Stan Lee is practically a superhero himself, with his power being the ability to summon unique heroes using only his imagination. Some of Lee’s creations have gone on to have successful secondary careers as App Store protagonists, like The Incredible Hulk in Avengers Initiative, The Amazing Spider-Man, and half of the roster of Marvel vs Capcom. So it’s a bit disappointing that while Stan Lee himself makes a cameo appearance in Verticus, the game doesn’t have the lasting appeal of his other projects.
Verticus is an endless falling game where you control a man in a specialized skydiving suit, sort of like Felix Baumgartner, who recently completed a record-breaking freefall. Your goal is to survive the descent long enough to make it through the center of the Earth, where you’ll grab an exploding power core and sail back into space, thus saving the planet.
Brought to you by Red Bull.
Or at least, that’s the idea. Since this is an endless game, there doesn’t actually seem to be a way to save the planet. Every time you decide not to continue by paying more in-game currency, you’ll have to watch the planet explode, making your superhero seem a little useless. What’s the point in discarding power cores, if the entire planet is going to explode as soon as you stop paying to continue?
The real goal of the game is to give you a high score and bragging rights. The more you play, the more in-game coins you’ll earn to spend on suit upgrades. These include armor for protection against sky-mines, missiles to preemptively strike at obstacles, and coin multipliers that earn you more money in the long run. Gamers who have spent many hours (or dollars) on Temple Run will recognize these bonuses, and Verticus doesn’t do much to stray from this formula.
Journey to the center of the Earth.
Verticus does have stylish visuals, and a cameo by Stan Lee, but neither of these things were enough to save the movie Daredevil from mediocrity, and it doesn’t help Verticus, either. Once you sail past the game’s clouds, cities, and caverns for the first time, there’s nothing more to see. Stan Lee himself loans his voice and likeness to the game as the Commander, but all that does is remind you that every in-app purchase is benefitting him personally.
We were excited about the prospect of a brand-new App Store hero created by Stan Lee, and the cameo by the man himself is amusing. But you can just watch a superedit of his film appearances on Youtube, and skip Verticus. There are plenty of freemium endless runners on the App Store already, so one more lackluster hero isn’t going to stand out, despite his famous parentage.