Review by Nigel Wood
There have a been a few movie tie ins on the iPhone, such as Disney’s Bolt and Warner’s Batman. But these have usually consisted of forgettable one level experiences. With Iron Man, Paramount have gone with a more fleshed out approach and crafted a simple but fun shooter. On the other consoles the game was pretty much universally panned, for poor control and repetitive gameplay, thankfully Paramount haven’t tried to recreate the full console experience, instead aiming for something more fitting for the iphone’s pick up and play appeal.
Iron Man: Aerial Assault as it’s name suggests takes place completely in the sky. Movement is on-rails, with you controlling his targeting reticule using the iphone’s accelerometer. As enemies appear you must target them with the reticule, once locked on you tap the fire button and Iron Man will shoot them out of the sky with his hand repulsor. Enemies will also lock on you with homing missiles. These appear on screen as small dots with flashing red circles around them, target these and Iron Man will automatically fire missile to intercept. Should you not fire in time then you can swerve left to avoid the missile at the last minute using a button on the bottom left of the screen.
To dispense of larger enemies you’ll need to hold down the fire button to power up you weapon. Once locked on and released, Iron Man will unleash a more powerful beam from his chest. You can also use this to shoot down the smaller foes resulting in higher scores.
Controls are decent enough, and without the need to control Iron Man’s movement you can concentrate on the shooting aspect. There’s two training modes with your on-board computer Jarvis setting drones up for calibrating and learning the basic shooting techniques. Then it’s on to the main levels which begins with a short briefing on some tech you must destroy. The levels remind me of StarFox 64 with waves of fighters coming at you, culminating in a final boss ship which you must take out to progress further. It’s not very deep, but it is fun and represents the source material well.
Presentation and graphics
As I mentioned before the game has a StarFox64 feel to it. The polygon count isn’t high, but the models and textures look good. Iron Man himself is ripped straight out of the movie and looks and animates as he should. Being in the sky there is no ground detail so the game runs silky smooth. Some nice sky backdrops and moving cloud transparency effects do well to indicate forward momentum.
Music and sound are nicely done, with Iron Man’s weapon effects straight from the movie. It would have been nice to have VO for Jarvis though. But hey, I guess Paul Bettany was busy!
On rails with limited movement of Iron Man himself. But the shooting mechanic works well. Underneath the movie license is a simple shooter, it can get a bit repetitive, but it is good fun in short bursts.
Us gamers expect little from movie licenses, but I was surprised how much fun Iron Man was. My biggest grip is with the price, at $7.99 it’s too high, if they’d have thrown in more levels and some multiplayer action or at least online leaderboards then fair enough. For die hard Iron Man fans you might be willing to forgive the price, but while it is a good game, you may feel a bit short changed!