Summer movies are exciting. Summer movie games are not.
Movie tie-in games are almost universally subpar. The plan for most movie games is to let the hype of the movie to drive game sales, letting gameplay fall to the wayside. The iPhone has seen some exceptions to this rule, probably because of the short development time involved, but Iron Man 2 doesn’t appear to be one of them. Iron Man 2 isn’t a terrible game by any stretch, but it doesn’t do anything to challenge these conventions, either.
Your first experience with Iron Man 2 is more than likely going to be that of sticker shock when you see it in the app store, as this game is priced much higher than other games (as of this review the game sold for $6.99.) With so many fantastic titles in the App Store in the $1 to $2 range, you have to be a pretty spectacular game to justify such a premium. Sadly, Iron Man 2 doesn’t manage to live up to that standard.
Graphically speaking, Gameloft did a real nice job recreating Iron Man, War Machine and all the major enemies. Flying around the city feels legitimate, and there are no graphical glitches that stick out to draw you out of the world. Everything is rendered nicely. Even the interface is slick, reminiscent of the inside of Iron Man’s helmet. I was impressed.
I’m typically not a fan of the virtual thumbstick controls, but Iron Man 2 does a decent job of moving you around. Your left thumb will work the control stick and your right will handle weapon firing and flying. They add controls over the course of the first two levels to your right thumb so once you get used to tapping for firing they’re showing you the next skill. It’s handled well but by the time they are done the right side of the screen is well covered in controls.
Luckily the game takes advantage of a pretty powerful lock-on system for killing baddies because while the controls are functional, they aren’t great. Having the ability to fire your guns and have them lock onto targets helps the gameplay immensely. You also have access to an area attack that will kill enemies in all directions as well as some missiles that you can fire by tapping right on targets. You can also upgrade your armor and weapons, which helps gives the game a nice feeling of progression.
By far the most fun part of the game is flying around the world shooting at bad guys, it’s really a rush when you take to the skies. Moving between hovering and flying is a snap, and gives you that great “I’m a superhero feel.” It’s really a shame there was no free roam part of the game so you really enjoy the flying. You’re always stuck going from checkpoint to checkpoint, and while that’s ok, it really would have been cool to fly wherever we wanted just for fun.
My major complaint about the game is really just how generic it all feels. With the exception of the bosses the enemies are almost all generic bots. For the lion’s share of the game you move from checkpoint to checkpoint, tapping the screen to kill enemies when they pop up. The hit all the conventions that a game like this should have, complete with a few audio snippets of the JARVIS computer and Robert Downey to plod the thin story along. But it doesn’t come together to be more than the sum of its parts.
If the game blew me away, the price would be little cause for concern. But taking into account the quality of Iron Man 2, I can’t help but think you’re money would be better spent buying a few other more enjoyable titles instead. If you’re a huge Iron Man fan go ahead and pick this one up, but otherwise you may want to leave this one out to rust.