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Iron Man 3

Gameloft Takes Flight, But Fails To Soar

Three years ago, I reviewed the official Iron Man 2 game for consoles. It let players wear the Iron Man suit in an adventure that simulated other big-budget action titles. Comic-book scribe Matt Fraction even helped pen the script. Even so, it was mediocre – a standard official movie game. With Iron Man 3 comes another official movie game, but it’s a mobile title this time. Gameloft made a better Iron Man game on iOS than Sega made on consoles, but the company’s freemium practices make me want to stop playing its otherwise entertaining product.

Similar to other endless runners (like Temple Run), Iron Man flies through the air dodging blimps, billboards, and missiles as he collects tokens. Tilting your device to guide Iron Man through these obstacles feels smooth and responsive. However, you also have the added challenge of shooting down enemy drones by tapping or swiping your touchscreen. The controls are simple, but that makes the game incredibly easy to pick up and play for a few minutes. Challenges like “reach 10,000 meters in a single run” or “collect 200 credits” give you plenty of carrots to chase. Daily challenges function like boss battles, where players have to reach a certain distance and then battle a powerful enemy before being rewarded with a pile of credits.

When you head back to Stark’s headquarters between runs, you have the option to spend your experience and credits to upgrade your tech and build entirely new sets of armor. Unlocking a new suit that offers better armor or more powerful blasters is rewarding, but you need to amass a warehouse of different outfits, because your suit requires repair after each run. This can range from a few seconds to a few minutes in real time. You have to use another suit while you wait, or you can speed up the repairs by spending the game’s secondary currency, called ISO-8. Of course, ISO-8 is in rare supply, and the easiest way to amass more is to virtually slide your credit card and buy more ($1.99 for 150 ISO-8, $4.99 for 500, etc.).

I appreciate how the random levels make each playthough feel different, and Tony’s banter with his companions Jarvis and Pepper is occasionally amusing, but I would have enjoyed Iron Man 3 more if it didn’t artificially limit my access to Iron Man’s best gear in a cheap attempt to reach into my piggybank. If you’re a fan of endless runners and can put up with the game constantly asking you to post to Facebook or purchase more ISO-8, then you might find this a fun diversion while you wait in line to see Iron Man 3 in theaters.

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