On April 3rd, Netherrealms Studios releases the iOS version of Injustice: Gods Among Us as a Free To Play/Freemium game. Although quite different from the version coming to the PS3, Xbox 360 and Wii U Consoles next week, it’s still a surprisingly fun game, and one well worth investing time (and perhaps even money) in, due to the synchronicity between the iOS and console versions. After spending a few days with the iOS version, here are ten quick thoughts I had about what might be my favorite iOS exclusive title yet.
1. Quick warning: I have an iPhone 5S, and the game constantly gives me an “iOS Memory Warning” in the upper right corner of my screen. It’s there through the whole game, but I never seem to encounter any slow down or loading issues. Just a head’s up that you WILL get this. Whether Netherrealms or Warner will get this fixed, or if the game truly does have a problem running on the iPhone properly, has yet to be determined.
2. Unlike the console version of Injustice, which is primarily a one-on-one fighting game, the iOS version is more reminiscent of SNK’s The King of Fighters series. Each battle features a three on three team, where characters can freely tag in and out as long as they have some health left. Gameplay is quite easy. Tap the screen fast and furiously for quick attack combos, slide your finger on the screen for hard but slow attacks, and put two fingers on the screen at once to block. Each character also starts out with a single level of a special attack, but as your characters level up, they can unlock up to two more special attacks. You can also spend in-game currency on raising the damage level of your special attacks.
3. My starting team was Nightwing, Insurgency Deathstroke and Insurgency Green Arrow, but along the way so far I’ve picked up several other characters. Deathstroke and Nightwing are definitely my favorites. There are also multiple versions of each character that you can purchase with in-game currency, with the more expensive ones being better than the less expensive ones. For example, your starting Nightwing has a decent amount of health and damage dealing. The “Insurgency” version, which bears the New 52 version of Dick Grayson’s costume, has more health and damage as a Level 1 character than the starter Nightwing has at Level 8. As well, the starter Nightwing’s special ability is that hand-to-hand combat damage done to him is reduced by 25%, while the New 52 style one takes 50% less hand to hand damage. Wow! Keep in mind that different versions of the same character will vary like this, so plan ahead if you want to max out a lower cost version of a character or save up for a higher tier version of them.
4. The game is definitely a full on fighting game experience (although far more toned down than a console or arcade cabinet version). However, a lot of the game uses cards as well. Character Cards are the characters you currently have unlocked, and are useable by the player. Support Cards are cards in your collection that innately boost a character in some way. For example, I have Bladed Claws as a support card, which gives any Catwoman character +1-% damage. I also have Personal Arsenal for Deathstroke, which also nets him an extra 10% damage, and Acrobat, which gives Nightwing +10% health. Most Support cards are specifically tied to a particular character name (such as Doomsday, Batman, Sinestro, etc), while there are a few expensive cards that can affect everyone on your team. Some of these include Power Girl, which gives your entire roster +2% Energy Regeneration, Doctor Fate, which gives every person on your roster +3% experience, and so on. It’s really neat to see character designs and artwork for all these DC super heroes and villains that probably won’t appear in the console version. It’s too bad too, as I really love their design for Martian Manhunter and Gorilla Grodd.
5. Of course, since this is a Freemium game, there is stuff to buy. You can purchase booster packs, which net you random cards. These range from the $4.99 Starter Pack, which gives you a guaranteed set of three cards: Insurgency Harley Quinn, Regime Flash and Regime Cyborg, to random booster backs that cost a lot of in-game currency and don’t guarantee you anything. The Starter Pack is a good investment though, as if you purchased them for in-game coins, it would cost you 126,000 coins (the amount you get varies based on the difficulty of the battle), or roughly fifteen dollars cash. You can also purchase in-game currency to get specific characters and support cards, but some of these are insanely expensive. Superman, for example, costs 220,000 coins, which is over twenty dollars cash! The good news is, you can earn enough coins to get cards you want without paying a dime, but it will be a long grinding process. I’ve basically stuck to using coins to power up my special abilities and/or purchase support cards for the characters I’ve randomly earned by completing tasks. I won Catwoman by completing one of the battle ladders and Green Lantern New 52 by connecting to the game with my WBID.
6. As I mentioned earlier, there is a huge amount of connectivity between the console and iOS versions of Injustice. There are twenty-one iOS unlocks that you can get by playing the console version of Injustice: Gods Among Us, and just as many console unlocks by playing the iOS version! That’s crazy! The best part is that the two play so differently from each other, you can flip between the two without feeling bored or like the games are getting repetitive. The iOS unlocks are far superior, as you get coins, booster packs, playable characters and support cards. Meanwhile the console unlocks that you earn by playing the iOS game are backgrounds, icons and portraits. You can unlock at least three skins for the console version of Injustice, including Nightfall Bane, Arkham Harley and New 52 Green Lantern.
7. Visually, the iOS version of Injustice never fails to blow me away.The game’s character designs look on par with the console version, and the animation of the battles is fluid. There is never any slowdown except when it is supposed to happen (when you trigger a special move), and I’m really impressed with how amazing this game looks. I haven’t played every iOS game out there, but I don’t think it’s too much of an exaggeration to say Injustice: Gods Among Us is arguably the best looking game for iOS devices.
8. For those interested, here is a list of the playable characters in the iOS version, not counting different skins or Regime/Insurgency variants: Catwoman, Harley Quinn, Nightwing, Green Arrow, Cyborg, Lex Luthor, Sinestro, Solomon Grundy, Green Lantern, Deathstroke, Bane, The Joker, Wonder Woman, Black Adam, Doomsday, Batman and Superman. Every character has at least one variant from their base card, so that’s over 35 characters in the game to collect.
9. There’s no storyline to the iOS version of Injustice, so concepts like Regime and Insurgency have no meaning, save for the fact they are different versions of a character. All you do in this game is fight battle towers, ala Mortal Kombat, with your three on three teams. Each battle tower has its own theme though. Some might boost everyone’s attack, while some might have a boss battle where your team only faces a single character, but it’s a highly powerful version of said opponent. So if you’re looking for plot full of character building, you won’t find it here. If you, however, like fighting game style combat (albeit it simplified because it’s on iOS), you can while a way a LOT of time with this version of Injustice.
10. All in all, Injustice: Gods Among Us is a lot of fun. It’s quickly become one of my favorite iPhone games, along with Vay and Shining Force. It’s the best original iOS game I’ve played, and while the combat is nowhere as deep as the console version, it’s very fast paced and a lot of fun. I love the nod to KoF and I also love that the game is free and that you can still get through the game without purchasing anything if you’re willing to grind for coins (which admittedly, doesn’t take too long unless you are trying for Superman). If you have an iOS device, then by all means, download this. It’s quite fun, and you’ll be getting unlockables for the console version of the game as well. Just remember, the game is over 50MB in size, so you’ll need a Wi-Fi connection or to plug your phone into your computer to download this.