Run! There's no time! Leave the valuables, leave the kids, we have to leave right now! A Superman game is coming!
Wait, sorry - not this time. Usually the arrival of a new Superman game is cause for frenzied panic, wailing and gnashing of teeth... but Chillingo seems to have done the impossible.
They've made a good one.
The key, it turns out, is keeping things simple. Rather than going for a complex 3D experience and ending up with Superman 64 (the Kryptonite of us game critics), you'll fly around a small 2D representation of metropolis and deal with increasingly tricky calamities. From thwarting runaway crooks to smashing space junk in the high atmosphere; from destroying attack helicopters to duelling against impressively intelligent robots, there's never a dull moment. Controlling the action is simple and effective thanks to context sensitive commands.
All of the classic are present and correct. Heat rays? Check. Ice breath? Double check - and brilliant for putting out fires. Super strength? Once you've smashed a tank into tiny bits, shattered a getaway car and knocked out its driver with a well-aimed tyre, you'll definitely be able to check that one off.
Quite frankly, all we want a Superman game to do is to let us fly around and save the day. Chillingo and Tiger Games clearly knows that, and puts in just the right amount of depth to make it work.
The Man Of Steel is a lousy hero. After all, he's invulnerable and all-powerful... so where is the challenge? Again, Tiger Games have done their homework and made the core experience about excelling, not survival. You can muddle through most of the levels without incident, but netting fast times - and the commensurate medal - requires precision, tactics and dexterity. Chillingo know an addictive draw when they see one.
Superman isn't perfect. While the virtual D-Pad is fit for task, aiming your special abilities are extremely clunky and can waste valuable seconds. On top of that, the minimalistic art style disappointingly fails to capture the looks of the comic - it's too clean, bland and clinical.
But it doesn't really matter. Superman finally has a game worthy of his name - and one that costs less than a copy of the Daily Planet.
- Varied, rewarding gameplay
- Addictive and intuitive
- It's a good Superman game. Wow.
- Clinical art style
- Clunky special ability aiming
Summary: Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's a wholehearted recommendation for Chillingo's latest mobile tie-in. It turns out that simple can be beautiful.
Developer: Tiger Games
- SD Version: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. Requires iOS 4.0 or later.
- HD Version: Compatible with iPad. Requires iOS 4.0 or later.