Riding high on the successful Arkham City and Arkham Asylum console games, the Caped Crusader soars onto your mobile iOS devices. Developed by NetherRealm Studios, responsible for Mortal Kombat, Batman Arkham City Lockdown attempts to satisfy raving fans by bringing Gotham’s Guardian to their iPhone, iPad, or iTouch.
Before we get too far into this, let me clear the air. If you’re expecting this to mirror Arkham City or Arkham Asylum in gameplay, prepare to be sorely disappointed. This is a one-player styled fighting game with a very linear gameplay and a simple interface. However, the simplicity aside, the Dark Knight appears absolutely stunning on the Retina display, almost making up for the lack of an open world environment. Arkham City Lockdown utilizes Unreal Technology in the form of the mobile Unreal Engine, allowing such a detailed environment with engaging cinematics.
You play as Batman in a variety of one-on-one fights with acclaimed villains such as Two-Face, The Joker, Solomon Grundy, and an iOS exclusive, Deathstroke. Traversing the rooftops and plunging into the sewers, Batman engages a few brief levels of enemies before unlocking the boss fight. Each boss fights adds a unique feature to the gameplay. I don’t want to give too much away, but one boss fight involves the batarang being hurled across the screen and guided using the accelerometer.
To swiftly take down your foes, Batman performs various combos based upon swipes of the screen. Swipe down to parry an attack and temporarily stun the enemy, leaving him vunerable, or you can tap the screen to dodge melee attacks or the occasional gunfire. Batman wrecks havoc upon his enemies with simple left or right swipes, combining them for powerful combos. Once you grow tired of punching and kicking the repetitive henchmen, you can always reach for a handy assortment of goodies on your utility belt. These items include a helpful health boost, powered gauntlets (think fists of lightning), smoke pellets, and a swarm of bats.
As you defeat enemies, you gain experience, and with experience you gain levels. Here is the real treat because with each level you gain, you are award Waynetech points. These points are used to upgrade your gadgets by causing effects to be amplified, reduced cool down time, and so on. In addition to beefing up your armory, Batman himself can be upgraded with combat training to increase damage, advanced armor for increased health, and physical training to improve agility. If you can’t wait to level up before maxing out your abilities, you’re welcome to shell out some cold hard cash for in-game purchases of Waynetech points as well as three additional batsuits.
At the present moment, there are only the four bosses mentioned beforehand, but the biographies page in the extras menu suggest we will be seeing the likes of Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy in the near future. This will greatly improve the game which struggles with a repetitive feeling as the henchmen have little variety. Speaking of lack of variety, the enemies quickly get annoying with “You’re gonna die bat!” and a few other similar phrases. On the positive side, the bosses and their cutscenes are well put together and a are a joy to watch.
Once the game is beaten, a feat I accomplished in a couple hours of casually playing, you’re invited to replay the levels again. This time around, the goon squad is a bit more prepared to step in the ring with Batman as their threat level increases drastically. However, with risk comes rewards as the XP these guys produce is higher the second time around as well. The repetitiveness got to me, and I will be waiting until the first upgrade is released before picking it up again.
My final recommendation would be to wait a few weeks and see if the price drops as most newly released games do within the first month to help spur sales. It’s worth picking up for the visuals, but with a low replay value, it may start eating up space on your mobile device quickly after you’ve conquered it. Warner Bros attempts to counter this by including the extras menu I touched on earlier and filling it with goodies such as character bios, achievements, downloadable wallpapers, and a comic viewer.
Here are the tech specs on the game in the App Store:
Released: Dec 08, 2011
Size: 612 MB
Requirements: iPhone 3GS+, iPod touch (3rd Gen+), and iPad. Requires iOS 3.1.3 or later