NOTE: ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON COMICBOOKMOVIE.COM 05/13/2013
Gameloft, the company behind Iron Man 3, is no stranger to mobile based film tie-ins having crafted games based on last summer’s The Dark Knight Rises and The Amazing Spider-Man. Whereas those games tried to be more traditional games emulated on a mobile platform, Iron Man 3 works the titular character into a game better suited for the platform and works all the better for it.
IM3 is an endless runner, in the vein of the popular game Temple Run. Unlike Temple Run however, in Iron Man 3 you’re constantly in flight. You control Iron Man using the gyro sensor in your mobile device or your finger to move left or right to avoid obstacles like planes, missiles and enemy fire. While both methods of control work really well, I prefer to use the motion controls as there is a combat component to the game that requires the use of your finger to swipe over enemies. It’s much easier to dodge and fight when you’re using two different methods of input as opposed to one. The sensitivity of both can also be adjusted in the games options menu.
What makes IM3 stand out from other games in the genre and what I hope other games like this borrow from is that the game actually has a story, in the case of IM3 it’s one that takes place after the events of the film. After an arbitrary number of hours you’re given a daily mission where you will be tasked with flying “X” amount of meters at which point you then confront a boss character. When you encounter a boss character, they will converse with Iron Man before the fight to roll out another piece of the story. While nothing ground breaking by any stretch of the imagination, it succeeds at cleverly incorporating characters like Crimson Dynamo, Ezekiel Stane, the Living Laser and M.O.D.O.K into the Iron Man film universe. It also has a clear ending that adds another twist to one of the villains that appear in the film that I won’t spoil here. It also keeps players going back to the game periodically as there is new content to look forward to. As the story progresses, the location of the flights change from California, to New York and then China. Just as you get used to one environment, the game then makes you adapt to another, adding an additional layer of challenge
On top of the daily missions, the game also has other objectives that keep you going for “just one more run”. There are three types of currency in IM3: Experience, Stark Credits and ISO’s. You use experience to unlock armor’s for purchase and to level up. Stark credits are used to purchase them once they are unlocked and ISO’s are used to revive yourself in a run should you run out of health, to buy power up’s and unlock more space in the armory as you can only have a set number of armors at a given time. You earn Stark credits by collecting orbs in a run, or by completing objectives given to you before a flight. Some are simple, such as collecting three of one item over multiple runs, while others are much more challenging like going 30,000 m without hitting a single obstacle. You can gain more ISO’s in a similar fashion by completing a list of trophy challenges that is immediately available upon downloading the game.
While there’s plenty of reasons to keep coming back to IM3 and it does control really well, it clearly is a free to play game that is after your money. You’re constantly earning some type of currency for each and every run you do, but the rate at which you receive rewards is very, very slow. There’s a plethora of armors to unlock from all three of the films and the Avengers that are broken into three tiers based on the sub weapon they use. To access something like say the Mark 42 armor from the film, you must unlock every armor before that in that tier, and then once its unlocked you have to earn the currency to buy it….or you can just choose to pay money to unlock it and save yourself a lot of time. You never have to spend a dime to get anything in the game, but anyone wanting to get everything will have to exercise an extreme amount of patience.
M3 comes recommended at the asking price of, well nothing, as it’s a very fun game to play that keeps giving you reasons to keep coming back, with the caveat being that IM3 waves its free to play banner very proudly. How much time or money one chooses to put into it will ultimately be down to the individual, but it’s a fun mobile game irregardless.
NOTE: For the purpose of this review, I played the game on a Motorola Atrix HD (MB886).