Injustice: Gods Among Us (iPhone) Review

Rating: As a full-on DC Comics fanatic, I was beyond excited at the opportunity to download (for free, no less!)...

Peter Diseth

Contributor

Injustice Gods Among Us

Rating: ★★★☆☆

As a full-on DC Comics fanatic, I was beyond excited at the opportunity to download (for free, no less!) the mobile version of Injustice: Gods Among Us for my iPhone. Are you kidding me? I get to play as Nightwing? Solomon Grundy? The Freakin Flash?! Oh, I was stoked all right. And then I opened the program. And then I started a new game. And then…

Let’s be honest, there’s not much you can do with a fighting game – especially one designed/tweaked for a smartphone – that hasn’t been done before. Gameplay is limited to swipes and taps, for the most part, and you have to make up for that with style, variations of challenges, and excellent sound and graphics. But the actual fighting… isn’t terribly exciting or nuanced with most mobile fighting apps.

Injustice: Gods Among Us gets points for visuals (the graphics are really quite stunning, though the environments can be a bit dim at times and you can’t get much of a big-picture look at the room/arena) and sound (the music isn’t anything that will drive you to tears and prickle the skin on your arms, but it’s got a triumphant and dangerous drive to it that lends itself to the action), but that’s really about it.

I’m tempted to give any game that allows me to control The Freakin Flash a full five stars, but I cannot bring myself to do it with this one. I think it just missed the mark. Now, I can’t compare it to the full console version, because I’ve only played Injustice with the iPhone, but I don’t see mobile games as addenda for full versions. They should stand tall by themselves and own their victories and defeats. And I think there are more defeats than victories in this one.

First of all, there’s simply no story. You get to control three DC supers as you fight three other DC supers. Some are villains and some are heroes and all of them look great (there are even various versions of each character–regular, Regime, New 52, etc.), but that’s about it. The fighting is repetitive, the moves are severely limited, and winning doesn’t get you much in the way of rewards.

Sure, sometimes you’re given a new character, but then you have to work that character up from Level 1 to wherever your other team-members are, all the while fighting other characters who are much more powerful than you. It’s tiresome and seemingly impossible to create a team of your favorite heroes without spending real money on an in-app purchase of game tokens, which is definitely NOT worth it.

Why are we all fighting? I bet there’s a prologue or exposition of sorts on the full console version, but not here. Not that I could see. Instead, we team up randomly and fight each other until one or all of us are knocked out. And yet, I didn’t want to give up on it. Especially once I was rewarded with a character card for a playable Freaking Flash, which happens to be one of only two characters I have received in several hours of gameplay. But I battled on! I kept fighting!

And I was… bored. The first twenty or thirty fights were beyond easy. I just kept punching people until they went away. Done and done. Then they began to get harder, with the introduction of mini-bosses and singularly powerful heroes and villains. But even when the fighting was difficult, there was still no finesse or nuance to the gameplay. I tapped to punch or I tried to block (which works randomly) or I built up power to use a super-move. And then I beat them. And then I moved on.

The boring truth is that the game is just… boring. The creators could have certainly taken a cue from Infinity Blade, which not only offers an actual storyline alongside the fighting but a unique and challenging gameplay that allows you to do so much with the limited means of touch screen controlling. That game was very nearly a masterpiece. So far, Injustice: Gods Among Us is just poor. Except when you get to play with The Freaking Flash.

Gameplay: 2/5

There just isn’t enough variation from battle to battle or character to character to make this an interesting actioner. You tap to punch. You swipe to punch hard (which is slower and almost never beneficial to do). Or you wait to build up unique super-moves which are good-looking, but ultimately kind of boring or just plain silly. It’s too simple a fighting game.

Graphics: 5/5

The game is beautiful. The characters are perfectly rendered–in each of their different costumes The environments are also stunning (though I would like more opportunity to see the rooms/arenas in full view).

Sound: 4/5

The sound is very good. Like I said before, the music, while nowhere near a Hans Zimmer masterpiece, is perfectly serviceable. It has a driving beat that speaks of heroism and action. There are various one-liners from characters, too, within the fight. And the sound effects of the hitting and shooting and shocking and lightning-kicking are spot on.

Replay Value: 2/5

Nah. If I wasn’t going to write this review, then I would have stopped long before now. It’s just boring. There aren’t enough rewards or customizations available to keep me interested. And it definitely lacks that addictive quality that had me glued to Infinity Blade II for days on end.

Presentation: 4/5

It looks really nice. The menus, the characters, the battle scenarios… Injustice: Gods Among Us is a really beautiful, well-presented game. It’s just the actual gameplay and story (or lack thereof) that brings it down.

Overall: 3/5

I gave it three because of how beautiful it is and how I got to play as The Freaking Flash,, but those three are true gifts. Honestly, the game probably deserves less. It was a huge disappointment, as I was so looking forward to it, but this game did absolutely nothing to turn me on. That being said, check out the app store – if it’s still free on there, you might as well download it and give it a chance. Just don’t feel it necessary to keep playing once you get bored. Because, I’m sorry to say, it just doesn’t get better.

What about you? Are you having a better experience than I am with the game? Let me know in the comments below.