iPhone Review: Ultimate Spiderman: Total Mayhem

Written by Joe Martin

January 12, 2011 | 07:28

Tags: #iphone #iphone-review #marvel-comics #recommended #spiderman

Companies: #apple #gameloft

There's only one problem with Ultimate Spiderman for the iPhone - there isn’t enough of it and, when the end comes, it feels abrupt and lacks closure. There’s no real plot that ties the action together; just a series of boss fights linked by someone occasionally muttering ‘prison break.'

You knock the wind out of Sandman, run Rhino through a wall, truss Doc Ock up with his own arms, nullify Venom, best the Goblin and that’s it. End of line, as they say.

It’s disappointing because, right up until the end, Ultimate Spiderman is one of the few truly console-quality games on the iPhone. As Ultimate Spiderman you can run, jump, swing and soar through a number of (relatively) gorgeous levels, finding hidden areas and unlocking comic book art, trophies and extra moves.

Ultimate Spiderman’s button-mashing melee is also perfect for the tiny touchscreen, especially when compared with the awkward thumb-panning and auto-aim of most iPhone shooters.
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iPhone Review: Ultimate Spiderman: Total Mayhem
Ultimate Spiderman: Total Mayhem for iPhone

The graphics are also excellent, and the performance is consistently smooth, even on older iPod Touch models. The characters and environments may have a low polygon count, but the decent textures make up for this, and there’s a huge gallery of unlockable comic book art to ogle if you ever get tired of the action too.

The gameplay is fairly standard – electrified platforms to avoid, hostages to rescue and glowing orbs that oddly jettison from defeated enemies and help you level-up. Same old, same old. Thankfully, it’s all fluid, fast and colourful enough to remain fun, even on the harder levels. Ultimate Spiderman really is a remarkably solid and polished action-platformer.

iPhone Review: Ultimate Spiderman: Total Mayhem
Ultimate Spiderman: Total Mayhem for iPhone

Longevity, however, is where it starts to tumble down. There are 12 levels in the singleplayer campaign, but you’ll burn through all but the toughest boss battles in about ten minutes flat, thanks to an overly-forgiving platforming system. If you fall off an edge, you can tap an on-screen icon to save Spidey with a well-timed webshot, restoring you without penalty.

After the main story is over, you then get a new Black Spiderman Suit, complete with new attacks and combos, and you can venture back for any missed collectibles too. Sadly, however, the fact that there’s no real resolution within the singleplayer game makes playing through it again feel ultimately pointless. Likewise, the boss rush mode – what’s the point?

Verdict: Despite the brevity and lack of replay value, Ultimate Spiderman: Total Mayhem remains one of the highest quality and most enjoyable action games in the App Store. Consider it a must-buy!

Ultimate Spiderman: Total Mayhem is developed by Gameloft and available for iDevices via the App Store.
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