When I was young, I used to take a city bus from my school so that I could go to the comic book store every Friday and pick up my regular issues. Following the monthly adventures of my favorite characters — many from the DC Comics universe — was my life back then, and a very enjoyable part of my childhood.
It’s been a long time since those days on the Phoenix Metro, and now I’m an adult with a family to support and all the responsibilities that come with it. But when I want to get my comic book fix, and the Comixology lineup on my iPad just isn’t cutting it, I turn to Injustice: Gods Among Us.
World(s) on Fire
If you haven’t read a DC book in years and all you know are the basics, that’s OK. The opening quote of the game pretty much fills in all the gaps:
What does that mean for you? It means that in the game there are multiple versions of Batman, Superman, the Flash and so on, some of them good, some are evil. In fact, Lex Luthor plays the good guy through some of the game. This also explains why the costumes seem different from DC canon, and why they’re all fighting each other to begin with. Well, kinda.
I haven’t read the entire Injustice comic series, but from what I’ve gathered, Superman is pretty ticked off. Lois gets killed, and he blames pretty much everyone for it, so it becomes this giant battle royale between goodies and baddies. There’s also a console version of the game, which is a lot more involved than the iOS model.
Injustice uses the Unreal rendering system as a base, which means that some of the movements may seem familiar to you if you’ve played Infinity Blade or one of the many other Unreal games out there for iOS. It also provides an idea of how this whole thing works; you don’t really move from place to place here, you just stand still and kick butt. That’s not to say that you don’t go places, you’re just not in control of it.
The game itself is your standard Street Fighter clone; you’re a character, and you fight other characters using a series of movements. Taps are low powered moves, swipes are higher powered moves and two fingers held onto the screen will block. If you build up enough power, you can perform special moves that knock your opponent back, and there are also finishing moves to deal with.
But the main difference between Injustice and Street Fighter is the amount of characters in the fold. With Injustice, it’s a bit of a battle royale with three members on each side per game. You can rotate out this roster however you want, and that means that one day you can play with Nightwing, Lex and Catwoman, the next with Sinestro, Superman and Solomon Grundy. That’s fun.
A Bit of Confusion
Injustice features in-app purchases because who doesn’t nowadays, right? But it’s a bit confusing. Yes, you can buy characters if you don’t want to play the game long enough to earn them on your own, but they’re super-expensive, so it’ll take some playing to earn up the cash (the cheapest ones are 8,000 credits, and that’s going to take a bit to acquire. Superman is 220,000, FYI). Then there’s the crystal/gem system.
It costs one gem per game to play, so when your characters run out of gems, you’re out of luck. Now you automatically recover gems when you’re not playing, so that’s a handy reminder to just put the game down. However, if you do run out of gems, you just have to buy more with lightning bolts. How you earn those, I have no clue, but I needed some and had 15, apparently. It’s some kind of weird energy/card/gem system that just wasn’t clearly laid out, so I’m not even sure how to explain it. Suffice it to say, it’s confusing.
There’s something cathartic for me about playing Injustice. Maybe it’s revisiting my youth in a way that wasn’t possible back then, or just the phrenetic pace of flicking my fingers across my iPhone’s screen at a dizzying pace. But whatever the reason, I think I’ll be playing Injustice for quite a bit. I’ve already moved it to a more prominent location on my home screen, which is a sign of many games to come.
It’s not perfect. I’d love to move more and explore worlds as shown in the console version, and expanding environments would be great, too. But that’s not in the cards on iOS, and I’m OK with that. As long as I can pit Batman against Superman, I think all is right in the world.