “i” device would be doing themselves a disservice by not downloading DOFP. At a cost of $2.99, you’re getting a full campaign with multiple playable and upgradeable characters with a decent amount of replay value. Whether you’re killing time while waiting to catch the movie or just looking for an X-Men game that takes you back in time nostalgia wise to days of X-Men on the Genesis or Mutant Apocalypse on the SNES, DOFP should not be overlooked.