Developer: Wideload Games
Price: $6.99
Version Reviewed: 1.02
Device Reviewed On: iPad 2

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★½☆☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★☆☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆

Wideload Games and Marvel have launched the first of what is likely a series of titles based off of the Avengers franchise. Avengers Initiative sits somewhere in-between the movie universe, featuring the same team of Avengers, many of whom make cameo appearances, though The Hulk is the star here. He’s been tasked to take down various baddies that threaten S.H.I.E.L.D. and Earth in general.

Avengers Initiative is Infinity Blade with the Hulk, developed by someone that isn’t Epic and Chair Entertainment. Players control Hulk through branching paths, swiping on screen to attack enemies, swiping in the same direction to parry, and dodging attacks. There’s a defensive stamina bar for blocking, but it can also be used to deliver full-damage attacks at enemies when they’re not open for damage. That’s the game’s most clever twist. It at least nails the basics of its obvious inspiration, and it looks mighty good to boot.

Structurally, the game is quite similar to Infinity Blade, by which I mean it’s pretty much identical. Seriously, it feels like the developer took a look at how Chair Entertainment’s titles were structured, and decided to lift them wholesale. Seriously, with the branching paths, the cycle of repetition, and the ability to collect currency strewn throughout the world, this feels like it should be called “Infinity Hulk” instead. As a result, the game feels like it’s missing something when compared to its progenitor, it feels like a cheap imitation that misses the nuances of Infinity Blade. The combat feels more like wild flailing than a skillful display of swordsmanship. Getting thrown off a floating battleship by Abomination doesn’t have the same kind of motivation to make me want to come back and smash in his stupid face. In fact, it doesn’t feel special because it’s not a surprise, and it feels obvious.

I think that the Infinity Blade format can be iterated upon and done in a way that takes the original format and makes it its own. There are games that do that. So I’m disappointed to see Avengers Initiative just take the easy way out, by doing what amounts to low-grade cloning instead of making a creative action title with the Hulk.

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