Developer: PlayFirst
Price: Free
Version: 1.1.3
App Reviewed on: iPad 3

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

Overall Rating: ★★☆☆☆

20130825-095817.jpgThe Mortal Instruments: City of Bones comes to the App Store in the form of the official movie game.

Set in New York, a group of angelic monster hunters named the Shadowhunters are out to rid the city of a wealth of uglies; including demons, vampires, and any other thing that goes bump in the night. After choosing a hero or heroin (either of whom wouldn’t look out of place at a Thirty Seconds to Mars concert), players take to the streets to fend off those supernatural trouble-makers. To attack, players must tap on an enemy, which will cause them to sprint to the monster’s location and strike once. That’s about it for gameplay. Players must sit through multiple waves of enemies by tapping each one until they burst into bubbly purple gloop (at least it’s not shiny diamond-skin).

What’s the point of having a leveling up system if it has such minimal effect on gameplay? The developers have clearly attempted to introduce RPG elements into The Mortal Instruments, but unlike other RPGs there is no interesting story here. It’s just a bunch of good-looking young people chatting nonchalantly about what they’re going to kill next. Most of the dialogue plays out like this:

“Yo, some bloodsuckers have been spotted in Brooklyn, yo.”

“Tsk, no problem, this is what we DO.”

“Cool, go and kill them then, ‘kay?”

“Tsk, ‘kay.”

20130825-095902.jpgWhile I have may exaggerated a bit, it doesn’t get much deeper than that. The only thing this game does well, in fact, is look good. Characters and backdrops look polished and suitably moody, while the menus and ominous background music succeed in creating a creepy atmosphere.

Overall, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones is a movie tie-in that adds nothing to the universe in which it is set, nor does it bring anything new to the genre that makes it worth playing. Only hardcore fans should think about downloading this, but even they will probably be disappointed.

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