Developer: Warner Bros.
Price: FREE
Version Reviewed: 1.0
App Reviewed on: iPad 2

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★½☆
Gameplay Rating: ½☆☆☆☆
Playtime Rating: ½☆☆☆☆
Replay Value Rating: ½☆☆☆☆

Overall Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

The summer movie season is almost upon us, which means it’s time for another veritable swarm of licensed games! One of the first major releases this year is a franchise reboot of the Kaiju King himself, Godzilla. Due to drop into theaters next weekend, it was inevitable that we’d see some manner of iOS tie-in. But is Godzilla: Strike Zone even an actual game? Well, it’s a little complicated.

Godzilla: Strike ZoneWhile technically I suppose it is a game, that label comes with a certain set of preconceptions that this product barely lives up to. Honestly, I’d feel much more comfortable calling Strike Zone a piece of interactive promotional material than anything else. The entire three level experience clocks in at somewhere between 15-20 minutes, depending on how many times the player has to resume a level due to dying, and that time spent is not exactly a white-knuckle thrill ride.

The first level has the player HALO dropping into the kaiju-ravaged city streets below, trying to avoid mid-air collisions with fellow jumpers and eventually gliding around collapsing buildings. The tilt controls used here are mediocre at best and players should be mindful to run calibration in the options once the level starts. Not doing so will lock the device’s neutral axis relative to whatever orientation it was held in when the game started, which made for several frustrating failed attempts on my part before I realized what was wrong.

Godzilla: Strike ZoneThe next two levels really aren’t different in any meaningful way, gameplay-wise. I assume they were split up in order to give Strike Zone the illusion of being more substantial than it is. Both levels take place in first-person, but don’t be fooled by the resemblance to, well, any FPS ever. Most of what takes place is just wandering from checkpoint to checkpoint along empty, ruined streets and occasionally engaging in some tedious platforming. When the player’s gun does come into play, it’s only to “solve puzzles,” which is to say “shoot the glowing red thing to continue.” The Big G himself only shows up in cutscenes, if we don’t count the couple of segments where the player is “chased” by him. I use those quotes because, while the game TELLS me that this is happening, when I turned around to face my oncoming doom, the only thing I saw was a roiling cloud of smoke and dust. The open sky visible above it? Pretty much 100% Godzilla free.

The one saving grace to this whole affair is that Warner Bros. isn’t charging anything for Godzilla: Strike Zone. I’m sure the whole development cost was underwritten by the movie’s marketing budget anyway. But the thing is, I’m not really sure who this release is aimed at. I was already hyped for the movie after seeing one trailer and allowing me to “recreate” a not-especially thrilling parachuting scene from a movie I have yet to see isn’t that much of a draw. Nor is being led by my nose through the utterly uneventful other two-thirds of the experience.

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