The Dark Knight Rises review - Batman is ready for Android

The Dark Knight Rises hits theaters today, and along with it is an Android game from Gameloft. Much like The Amazing Spider Man, The Dark Knight Rises for Android is inspired by the movie, and though the mechanics are similar, the brooding atmosphere is what really sets the Batman game apart. 

Players get to zoom across a bleak cityscape by gliding, swinging, or motoring through Gotham. Missions follow closely in the footsteps of the movie, but as you go, you can kit out Bruce Wayne with the latest tech and upgrade particular parts of his suit and vehicles to suit your playstyle. There's plenty of open world exploration too, and a whole bundle of hidden items to find. 

Gameplay and controls

The Dark Knight Rises hosts the usual dual-stick set-up: the virtual joystick on the left side of the screen controls where Batman moves, while swiping anywhere else controls where he looks. There's a smattering of buttons on the right side that pop up depending on what's in range - grapnel hook launcher, attack, leap, sneak attack, counter, and a few others. Some actions, like hacking terminals and kicking open doors are initiated by tapping on the objects directly. Camera angles were twitchy at times, but most of the time performance was fine.

My only serious qualm with controls was driving. Steering is dictated by moving a slider bar to the left or right - no accelerometer controls or even left/right tap zones. Gliding would would feel a bit more natural if there was an option to invert the Y axis on the controls, but it's easy enough to make do. That said, it would be nice to have some more control options, such as repositional buttons dynamic virtual joystick placement as in other Gameloft titles. 

The gameplay itself is pretty standard. Combat is mostly just bashing the attack button over and over while Batman acrobatically dispatches opponents with cape flourishes galore. The arsenal of gadgets helps you mix things up further in the game, but for the most part, they're just around to be fancy. Combat isn't the only part of the game, however. Simply navigating from point A to point B can be tricky under certain circumstances and activities like hacking puzzles can provide nice breaks from beating up the bad guys. The swinging from perch to perch indoors is a sight some players will recognize from the Arkham Asylum and Arkham City games for console.

Progression is standard fare as well - beat up bad guys, complete primary and secondary missions, earn experience points, level up, unlock new gear, and improve equipment with upgrade points. You also earn credits throughout gameplay that are used on smaller upgrades and consumables. There's a ton of customizability on this front that can be fast-tracked with in-app purchases. IAPs really don't need to be in $6.99 games, even if they amount to little more than progress acceleration. I already paid for the game, don't nickel and dime me to death. If in-app purchases allow a developer to release a game for free, super, but it really grates when devs try to double-dip. 

I won't go too far into the storyline (especially since I haven't seen the movie yet), but it seems like there are at least few spoilers in the game - you've been warned. There are 6 chapters containing a total of 20 missions, and even once you've wrapped up the campaign, there's a bunch of collectible hidden items throughout Gotham that can be acquired in free roam mode. 

Graphics and audio

The animation in Dark Knight Rises is particularly great. Combat motions move seamlessly from one attack to the next, and amply display Batman's agility and power. Sometimes it feels like the game goes overboard with the slow-mo effects, especially considering most of the time you're just tapping attack repeatedly and occasionally the counter button, but there's hardly anything wrong with theatrics for a title based on a movie. The menu system and UI has a high degree of polish with lots of smooth transition animations. 

Much like The Amazing Spider-Man, the protaganist's visuals are all incredibly well done at the expensive of many others. Selina Kyle's out-of-costume model had a perfectly flat face, and the main villain, Bane, lacks the details to sufficiently counterpoint Batman. Despite that, The Dark Knight Rises still takes up 1.81 GB, so make sure you have enough storage on your device and time to download and install. 

On the other hand, the voice acting is much better than in the Amazing Spider-Man; Batman is appropriately throaty, Alfred is nice and generically British - even Bane with some of his cheesier monologues is a nice representation of the voice in the movie. The music is dour and high-quality, as one would hope from a Batman game. 

The good

  • Faithfully captures classic Batman gloominess
  • Extensive progression and unlockables
  • Dramatic combat

The bad

  • In-app purchases are contrived
  • Graphics on everyone else but Batman are less than great
  • Spotty driving controls


The Dark Knight Rises on Android is a perfect companion to the film, and will no doubt be an attractive purchase once you've seen it and want to relive the action. In-app purchases for accelerated progression will be a significant turn-off for many. For seven bucks, nobody should have to deal with with developers asking for more money, even if the purchases are optional.

Though Batman looks great, it's very much at the expense of many of the other characters, If the supporting cast got a bit more love, maybe the difference in graphical quality wouldn't be so jarring.

There's a ton of unlocks to enjoy, a broad open-world Gotham to explore, and lots of bad guys to beat up. For casual and die-hard Batman fans alike, The Dark Knight is a no-brainer.

Download: The Dark Knight Rises (opens in new tab) ($6.99) 

Simon Sage
Simon has been covering mobile since before the first iPhone came out. After producing news articles, podcasts, review videos, and everything in between, he's now helping industry partners get the word about their latest products. Get in touch with him at
  • Is this a joke?
  • LOL!!!!!!!
  • Sorry you guys are mourning but there are other people in the world who would enjoy this game. The world does not revolve around the USA
  • wow what a completely inconsiderate comment...go kill yourself
  • Really! Hope the USA does shit for your country when you need help you piece of crap. Where do you leave you piece of garbage!
  • Wow the maturity in this comment section.
  • This is an artical about the game for the movie. It's not an artical to cover news that relates to the movie the game was about no matter how bad the news was. It sucks that that happened and I was shocked. Although I don't expect the author to bring up what happened in a review to this game. It's not relevant and does not need to be brought up every time the dark night rises gets talked about. If you want news on the tragedy or you want to respect those lost then there is plenty of sites and news outlets that you can turn to. Rembering and paying respect to those lost does not mean it constantly needs to be talked about or even mentioned. Peopl not only grieve or pay respects in different ways. I didn't cry when my best friend died. Did I not care.. Wrong I was sad and miss him a lot. I am sure people think about that tragedy in different ways. You people are rediculas if you think the author was in bad tast. He was writing a review on the game. If I thought about all the bad things that happened all the time it could consume me and depress me to the point of despair. For another thing that crazy fuck does not deserve to be put up on aedistal and become more infamous than he already is. Screw that crazy dude. It's too bad he did not have the balls to shoot himself. He is not gonna make me scared to go to the movies. He is not gonna change my life at all. That point is a good reason why the author should not mention the tragedy in the artical. Our lives need not change because that crazy dude did what he did. We need to respect and her those people that died by living our life like it did not happen. Go to the movies, go to the park, go live because live is short and fleeting. And for sure enjoy this game
  • Really AC? Please give us and the families 48hrs of silence before we get this type of detailed post. How can you promote this game/movie at a time like this?
  • Dude not to come off harsh but I seriously doubt the families or anyone else involved in the shooting really give a deuce about AC doing a review on some movie tie in game. Really hope you weren't being serious.
  • For real, bro. Shut it. There's a new game out and they are doing their jobs. If you don't want to read the article it only takes a click. Should theaters all around the world stop playing the movie for the weekend too?
  • Not sure how this has anything to do w/the unfortunate tragedy, stop trying to create unnecessary controversy... Out of respect if nothing else.
  • SensorSharkfin is another one of those people who bitch too much. Just go find some courage and suck it up. $#it happens. Get a permit and learn how to defend your family or shut up and be a good little victim. In the mean time, I want to read reviews of this game.
  • Why the hell should the world stop because of this event? Sorry that you're upset but we can't stop the world because 12 people died. Do you know how many people get murdered per day in Chicago alone? You never hear a damn thing about that so why should I be upset for more than 5 minutes? I'm willing to bet that the people in that theater go back and watch the damn movie. Welcome to how the real world works.
  • Totally agree Chicago (Not downtown) is a blood bath, and you don't see them complaining about a review of a game. The man is doing the job he is paid to do. Shit happens.
  • It's a review of a game man....seriously?
  • really? what about the countless other people who die every day? are we supposed to stop buying soda from 7/11 because someone was killed in a robbery there?...
  • Incompatible with my EVO LTE? That's pretty lame.
  • not compatable with the xoom either...very lame
  • Really? It's about association... There is ZERO % of a need for this post to be made right now. I will tell you that this was more than likely a paid post/article... So I guess you would run a Penn State article after the Sandusky news broke? It doesn't matter the content whether good or bad... If you need to make such a promotion at least say one freaking thing about the lost lifes. "please bro, its a new game out". Get a clue... Outside of a game controller
  • I guess they should shut down the theaters for the weekend too? Click on another link if you don't like the post.
  • I'm not trying to bash anyone here, but it's time you learn how the world works. Everything is related to ones self. I understand if you are in one of those grieving families, or maybe you're just a very sensitive person, but for 99% of the rest of America, no one really cares after about 5 minutes of hearing it. It's become a part of daily life that someone is dying, at some moment, for some stupid violent reason. Again, I'm sorry if you're a griever, and I know I sound cold, but I understand how the world works. Did you know that while I was writing this comment to reply to you approximately 7 people in the U.S. were shot and killed? Well let me add a few lines and it will be 8. Please, stop fussing because people are doing their job. I didn't expect the world to pause when I lost my mother, the families probably don't expect the world to stop for them... Oh look, 9. EDIT: I forgot to mention, thank you Simon! I was wondering how the game was, keep up the good work!
  • Jump to conclusions much? If you read this article ( from earlier today you will see that the first line mentions the senseless violence in Colorado. Are they supposed to make a disclaimer everytime they say something about the movie or the game now? Something bad happened and we all feel bad about it, but that doesn't mean the world stops...get off your high horse.
  • Stop trying to stir the pot, if you're disturbed by yesterday's events then don't click the article, don't go to the theater, and maybe go pay your respects somewhere or mourn in peace. Trying to create drama where there is none serves no one... And no one's gonna impose a ban on movie-related content just because of yesterday's unfortunate events, doesn't make any sense. If you wanna stay away from it then don't click, simple. P.S. ESPN runs a Penn State report about oh... Every 15 min, been doing so for like the past month. If it's not about the statue it's about the coach's son, or about a possible football ban, or this and that. Welcome to the 21st century news cycle. It's okay not to jump on the web/TV and to turn off your phone sometimes y'know, no one's forcing you to absorb any of this.
  • Buy an iPad... Maybe its compatible
  • I came here for the comments section... Oh internet, you so predictable
  • @slave if you make $$ off a post, then yes. I think everyone is under the impression that I hate game reviews or AC, which is not the case... The timing just seems "automated". I'm just saying that if I put as my heart and effort into this article.. I might have waited out the weekend. As you say... 99% of the world might not care, but I'm more concerned about the .0000000001 that maybe does
  • I never said 99% of the world doesn't care. I said something bad happened and it sucks, but the world doesn't stop because bad things happen. Bad things happen to people every minute of every day and no one stops the everyday world from continuing. Just because this event was highly publicized doesn't make it more important.
  • +1
  • Some people are just too sensitive
  • Explain.. too sensitive... and by that I mean enlighten us.
  • He means that despite the tragic events, the world carries on. Sure it's fine to be saddened by such events, that just means your human. But to criticise the reviewer on an article about a newly released game (FYI games are normal reviewed before/on release)is just plain stupid. Sure you're entitled to your opinion but I don't think the families of those dead really give a damn that someone is doing their job and writing reviews. As someone else mentioned, do they also need to stop the film in EVERY cinema just because a few Americans are a little too sensitive? I can guarantee that there have been even more tragic events elsewhere which no one hears much about because the world does not revolve around America and when things like this happen the world keeps turning, people carry on with their daily lives and let others carry on with theirs. -Rant over.
  • No one's made any off-color or insensitive remarks, you're the only one causing a stir... Are you gonna go scream in front of theaters because they're showing the film too? Who would that help? The poor families that lost someone have better things to do right now than worry about a movie or game content on a tech blog, apparently you don't.
  • I live in denver , roughly 20 minutes from the shooting and while its a tragedy, was still stoked to see the game released, and plan to go see the movie next week after I finish moving this weekend. This wasn't 9-11 people.
  • Im just really upset this game isnt compatible on my new Evo 4g lte this and the spiderman game
  • How did Gameloft become the default developer for any mobile game based on a movie license? Most of them are becoming really really similar...
  • wow really? people are making a bigger deal out of this shooting then there needs to be. this is a game, no one is making you buy it or play it. no one made that guy go in the theater and shoot all those people, but no one made the people go see the movie either. fate works how it works. it must have been their time to go and thats just the way it played out. yeah its sad but people are killed everyday in senseless acts just like the shooting. when GTA first came out and people were getting killed and blaming the game all you saw was negative stuff about video games and violence. the point is, no one can make anyone do something they dont want to do. Call of duty has mad shit tons of money but you dont hear anyone saying, well there are real wars going on and people are dying so lets not make articles and buy that game.
  • "it must have been their time to go"
    How moronic can you be?
  • Dear AC, Please consider purchasing an HDMI input capture card and using it to capture the video output of the phone when doing video reviews of games like this. Just pointing a camcorder at the phone screen leaves a lot to be desired. This video in particular is fairly useless between fingers covering most of the screen and the dark display settings. If nothing else, please at least turn the screen brightness to max before trying to video record the phone screen. -Suntan
  • Unfortunately I have to agree with you. I couldn't see the game for most of the review. Thanks for the impression but the video was practically not worth watching.
  • Yeah, I'm ordering a box to capture screen video this weekend. 
  • It would have just been better to leave the video out. Looks a bit more professional that way. Don't you all have meeting about public image, marketing etc.
  • There was a shooting in Colorado huh? I had no Idea. Hope they didn't kill Kenny.
  • Does anyone know if there is controller support?
  • Senorsharkfin seems more like a troll than someone who cares about those that have lost a loved one...
  • "Why so Serious?"
  • First let me say my deepest sympathy for anyone affected by this. I don't want to offend anyone who is grieving over the movie theater shooting and more than likely if you are grieving than please don't read my comment because you well be offended, but after this happened someone at work yesterday made a comment that was kinda funny when we discussing whether or not Colorado had the death penalty which I'm mostly against but in this guys case I kinda hope he gets it. Dudes too unstable to be part of society in my opinion unless maybe the give him a lobotomy and make him into a vegetable. But now instead of saying someone went "postal" and shot up the place you can say they went "Batman" and it well mean the same thing. Anyway I thought it was pretty funny. As far as the game goes in app purchases = me not buying it. Why can't they just make a game that cost more like say the remade Final Fantasy 3 and not have in app purchases. I hate this trend soooooooooooo dam much it makes me want to go Batman.(see what I did there, funny right)
  • I'm not offended by your comment, it just wasn't funny. That comment was designed to get a rise out of people. I you want to make a joke, next time try some actual humor.
  • It says its not compatible with the Htc Evo 4g Lte how can this be?
  • not compatible wit my s3 whats the deal
  • It's amazing how good the games are getting for smartphones. This tops DrawSomething lolz