Before a weapon produced by his own company left him no choice but to become a better man, Tony Stark was a textbook billionaire industrialist playboy, motivated by money and power, with a penchant for glamorous things. He was the sort of guy that would create Iron Man 3: The Official Video Game, in which players have the option to unlock every armor in the game immediately for $100.
Now that's not to say you can't simply unlock all 18 gorgeous Iron Man armor models by playing through this sexy-but-shallow endless flying game yourself. Why, I've played the game for several hours now, and I've unlocked *checks* three. Well on my way to getting a Benjamin's worth of high tech toys for nothing!
All I had to do to secure these weapons of class destruction was to become the most reckless incarnation of Iron Man ever. I'm flying through city streets, close to the ground, doing my best to avoid unassuming truck drivers and other obstacles one would find in a place where Iron Man should not be flying. That's where the game keeps the Stark Bucks, and I need those to unlock and upgrade armors.
When I'm done on the ground, the game automatically ups my elevation. Now I'm dodging billboards, fighter jets, dirigibles and missiles as I collect my Stark Bucks. Up where the air is clear, up where the enemies appear, requiring pin-point finger sliding or taps to take them down. This also earns me Stark Bucks. The man has his own currency.
If only I could apply that virtual currency towards crafting a better control scheme. There are two ways to navigate Tony Stark back and forth across the screen — tilt, which works okay; and running your finger along the bottom, which is horrible. Touching your finger to a strip along the bottom of the display moves Iron Man to that position. Move your finger up too high, and you're firing weapons instead. On an iPad it's impossible to play the game in this fashion unless the pad is resting in your lap. On my smaller phone it works much better, but the giant pause button in the upper left keeps getting hit accidentally in combat. It needs a little work.
The best feature of Iron Man 3 is, as it should be, the armors. They are so very, very pretty. I want to lick them. These are easily the most attacking Iron Man armor models that have ever appeared in a video game.
They're also quite fragile. Should you fall in battle, you're returned to the Stark Industries page, where a timer lets you know how long you have to wait until the suit is ready to fly again. Where other endless-runner type games give the option to retry immediately after failing, here one has to wait for a menu to load, and then wait for the armor to get fixed.
There's always the option to slip into another suit, of course. The game gives the player three slots to hold assembled armors. If they'd like a fourth, they can spend ISO-8 — special currency that can be earned (slowly) or purchased — to unlock an additional slot. ISO-8 can also be used to skip timers (repair, assembly), continue the game after Iron Man explodes, and purchase power-ups from an annoying-as-hell screen that pops up every time you start a run.
Nearly everything Iron Man 3 has to offer can eventually be unlocked by the incredibly patient by simply playing the game. Unfortunately I don't have much patience for awkward controls, annoying arbitrary timers and horrific voice acting.
Now if Gameloft wanted to release a standalone app that lets me browse through those beautiful suits of armor, I'd happily dip into the Fahey fortune.
Iron Man 3
- Genre: Endless Flyer
- Developer: Gameloft
- Platform: iOS, Android
- Price: Free