The Amazing Spider-Man swung into theaters this week, and along with him came an Android game.
The Amazing Spider-Man by Gameloft follows closely in the spirit of their previous web-slinging title for Android, Total Mayhem - you'll find the same 3D beat-'em-up gameplay, open world exploration, interactive cinematic sequences, and Spidey-sense dodging.
There's plenty that's new, however - namely, the graphics have had a complete overhaul for the movie and to take advantage of the horsepower in the latest Android devices. There's also an extensive talent tree structure that allows players to unlock new abilities and tailor Spider-Man to their style.
The controls will be familiar to anyone who played Ultimate Spider-Man: Total Mayhem. Tapping the jump button once sends Spider-Man into the air, and holding it again after that activates swinging from buildings. There's an automatic targeting system both for perches that players can instantly swing to, and bad guys waiting to get slingshot drop-kicked in the face. The dual-stick control is slightly tweaked so that the movement stick on the left is dynamically positioned based on any initial tap anywhere on the left side of the screen, plus contextual attacks will pop up on the right depending on what's selected and when.
The 25-mission storyline loosely follows the movie, but the branding is mostly to adopt the style. There are cutscenes peppered in the middle of fights where Spider-Man makes some truly heroic dodges, provided the player is snappy enough to make the right gesture quickly. The usual crimefighting theme is there, complete with cheesy wise-cracks. The open world set-up is very nice if you just want to casually swing from building to building, exploring five districts of New York and finding hidden collectible items peppered throughout the city. There is a fast travel option, however, if you want to get right to a mission.
The Amazing Spider-Man is plagued with in-app purchases, which have quickly become a Gameloft hallmark. Players can buy both Spiders (which are used to purchase power-ups and are earned through completing missions), as well as skill points (which are rewarded every time Spider-Man levels up). Of course, one can simply ignore them and get on with the game, but being pestered to pay more after shelling out $6.99 for a game lacks tact.
Graphics and audio
There are a ton of animation sequences that switch depending on context. For example, Spider-Man will corkscrew wildly in the air if he lets go of the webbing while swinging around a corner, or will dash along the side of the building if a player swings closely enough. Combat employs similar contextual attacks, though transitions from one to the other (especially in movement) can sometimes be jerky.
Character textures and models are absolutely phenomenal, but not without a cost. For one, the framerate seems to suffer across the board. Secondly, building textures are often very simplistic, which is a harsh contrast to the high-quality job they've done on Spidey, particularly when he's scaling a skyscraper, or a billboard in this case. Buildings also have pretty choppy transitions from low-quality models to high-quality ones as players approach them, but once they've switched, they provide some solid dynamic reflections. I played on a Samsung Galaxy Nexus running stock Android 4.0.1 mind you, so your mileage may vary with a more powerful device. Lastly, all of those nice textures will gobble up 1.9 GB of space on your phone, which may or may not be a lot, depending on how much you've got crammed on your phone as is.
As for audio, whoever they got to voice act for Spider-Man is really grating. I get that Peter Parker is supposed to be a nerd, but they played up the squeaky nasal pitch a little too much. Besides that, the sound effects and music are standard heroic, whizz-pow fare.
- Sharp, detailed textures
- Polished, deep gameplay
- Unnecessary in-app purchases
- Choppy framerate at points
- Annoying voice actor for Peter Parker
With The Amazing Spider-Man for Android, Gameloft has made a solid action game with excellent refinements to their beat-'em-up formula, namely with the inclusion of sharp graphics and a great leveling up structure. Lower-end Android phones might not be ideal candidates for The Amazing Spider-Man, but diehard comic fans will have a hard time resisting the latest and greatest Spider-Man title available.
Download: The Amazing Spider-Man