I'm not the biggest mobile gamer around, but every time a Marvel game pops up, my interest is immediately piqued even if it is on a platform that only a few game types favor. So when I was told of a standalone Spider-Man game not based off any cartoon or movie franchise, my face lit up. Ooh, maybe it'll half motion controls for swinging. Mobile phones have gotten powerful enough to accommodate some pretty complex gameplay mechanics.
The game is called Spider-Man Unlimited, developed and published by Gameloft.
What is it?
It's a Temple Run-type game, with a few additional mechanics that make it feel like a Spidey game somewhat and to innovate past what other Temple Run-type games have done in the past. The game feel a little more accessible to kids. It has a less frantic pace, which makes it more kid-friendly and probably a little less addictive to adults. Spider-Man Unlimited is actually quite similar to another Temple Run-style game Gameloft also developed, Despicable Me: Minion Rush. Having played a decent amount of both games, I would probably say Minion Rush is a little more enjoyable because of the way the tracks are laid out.
Spider-Man Unlimited sets itself apart from the runner game pack with its unique mechanics, storyline, along with some superb voice acting.
In the game, Spider-Man goes up against the Sinister Six from a different dimension, one where the Sinister Six has taken over. They've come to the 616 dimension to harvest a rare isotope called Iso-8, which originated from the Marvel: Avengers Alliance game on Facebook as far as I know. As Spider-Man, you go around a track with obstacles that you can avoid, jump over, punch through or slide under. At some points of the track, you'll also make use of Spider-Man's web swinging, which is pretty cool.
Controls are easy. Swipe left to move left, swipe right to move right. Swipe up to jump; otherwise, when the obstacle calls for it, swiping up performs a punch that either launches something upward or removes an airborne enemy. Swiping down slides under obstacles or through baddies. One cool new move is to be able to switch lanes while jumping, and that makes a lot of sense for a Spider-Man game.
Once in a while, you'll be asked to do real-time events, which essentially asks you to tap the screen at intervals or tapping the screen as rapidly as you can. There are wall-crawling areas also, which add some nice perspective changes.
Graphics - Since this isn't based off any movie, the art style is based off the comic books. The thick edges make everything inked in. It looks fantastic, especially considering it's on mobile.
Voice Acting - Still trying to find out who it is but it sounds very familiar. Could be Drake Bell, not sure.
Costumes! - If you're a Spider-Man fan, much like Mikael Francisco, then you're going to want to keep playing Spider-Man Unlimited until you have all the costumes. And there are a TON of them from all walks of Spider-Man's life.
It'll have 616 Spider-Man, Spider-Armor, Spider-Armor 2, House of M Spider-Man, Spider-Man Last Stand, Iron Spider, Manggaverse, Future Foundation, battle damaged Spidey, Scarlet Spider, Captain Universe Spider-Man, Ben Reilly Spider-Man, the original Scarlet Spider, Bombastic Bag-Man, Spider-Armor 3, Spider-Man Noir, and Secret War Spider-Man. I wouldn't be surprised if they had Superior Spider-Man in there, too.
Mission Structure - As opposed to following a an endless maze that autogenerates randomly, Spider-Man Unlimited has a mission structure that gives you options.
Buggy - It's still a little buggy. Sometimes, my input doesn't get read and I end up smashing against a wall. Controls don't seem all that responsive, although it could just be my phone. I've seen reports that ISO-8 count and leaderboard scores don't update, too.
Pay Wall - It's a f2p game, which means Gameloft has to make money through some other way. You can earn life credits by paying with real money or watching paid advertisements. If you don't wanna pony up, every time you die, you have to wait. That isn't so bad, except for a game as twitchy as this, replaying your missions immediately would almost be an impulse few people can refuse.
Other Walls - The problem with this game type and it being a Spidey title is that walls barely taller than him should not be able to knock Spider-Man down. He is Spider-Man. He can jump over those and not stupidly smash his face into objects that do not move. It just isn't Spider-Man-like. Because if there's one thing that can't stop Spider-Man, it's a wall. If he can web zip up a building, the dude can jump over a stupid wall.
Episodic Downloads - The game is HUGE. It takes up quite a bit of your drive. That's fine, I guess, as phones are starting to accept larger and larger storage capacities. Still, having to download the game launcher and waiting until an episode finishes downloading before playing can get pretty frustrating. After finishing one episode, if another episode is available, you have to download that, too. These patches do allow for expansion but downloading too often can get quite annoying.
Repetitive Gameplay - It's an Temple Run endless runner-type game. Even with the web swinging, punching mechanics, wall crawling and the quick time events, you can't help but feel like you're doing the same things over and over. I guess it's a limitation of the platform, being on a mobile device and all. Still, I've played a few mobile games that had complex structures that were enjoyable. Wait - no. No, I haven't. I lied. It's repetitive because it's a mobile game.
The point of games is that they're fun and Spider-Man Unlimited is that. It's a game you can pick up and play while on your daily commute or if you want to kill time while waiting for the dentist. In that regard, the game performs admirably. It's your quick fix until the next big mobile hit comes along. Sorry, Swing Copter, it wasn't you.
And if you're a Spider-Man fan, you're going to play the holy living hell out of this game whether it's good or not because of all the costumes and the unlockables.