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The superhero genre has undergone a renaissance of late. Gone are the days of cheesy dialogue, Val Kilmer and seeing a technicolor ‘THWACK! KAPOW! THUD!’ whenever Batman landed a punch. Instead, things are now a bit more… well, dark. Less slapstick.
Injustice: The Gods Amongst Us is no exception. This free iOS and Android beat-em-up game is set in the DC comics universe and throws you into a world that pits you against some of the most fearsome adversaries from both film and comic book lore. But is it more Batman Begins, or more Batman Forever?
I tested Injustice: The Gods Amongst Us on a 2012 Nexus 7 tablet running stock Android 4.4. Whilst this is hardly the most meaty device on the market right now, I found that it handled it admirably without any lag or graphical glitches, and performance was sufficiently good for the purposes of a review.
When installing for the first time, you’ll be prompted to link it to your Google Plus account. It appears that this will act almost as how Steam handles badges and accomplishments, although if you can opt out of this.
Gameplay consists of a number of battles, each containing multiple levels with various adversaries you have to defeat. You start off with three Marvel characters, each represented by a trading card. These constitute your ‘deck’ of fighters, and level up as they gain experience. Each card has three special attack moves which can be unlocked and upgraded with the credits you gain from each battle. Almost like Top Trumps.
Each card has a limited amount of energy which gets expended whenever you fight an opponent. This regenerates, albeit slowly. If you want to continue your battling straight away, get ready to cough up. I found that the best way to continue gaming without worrying about buying more energy was to simply have a large deck of cards, each leveled up to roughly the same amount.
For such an interesting franchise, I feel that this game is let down somewhat by its simplistic combat. Swipe across to hit your opponent, and keep on doing so until they’ve been defeated. There’s no real skill involved, other than the ability to balance some statistics and to flick your finger across a piece of glass a whole bunch of times.
As you hit (or get hit by) your opponent, you gain power. This power allows you to use one of the aforementioned special attack moves. These are of variable damage, and require you to thrash the screen with your finger before they do anything.
In addition, I found that the level progression to be quite unbalanced. You’ll chug along, dispatching with ease your opponents until you’ll hit one which you simply cannot defeat. Then you will have to go back and run through all the other levels until you are sufficiently leveled up, or spend some money of course. This makes it feel incredibly disjointed.
Injustice uses the Unreal engine, and thus packs an aesthetic punch. I found that it looks like a decent PC game from a few years back, and runs as smooth as butter on my one year old Nexus. Each character is rendered in beautiful detail, backgrounds are vibrant and attractive, and often are animated with cars and spaceships whizzing about.
This is absolutely a family-friendly game. Any and all violence is comic in nature, and is entirely bloodless. You really don’t need to worry about installing this on the tablet of a younger relative.
Despite its flaws, Injustice: The Gods Amongst Us is an entertaining romp through the world of DC Comics. It’s also free, which is a price point that most of us should find agreeable.
Have you given it a go? Enjoyed it? Let me know in the comments below.