Developer: Gameloft
Price: FREE (in-app purchases)
Version: 1.0.0
App Reviewed on: iPhone 4S

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★½☆ 
User Interface Rating: ★★★☆☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★☆☆
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★☆☆
Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆

Thor, son of Odin, the allfather and ruler of Asgard, is probably the least complex superhero from an expansive Marvel catalogue. As a god from a long line of gods, he has no mysterious background and no alter-ego. He has a big hammer though, so that’s a plus.

Unfortunately, Gameloft’s free-to-play iOS smash-em-up Thor: The Dark World is far from straightforward. Riddled with messy visuals and a confusing interface, Thor is laden with the task of babysitting troops and shattering crystals.

IMG_1526Considering he’s Thor, he’s got quite a limited set of moves. Tapping once on an enemy will result in a hammer attack, whereas double-tapping towards an enemy or object produces a hammer throw. Draw a shape to launch a lightning attack, and summon Einherjer by tapping the icon at the bottom right of the screen. Health and mana potions are finite so these should be used sparingly, though if one desires they can always purchase more with real currency. Without potions Thor’s health will replenish, albeit very slowly.

The Einherjer are probably the most interesting element of the game. Further types of warrior are unlocked as players progress through each stage, with the option of upgrading each. In addition to the Einherjer, there are also special allies to unlock and recruit to help out. Significantly more power than the Einherjer, they have special abilities that are handy in battle but require rest at certain intervals and demand a specific amount of waiting time.

IMG_1536There are three currency types in Thor: The Dark World, and not one comes without a price. Runes, the most common currency, are used to level up allies and Einherjer, as well as buy and level up new costumes. IOS-008 is a currency used to level up Thor’s abilities and unlock new powers. Frustratingly, the currency is limited and only rewarded after certain stage goals. Lastly, Uru is the game’s real premium currency, and the only one available to purchase directly. Used for unlocking things early, exchanging for other currencies, and continuing mid-stage, it is also used to acquire new hammers. Unfortunately, the game neglects to provide players a single Uru from the start, and fails to reward it in reasonable amounts thereafter.

Unfortunately, Thor: The Dark World is a pretty mediocre game at its core. It’s repetitive, messy, buggy, and the controls are terribly clunky. Add to the mix the insane amount of currency required to get anywhere worthwhile in the game, and the need for repetitive grinding, and Thor: The Dark World fails to live up to expectations.

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