It took a few years, but Batman has finally gotten an iOS game that’s worthy of his name. While Batman Arkham City Lockdown takes place on a much smaller scale than its console coutnerpart, the game was obviously made by a development team that knows its way around a brawler. The gameplay is modeled on Infinity Blade, and even if it doesn’t have that title’s depth or style, it should be more than enough to satisfy fans of the Caped Crusader.
Once again, the Gotham’s sieve-like insane asylum has let the villains escape, and it’s up to Bats to lock them back down. The game is divided into four areas of Gotham City: the sewer, alleyways, steel mill, and rooftops. Each area contains four missions, three of which send a handful of run-of-the-mill thugs at you one after another. The final mission of each area contains a boss, like Two-Face, Solomon Grundy, or Joker. The boss fights are the game’s real showpieces, using quick-time events that broaden the scope of game’s fighting system. Our only gripe about the bosses is that there aren’t more of them. There’s a lot of filler between the four boss battles, and it would have been great to take on more of Batman’s rivals.
I know karate.
Like in Infinity Blade, you fight enemies one-on-one, using taps and swipes to control your character. Your basic attacks are various punching combos, pulled off by swiping wildly at the screen. On the defensive side of things, you can dodge or deflect attacks, which often breaks your enemy’s defenses, giving you an opening to deal damage. Occasionally, blue circles will appear on an enemy, and if you tap them before they disappear, you’ll counter the next incoming attack. Enemies can also go into “rages,” which you have to wait out by dodging.
The controls work well, but the fighting isn’t as deep as it is in Infinity Blade or Epoch. Most of the time you’ll just want to deflect all incoming attacks, which dizzies your enemy, and then swipe at the screen to pound on him. This still leads to some edge-of-your seat fights, but the brawls seem fairly formulaic compared to other similar games. Also, we found that you can take out the majority of bad guys just by mindlessly attacking throughout the whole fight.
Beating missions earns you ‘WayneTech’ points that you can spend to boost Batman’s power, speed, and defense stats. And of course, no Batman game would be complete without gadgets. Only four gadgets are on offer here– health packs, smoke pellets, bat swarms, and electric gauntlets– but they’re all very useful. Once you use these items in a fight, you have to wait out a cool-down period before you can use them again. Each gadget can be upgraded several times as well.
Don’t show your faces around here again.
As you can tell from the screenshots and trailer, the game looks great. A word of warning, however: the action takes place mostly in shadows, meaning it’s hard to see the screen if you’re in a well-lit room. On the other hand, they’ve captured the gritty feel of the comics, and the atmosphere of Gotham City.
They’ve also included a number of extras that are sure to please diehard fans. The game comes with a number of free iPhone wallpapers and several free comics you can read on your device. If you’re willing to spend a few extra bucks, you can change your batsuit to look like the design from Batman The Animated Series, The Dark Knight Returns comic, or the Batman Beyond cartoon. We wish they’d give you these as rewards for completing sections of the game, but they cost a dollar apiece.
You get quite a bit of content in Batman Arkham City Lockdown, and we’re glad to see a well-made Batman game come to iOS. It’s not a perfect game– it’s not as detailed or polished as Infinity Blade 2, and the fighting starts to feel repetitive after a while. But if you’re a fan of the Dark Knight, you’ll be too busy pummeling hooligans to care.