As it turns out, Mortal Kombat X is a surprisingly decent mobile game. Unfortunately, it’s also free-to-play, and the way it dishes out the experience pretty much ruins it.
Unlike this Fatal Fury abomination SNK recently released for mobile devices, Mortal Kombat X isn’t a hardcore fighting game. Instead, the mechanics of Mortal Kombat have been heavily simplified in favor of allowing you to quickly and easily pull off a couple of basic maneuvers. You can’t choose whether you punch, kick, or jab. Instead, tapping the screen attacks, placing two fingers initiates a block, and you slowly build up a meter in the corner to execute special moves. Occasionally, you’ll swipe across part of the screen to execute a more powerful attack.
While simple, it works pretty well, especially combined with swapping between other fighters. It’s possible to switch over to someone else, allowing a hurt fighter to recover. There’s just enough happening on the touch screen to keep you busy without feeling totally overwhelmed.
That said, it takes a good, long time before the game even remotely tried putting up a fight. It wasn’t until two hours in that Mortal Kombat X forced me to start strategically using my block.
Not much happens at all in Mortal Kombat X for about two hours, in fact. When you watch the game’s trailer, it sure makes it seem like you’re getting the full Mortal Kombat experience:
Fatalities! Breaking bones! Screen-filling special moves! Yeah! I’m in!
Unfortunately, that’s not going to be your experience very often. You only execute a fatality when you’ve fought special boss characters, and that’s not very often. It’s not like you’ll be witnessing fatalities every few minutes. The game decides to dole them out at a glacier pace.
Even though the combat in Mortal Kombat X is swift, everything else moves slowly, too. When you take a look at your character “kard,” it promises a game full of loot to outfit your fighters.
With two hours under my belt, I haven’t gotten access to more than two pieces of equipment, and I’m not about to spend money in the game’s store just to make my fighters more competent.
Of course, it’s a free-to-play game, so I understand the game’s trying to hook me just enough to play, but not enough to have the full experience without being patient or paying up with cash. The game features an energy system, but leveling up replenishes it, and I haven’t yet run out.
It’s too bad, though. There’s so much to like about what they’ve put together! But I’d really have preferred to pay $5 or $10 to download a version of Mortal Kombat X that dished out the experience more evenly. That may be the nature of these types of games—I don’t have to like it!
Buying 84,000 “koins” for $10 wouldn’t even be enough to really dig into the game, either.
I might stick with Mortal Kombat X for a little longer, since I don’t have access to the game coming out next week yet. Maybe the daily bonuses the game started giving me today can help?It seems like the daily reward begin stacking, so long as you’re coming back to check regularly.
What’d I get? 800 coins. Bah!
Oh well. It’s’s a reason—a free one—to spend time with Sonya Blade and friends until next week.
You can reach the author of this post at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @patrickklepek.