You're not fooling anyone, Glu Mobile. The official RoboCop game you put together for the new movie is obviously a slightly more action-oriented take on the oddly-popular Deer Hunter 2014. Not a bad choice.
Rather than following the plot of the movie, the RoboCop mobile game pits our cybernetic law enforcer against an extensive training simulation. It's a setting that lends itself naturally to expansions and upgrades, while facilitating a mission structure similar to the one presented in Deer Hunter 2014 — itself a variation of the format made popular by CSR Racing.
There's a selection of different mission types, each with their own equipment prerequisites and rewards. The goal is to complete missions to earn credits. Those credits go towards purchasing and upgrading new armor and equipment, allowing the player to take on more difficult missions for greater rewards.
Again, the same basic formula as Deer Hunter 2014, though upgrading runs a bit deeper than just purchasing more expensive parts. Each armor suit and weapon has its own power tree. Unlocking nodes with cash earned in missions (or purchasing gold with real money) ups the capabilities of RoboCop's arsenal.
There's depth in this system, or at least a convincing illusion of it. Of course that sort of depth makes it much easier for the developer to pack the free-to-play game with special paid items and equipment, but you don't have to pay if you don't want to.
The gameplay, as seen the launch trailer earlier this week, is best described as cover shooting gallery. This is where the game deviates from the Deer Hunter formula. Instead of a first-person view, the camera is behind RoboCop. One thumb scounts and aims. The other stands and shoots. Special equipment allows players to scan enemies for weak spots or deploy drones to auto-attack. When the focus meter is filled, players can tap a certain number of targets, taking them out all at once in slow motion.
It's bite-sized action, perfect for a quick hit. Some missions have RoboCop moving from cover to cover, others just have him battling it out in a single scene until all the enemies are dead and any hostages rescued. Simple and satisfying.
As free-to-play mobile movie tie-ins go, RoboCop ranks right up there, thanks in no small part to its sticking to the formula that made Deer Hunter 2014 such a compelling experience. It's not without the standard free-to-play annoyances — that energy meter needs to be taken out back and shot — but they're easier to overlook here.
Maybe it could use more deer.
Genre: Mission-based third-person shooter
Developer: Glu Mobile
Platform: iOS, Android (Coming January 15)