Movie and comic tie ins usually have two things in common; they are usually deeply average and more often than not beat ’em ups. Captain America: Sentinel of Liberty for the iPhone and iPad hopes to buck that trend by being a Mirrors Edge clone.
The game starts out well enough and it is initially enjoyable running around with Cap, jumping gaps and throwing your shield at bad guys and this is because the developer has got the gameplay basics just about right. The problem is that the game never rises above that to show and innovation or excitement and then descends into the age old trap of repetitiveness and reusing the same gameplay ideas over and over.
Captain America is controlled by swiping the screen in different directions. Swipe to the right or left and he will auto run in that direction until you tell him to stop or he hits an obstacle. Swipe up and he will jump. Whilst running he will encounter many obstacles, but the problem is that they are all dealt with by those simple commands.
Want to wall run? Swipe up. Duck under a log? Swipe down. Bash an enemy? Swipe forward. Grab a pole? Swipe up. Jump from the pole? Swipe up. Bash a wall down? Swipe right. Yes its all very Mirrors Edge, but Mirrors Edge offered style, interesting environments and much more. Here it feels as repetitive as it sounds. The fact that the levels look so drab doesn’t help.
You can use your shield in a few ways, but its potential is massively under used. Throw shield at enemy? Tap shield button. Throw shield at mine? Tap shield button…..sounds familiar. You can build up its power to get some extra attacks, but they are not really worth the effort.
So the gameplay, while basically sound is repetitive and uninteresting, but there is a lot else to like here.
The story, penned especially for this game, is great and there are some decent cut scenes to support it. The Cap has some decent quips and sayings to mutter as he swings through the levels and the sound is overall, spot on. While the levels are bland and boring to look at, the Captain himself is well drawn and animated.
There are plenty of things to unlock by collecting intel in the levels, and the game has leaderboards and achievements. The combo system, while very limited is enjoyable, and you can also use things like explosive barrels to take out some enemies to make things a little more fun.
It is just a shame that the game just doesn’t progress creatively beyond the first few levels. It does smack of laziness, but I guess the time constraints of getting this out in time for the movie limited what the developer could do. For fans of the franchise, this is a fairly decent distraction and an average Mirrors Edge clone that is worth picking up for the story.
Foe everyone else, I would just suggest that you simply buy Mirrors Edge instead as, while Captain America: Sentinel of Liberty is by no means a terrible game it is no classic and why settle for second best?