The Last Airbender Review

Critics have been savaging M. Night Shyamalan’s The Last Airbender for weeks now, like the Ain’t It Cool News reviewer who called it a hate crime against film lovers. So you can understand our trepidation in reviewing the iPhone game. We’re not calling for anyone to be arrested for making this game, but you might want to think twice before jumping into a purchase.

In this iPhone game based on the movie, you play as one of four tribes who have each mastered control over the elements. There are clans who fight using fire, earth, wind, and water. First, you pick a clan, and then their specific light and heavy attacks. These all perform the same way, and differ only in their visuals.

Ready, aim, fire shield!

When each battle begins, you can cast light or heavy attacks, and build a shield in front of your castle. To charge up an attack, you spin your finger around on the screen in a circle, then flick it out in front of you. As your blast flies through the air, you can tilt the device to avoid obstacles, pick up power-ups, and eventually strike at your enemy’s shield or castle.

These touch and motion controls are probably the most fun you’ll have playing The Last Airbender. Every battle plays out in exactly the same way, despite the different elements, but pretending to cast spells is consistently fun.

We just wish there was more to do. Once you master the process of winding up and throwing your magical pitches, the game is effectively beaten.

It’s a popsicle in my favorite flavor: plain!

You can unlock images and background information from the film by replaying each of the four elements, but this is hardly a replacement for a full game. There’s no attempt at storytelling from the movie, which left us wondering: If these groups hate each other so much, why did they build their castles within striking distance?

Like last year’s Harry Potter: Spells game, The Last Airbender is a decent movie-based diversion, but falls short of being a full game. We’d recommend it mainly for kids, since it lends a tactical feeling to casting spells but lacks much challenge or variety.

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