When I heard that a tie-in title for Batman: Arkham City for IOS, I was a tad on the skeptical side. As anyone who has ever taken the IOS App Store knows, console game tie-ins are a dime a dozen, and they’re very rarely any good. So I admit, going into “Lockdown,” I was a tad bit biased. So I was pretty suprised when, after spending a few hours with the game, it had completely and totally won me over.
Gameplay wise, “Lockdown” is little more than Infinity blade, only instead of controlling a knight wandering through a monster-infested castle, you control Batman wandering through a criminal-infested Gotham City. That being said, rather than being a soulless Infinity Blade rip-off, the game instead takes the core concept that makes Chair Entertainment’s
smash-hit debut awesome, and apply it to a Batman game.
In “Batman Arkham City: Lockdown,” the player gets a third-person viewpoint of the Dark Knight as he fights his way through hordes of bad guys. While there is no sprawling, open-world city to explore as in “Arkham City” proper, you have full control of Batman via swipe-controls – swipe left to punch left, swipe right to punch right, with various swipe combinations for big combo’s. In each of the four stages you battle a number of henchmen finished off with a “boss battle” with one of Batman’s famous Villains: Two-Face, Solomon Grundy, Deathstroke the Terminator, and the Joker. The controls are smooth and intuitive, unlike most “Infinity Blade” knock-offs, which tend to be clunky and unresponsive. It’s a great looking game, and it’s ridiculously fun to play.
That being said, the gameplay, while smooth and addictive, can also get repetitive, and at times really takes the player out of the experience. So that being the case, here are some suggestions that could push this good game into a great one:
1.) Gameplay enhancements – while the swipe controls are just fine for throwing punches and kicks, dodging and parrying, The way batman is controlled still leaves the player feeling somewhat removed from the experience. For example, if an opponent backs away, I have to wait for batman to walk forward before I can start attacking. A simple swiple-control that would let players move batman forward themselves would go a long way to get them feeling more involved in the gameplay. It could even make use of the Gyroscopic controls – have players tilt the device in the direction of the thug to have Batman move in their direction. This type of thing would also come in handy for boss battles with behemoth opponents like Grundy.
2.)Detective mode – giving players something to do other than combat would make it stand out as a BATMAN game, rather than “Infinity Blade, only with Batman.” Create more of a “campaign” mode, where in between combat missions, there were “tap to move” (or even some virtual sticks/swipe-to-move gestures) detective missions, where players explore environments and collect clues (audio tapes, documents, ect) and solve puzzles that would lead them into the next combat mission. Throw in a stealth mission (follow “x” character without being noticed, ) and an escort mission or two (help Commissioner Gordon get back to the police station, solving puzzles/fighting off enemies along the way, or something of the sort) where the players could virtual sticks/swipes to let us *control* batman, and you’d have a very solid gameplay experience that would really differentiate this game from other games in the AppStore. And I’m not talking free-roam style stuff here that would make the game size unmanageable, or require more processing power than an iPhone has. Everything I just mentions is more than do-able!
3.) Make suits unlockable through gameplay – while it’s nice to be able to purchase the suits for immediate usage, giving players the chance to work for the suits instead of just paying for them would give players extra incentive to play through the game multiple times.
4.) Different weapon-types for each of the suits – while having each suit give players different stats is a good start, it’s only the beginning of what you could be doing with these suits. Creating different weapon types specific to each suit would really enhance the gameplay, and add HUGE replay value to a game that’s already highly addictive. And if the weapons were specific references to ones used by batman in each of the stories that featured these suits, then it would not only be a great nod to fans of the comics, it would also give new bat-fans incentive to check out those batman stories. Maybe in the “extras” section you could put a “featured-in” list, listing the comics/movies/etc that each weapon is featured in. Again, this would be great for new batfans looking for a place to start reading/watching.
5.) Suit-specific missions – Combat missions themed to each of the suits is something that would take a whole to implement, but it’s do-able, and worth doing. Each mission pack for each suit could be parsed out throughout the year as separate updates, again allowing users to *unlock* the suit-missions through gameplay instead of just an IAP. This would give the game a much longer lifespan, as these updates would be parsed out over long periods of time, and players would eagerly await each new update.
6.) Other playable characters – Robin, Nightwing, and Catwoman are characters players would love to play as. Letting us play as each of them (again, released via updates parsed out over time) and giving each character different weapons/abilities would vary gameplay big time, and would add a lot of replay value to the game.
7.) Multiplayer – allow players to choose batman (in any of his suits), the aforementioned “additional characters, or any of the boss-villains, and battle against each other.
All in all “Batman Arkham City: Lockdown,” is a fun, addictive game that could be turned into an amazing one with even a few of these suggestions implemented. If your a Batman fan then this game is a definite must-buy, however if you don’t know Batman from Matter-Eating-Lad, then I would wait for a price drop on this one.
Pick up Batman Arkham City Lockdown on itunes or the IOS App store for 5.99 at this link: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/batman-arkham-city-lockdown/id459850726?mt=8