NOTE: AS ALWAYS, PLAYED ON iPOD TOUCH 5
Spider-Man Unlimited has been available for download for about a week now, and while I have been playing it on and off, I haven’t dived deep enough into the game for a full on review. In the meantime though, I still wanted to put some of my first hand impressions of the game.
From a monetary perspective, you really have nothing to lose other than memory on your mobile game of choice by downloading Unlimited, but how much time you want to put into the game depends on how much you have patience for annoying free-to-play walls. The minute-to-minute gameplay is quite fun here, it’s not that hard to really screw up an endless runner after all, but everything works incredibly well. Quick swipes to the left and right move Spidey out-of-the-way of harm, while quick flicks up and down jump and slide respectively, Attacking enemies is as simple as swiping when they come on-screen, paying close attention to if they have shields or are in the air as you have to slide under their shield else lose your momentum and valuable resources.
Of course as this is an endless runner starring Spider-Man so you’re not limited to just being on the ground. You do get to swing around and for a simple game, it’s really fun. An on-screen prompt will warn you when it’s time to get air born and to do so you just have to tap and hold on the screen to keep your chain of swings going until you land on solid ground. At times the game also takes advantage of Spider-Man’s wall-crawling and the controls switch from swiping left and right to tilting your device back and forth. Much like swinging, the game gives you ample warning that a crawling segment is forth-coming so you get ample time to adapt for verticality.
Bosses make an appearance and so far, I’ve fought various shades of the Green Goblin and Menace, who for some reason is male and looks exactly the same as the Green Goblin. I can’t speak of the other members of the Sinister Six, but thus far the boss encounters are pretty simple: You slide into a S.H.I.E.L.D icon on screen that hits the enemy and when they take enough damage you’re thrown into the air where you tap furiously on the screen to unleash a series of hits.
Seeing as this is an endless runner, collecting is the name of the game and in this case, it’s vials that can be used to buy more characters and ISO-8’s (Marvel’s favorite power-up) to continue and purchase more advanced characters. On top of both of these, levels will pop up within a chapter where you’re tasked with collecting even more trinkets, like data discs or medical kits.
It’s when the collection factor comes in that the game really starts to dissuade me from playing it, especially after a summer where I’ve gotten some great pay-to-play games with all the content unlocked up front like X-Men: Days of Future Past and Guardians of the Galaxy: The Universal Weapon. This game promotes itself by having the most Spider-Man available to play in any game before it, but very quickly in you realize that getting to the extensive roster is going to take A LOT of grinding. Characters came in two tiers: common ones bought with vials you gather, and more rare one’s you have to purchase for ISO-8’s. Unfortunately when you throw down the currency to buy a character, it’s random, and so far I’ve only managed to get the same red-and-blue Spider-Man and the Manga Spider-Man. Then the came gets into free-to-play territory once your roster gets too big, you have to buy more slots, so you have to grind in either the levels or in the endless mode, but of course you only have so many tries before you have to stop playing to recharge your stamina or else expend an ISO and put yourself farther away from a new character.
Which is a shame as this game is pretty fun and addictive until all of the free-to-play mechanics kick in. Characters can be leveled up by using them in stage, or you can combine like heroes once you reach a certain level cap to make them even stronger, so there’s a lot of interesting and fun mechanics to play around it, IF you can put up with it. As a Spider-Man fan, I just wish that this was offered at a dollar amount, $5 heck even $10 to do away with all the nonsense and just enjoy the game. Instead we get yet another Gameloft game that’s more concerned with cheap micro-transactions than player enjoyment.