The App Store is full of games trying to capitalize on a current trend, so when I first heard about Captain America: Sentinel of Liberty for the iPhone, I was a bit skeptical. Most companies have a hard enough time getting a movie adaptation to work as a console game. Is it possible they could make magic for the iPhone?
To find out, I decided to play the game and give it a fair shake. Was it worth it? Let’s find out together after the jump.
Now, I have yet to see the movie, so know that there are no spoilers here, and if there are, well I would have no idea. Got that full disclosure part covered? OK, good. Now let’s get into it.
The premise here is that some of Captain America’s teammates are trapped by Hydra, and the only person who can save them is, you guessed it, Captain America. To do so, you have to run through the outdoors and then the indoors to catch the bad guys, free your friends and save the world from Hydra rule. Sounds fun, right?
How It Plays
The game itself is a side scroller, which the iPhone lends itself to nicely. Often times I find that games on the iPhone that try to get too three dimensional and really work all of the angles are difficult to control, and I find my fingers slipping off of the screen in the process of trying to move the character. With Captain America, the protagonist runs by default, you just swipe in various directions to get going. Swipe left or right to move left or right, and you can stop and go again as well.
Jumping and fighting are handled by swipes also, but you don’t have to learn a million different combos just to get things going. As you approach an enemy, the game speed slows down and you can then make your decision on how you want to take them out. You can throw your shield, jump and attack, slide and attack, or just run right through them to knock them off their feet. It seems simple because it is, but that doesn’t make it less fun.
Once you’ve started an attack, you can then string that together into a combo move. Once the combo is started, the next step is depicted on the screen in that same slo-mo effect used previously. This gives you time to work the combo, but doesn’t give it too much of an edge that it will upset pro or novice users. It still manages to keep up the pace and even after hundreds of hits, the combos still look cool along the way.
There are other action moves as well, such as wall climbing which you accomplish by bouncing back and forth up a vertical corridor, as well as wall running, which involves timing your swipes perfectly to get yourself on the board. Later levels incorporate multiple moves, making it more and more difficult to get through the level.
Movement and Longevity
Even though this is a platformer at its heart, this isn’t just about running to the right and occasionally doubling back. Once you get into the underground levels, you’ll have to go up and down and back and forth to get to your destination. Better yet, the complexity level goes up a tick or two because finding your exit point is no longer a straightforward process. Instead, there are twists and turns and confusing loops to get to the end of the level, and that makes it even more fun.
As for how well this game stands up to the test of time, I can say that I’ve been playing this game pretty solidly for a few weeks now. I don’t spend an hour at a time on it or anything, but I have found myself opening up the app frequently. Although it seems like it would get repetitive, it just hasn’t for me yet. I even moved it out of a folder on my game screen because I played it so much.
So is this the best platformer for the iPhone? Even though it’s based on a movie, this game is still lots of fun to play. The cut scene graphics are pretty cool and evoke both the comic book and the film, plus the graphics in the game aren’t too bad either. Sure, it’s essentially about running and beating up bad guys, but isn’t that really the point of lots of games?
For me, the big win here is that I want to play the game often. It’s pretty easy for me to pick up a game and play it once or twice then put it down for a month or two at a time. But this one — for me — is more like Angry Birds or Plants Vs. Zombies. I want to play it again and again. Why? Well I’m not quite able to put my finger on that one, but I can say confidently that it is a heck of a lot of fun.
If you’ve played the game and have some thoughts, drop us a note in the comments!