Spider-Man makes his webby appearance on the iPhone and iPad. Now updated with iPad impressions…
Originally posted on September 5th - In Ultimate Spider-Man: Total Mayhem many of the famous comic book villains have escaped. There are a total of six big time villains on the loose and you will have to take them down. The storyline is pretty linear, with the same basic pattern of taking out henchmen and then the boss. That is pretty much it, but you’ll have a lot of fun doing it.
The gameplay, although repetitive, is really entertaining. There are only three buttons at your disposal for taking out the bad guys, but mix them up and you will have yourself some pretty cool combos. To me this is the best part of the game, allowing you to create many killer combinations. The animation, of such combos, is awesome and makes you want to keep on hammering the buttons to continue the combo. Another thing you will have at your disposal is the spidey senses. This pops up whenever an enemy will attack you, press it and Spiderman will save himself while attacking the guy at the same time. This option was pretty awesome, but occasionally, even though you pressed it at the right time, it wouldn’t work and you’ll get knocked off your feet.
One of the few things that I really didn’t like about the game is that you can’t free-swing around the level. You can hit the swing button at anytime, but when it comes to swinging from one place to another you can’t really do it. What it will do instead is if you need to go across a gap, it will auto-select where the swing will activate. All you have to do is press the swing button and it will do the rest by itself, and that to me is not what being Spidey is all about.
The graphics look great, they have a cartoon/comic book kind of style and they are really appealing to the eye. Gameloft is known for creating good looking games and pushing the hardware, and here they don’t disappoint. However, it is worth mentioning that the camera angles don’t alway frame the action in the best way, and so it can be hard to see where the enemies are, or even where you have to go next.
The game has a few added extras. You can collect artwork while going through the game. This artwork can be viewed in an “extras” category which will also let you see the photos you have taken during the game. That’s right, as everyone knows Spidey, as Peter Parker, is also a freelance press photographer, so naturally you can take photos during battles. This a nice little extra feature, but ultimately doesn’t add greatly to the game.
Ultimate Spider-Man: Total Mayhem is definitely challenging and has a difficulty setting for the casual and hardcore gamer out there. Normal was pretty hard for me, particularly the Rhino boss, who is very hard to get past on your first few attempts. The game uses the license well with the usual spidey geeky humor, and a good amount of fan service, for which this is a must have. For casual fans, this is still a great action brawler but keep in mind that it can get a little bit repetitive after a little while, despite the many characters and environments available. However, it is certainly the best superhero game out there right now for the iPhone.
|iPad addendum: Nigel Wood
All to often we have seen iPad editions of Gameloft games reveal the limitations of the iPhone version, especially in the geometry and texture details. However, the cartoon graphics of Spider-man: Total Mayhem lend themselves well to being upscaled, where the chunky geometry takes nothing away from the experience, in fact it looks possibly better. The large screen space allows you to revel in the colourful world of Spidey and his friends as you button mash and web swing your way to glory. The game seems to have been toned down in difficulty, particularly the much maligned Rhino showdown, which I could sail past in one sitting. With the game being much about button mashing combos, the game’s controls work well on the large buttons and virtual stick, offering something much closer to a Wii or Playstation 2 experience, as opposed to the cramped experience on the iPhone. Overall, a great action game on iOS whether it’s in your hands or on your lap.