Developer: Phosphor Games
Price: $4.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad 2

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

Overall Rating: ★★½☆☆

Siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh.

That’s what Man of Steel makes me do. Let out an overly-elongated sigh. It’s a mediocre Infinity Blade clone that’s half-complete at best. It makes last year’s Avengers Initiative look inspired by comparison. That game at least dared to have multiple settings! This game is definitive proof that Batman is better, at least at Infinity Blade knock-offs: Arkham City Lockdown is a rather respectable title.

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Man of Steel is a carbon copy of the Infinity Blade combat model: one-on-one fights, attacks in the cardinal directions, blocking, parrying, dodging, two different special attacks that charge up, tapping on the screen to win grapples, all that fun stuff. It’s nothing new. There’s no exploration outside of combat, any progression is done through menus. Players earn experience which can be used to upgrade Superman to higher levels, and fight in the Survival mode to grind for additional XP, though that mode also provides the bulk of the replay value. Thankfully there’s no hackneyed “forced to start over” mechanic like in Avengers Initiative.

The game is dominantly familiar, but let me at least praise what little good it does. Dodging used as ninety-degree turns, which can be used to send enemies careening into the environment, which can cause experience bonuses and additional damage, is at least original. Sending enemies flying into the sky to be wailed on is pretty cool. Yet, there’s something about the way that Superman just senselessly damages his surroundings that feels out of touch with the character. It’s part of the phenomenon that Zack Stentz, co-writer of the Thor movie, describes well. All in all, the game is okay, but I never really had much fun with it. It’s a very short game, and the fact that $4.99 doesn’t even get players a universal app is an insult.

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The biggest insult is that the game is seemingly half-complete. There’s notably only one environment: Smallville. Sure, there’s different parts of it, but the action never actually leaves there. It gets to just be so dull after a short while. Then, the final level comes around, which is a triple-decker insult: it rehashes bosses, including rehashing the first boss as the last boss in a three-boss sequence, and then it turns out that it’s the end of the game. No big fight against Zod–it’s “to be continued.”

What’s not to be continued is this game’s continuing presence on my iPad.

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