There is a belief that mobile gaming spin-offs of films are seldom high-class efforts, and are at best half-baked attempts to cash in on the hype surrounding the film. And as with most beliefs, this one too has its foundation in fact. For, although titles like Batman Arkham City Lockdown prove that the contrary is possible, most film-inspired mobile games have been at best insipid affairs. And alas, the official game of The Man of Steel continues this trend.
If you think we are being too harsh, then just consider one fact – in the game, Superman hardly flies when under your control. Really, we should rest our case there, but well, honestly, there is more. Yes, the graphics are reasonably good and the story seems to follow that of the film with the Man of Steel taking on the evil general Zod and his invaders from Krypton. Unfortunately, this largely seems to be nothing more than a series of one-on-one battles with increasingly tough opponents and the odd boss at each level. You have buttons for dodge, you can hold down on the screen for parrying, tap rapidly on the hands of your adversary to break clinches and swipe in either direction to throw punches. Sounds familiar? You bet it does. What we have here is pretty much an Infinity Blade clone with the hero donning the Blue and Red of the Man of Steel rather than the armor of the mysterious knight in that title (he can grab an armor or two if he wants, though).
Man of Steel at its heart is pretty much a brawler, which honestly would have suited The Hulk far more than the superhero from Krypton. All the leaping up in the air to bash up baddies, pushing them through buildings or slamming them against a lamp post is pretty cool in general, but to be honest, does not really tie-up with the whole Superman thing. The fact that the Kryptonian horde that our hero pounds time and again comes dressed like some special army unit right out of the Half-Life game series does not help matters much. And yes, progress depends on collecting experience points by battering enemies or via an in-app purchase. You have two special abilities – super speed and heat vision, which you can upgrade using your points. Neither is frankly much to write about.
To be fair, the game looks pretty decent, and we love the comic book-like interludes which move the wafer-thin plot along, but honestly, this is Superman. And we really expected more than an Infinity Blade/ Mortal Kombat clone in which opponents prance up with fancy moves and then pause and put their dukes up in time honored English tradition for a bout of fisticuffs. We will be blunter than that – we expected more from a game that is upwards of 700 MB to download and comes with a $4.99 price tag for the HD version on iPad and on Android.