Aliens live among us. They can be a rowdy lot, and it’s up to the Men In Black to keep them in line– and to keep their existence a secret. In Men In Black 3, Gameloft’s latest freemium sim, you head up the MIB organization, managing its affairs and making sure unscrupulous aliens don’t harm anyone or make their presence known to an easily-spooked humanity. And when they do, it’s your job to send agents to the scene with a neuralyzer to wipe the memories of any nearby civilians.
Men in Black 3 is a sim game, so if you’ve played games like Snoopy’s Street Fair or Ice Age Village, you know basically what to expect. As the manager of the MIB organization, and you’re responsible for making sure headquarters has things like a weapon depot, locker rooms, and restaurants to aid the agents when they’re not in the field.
Just another day at the office.
A series of tasks are presented to you, to address at your will. There’s a main story thread that follows the basic plot of the movie, with an enemy using a time travel device and going back to 1969 to do something to Agent K. You have to follow him, but there’s no rush. Side quests are added to your agenda as you play, and you can poke around the environments on offer to your heart’s content, engaging aliens in bland turn-based shootouts, removing alien artifacts from the streets of New York, or shaping MIB headquarters to your own specifications.
Most of the tasks take real-life time to complete once you initiate them, with early missions requiring only a minute or two of your time, and later missions taking a whole lot longer. But, like in other sims, you can spend premium currency to cut out the wait times. As you progress, it becomes something of a balancing act to decide when spend your currency or wait for tasks to complete.
Surrender or die.
To complicate matters, the game has numerous types of currency that you earn and spend in different ways. Costs and rewards are presented clearly, though, so there’s rarely confusion. As always, you have the option to spend real-life money to purchase in-game currency. There’s also a ubiquitous social element to the game, with a “share” button popping up to announce on social networks every little task you complete.
There’s nothing particularly original about Men In Black 3, but it looks nice enough and it contains a number of characters from the movies (even if they didn’t get the rights to some of the stars’ likenesses). The various locations and timeframes are fun to putz around in, even if the game doesn’t offer enough to convince us to spend actual money on it. It does what all freemium games should do: offer a worthy gameplay experience for free, but include the ability to enrich the experience by spending money.