One Must Fall 2097 is one of the best 2d fighting games ever, that most of us don’t remember. I do, and I still have fond memories of the hours I spent with the arrow keys on my old PC with one of the first Pentium processors. Battling it out with quick agile robots was a blast, and I really got my hopes up when I saw that a new robot fighting game was headed into the App Store. Could Real Steel be a spiritual successor to One Must Fall 2097?
Nope this is not even in the same arena as my old memories of quick jumping robots, special powers and cool music. Real Steel is based upon movie with the same name. Instead of speed these robots go for slugger style boxing. Not too far from that we have seen in countless Rocky movies.
Real Steel is a robot o robot 2d brawler that takes more inspiration from boxing games than from fighting games like Street Fighter. Two robots enter the arena, but only one leave. The other is basically scrap metal, and will be transformed into soda cans. You get two attack buttons: one jab, and one hook. You also get a special punch, and a block button. An on screen keypad for movement, and you are set to go. The controls work quite well, but as this is a slow game to play perfect controls aren’t as important.
There are three game modes: practise, sparring and tournament. In reality there is only any point in playing the tournament mode that lets you square off against the AI. With increasing difficulty you meet cooler, and harder robots. Between fights you get to upgrade your strength, defence or speed.
A bout in Real Steel goes a bit like this. Wait for the enemy to approach, and uppercut with a special attack. Block, and let him attack for a bit. Wait for an opening, and make a hook combo. Repeat until enemy is dead, or you mess up your timing a couple of times. To me there is definitely not much to learn, or improve to get better. No outrageous combos, no wicked button combinations and no really cool specials. This is more like having two boxers having a slow brawl until one goes down with a serious headache.
There is a lack of content, and if you beat the tournament you get to do it again with another robot. Sure the last enemy, Midas, is a true badass. Unlocking all the robots takes some time. To me it never got interesting since all I got to do with the unlocked robots was to go through tournament again. Real Steel has got both Game Center, and OpenFeint integration for scores and achievements.
The visual presentation is the strongest aspect of the game with cool robots that animates well. When you nail a combo, and get to see your robot taking out some real punishment on the opponent it feels great. Kneeing the metal balls of the opponent is awesome, and when it happens to my metal hunk I truly feel sorry for not blocking perfectly. The arenas are varied, and quite polished. Menus on the other hand are a bit too grey, and drab. There is no music, and the sound effects aren’t that impressive. The crowds keep cheering, and it gets quite annoying.
Real Steel is a mixed bag of great presentation, cool robots, slow predictable fighting and horrendously repetitive crowds. In the end it got quite boring, and to be a contender in the fighting genre it needs to tweak the speed, agility or inject cool moves. At a lower price it could have been a nice distraction for an hour, but at $2.99 it is overpriced considering the content.
Real Steel $2.99 Universal for iPad/iPod/iPhone
Seller: Jump Games Private Ltd