Mobile gaming is really not my cup of tea. Like most people, I’ve flung a few birds and blasted a few monkeys in my time but I have never fully embraced my phone as a go-to device for a real gaming experience. There’s just something about it that doesn’t seem to click for me, so it was with great trepidation that I downloaded Captain America’s game to my Galaxy S2.
There were three reasons that I decided to give this game a try however; One: I love the Avengers and Captain America just happens to be my favorite of the group. Two: I loved Captain America’s major console release. Three: The .99 cent price tag. After putting Captain America, and my thumbs, through their paces I’m happy to report that although my 360 and PS3 are in no danger of being replaced by my phone, I have found that mobile games can offer a rewarding, if not neutered, gaming experience.
The story of this game is a point of interest to me right off the bat. It’s clearly set in the universe of the latest movie as it uses Chris Evans’ likeness and Captain America sports the suit designed for the film. The game goes in a different direction, however, as it offers up a different take on the fate of characters like Captain America and Bucky over the course of the game. It was a bit of a surprise to see a game so obviously designed to cash in on the popularity of the film and yet tell such a drastically different story. It’s not a criticism, it’s just not what I was expecting and it was actually a bit of a pleasant surprise.
The gameplay side of things is where I held most of my reservations. As someone who doesn’t game on his phone a lot I was a little worried about operating a platformer/brawler on my phone but fortunately I picked it right up. Similar to many mobile action games, Captain America is in a perpetual state of motion. Swiping left or right on the screen will change the direction in which he’s running but he continues to move at a constant pace. Double tapping the screen will stop him but it’s a largely useless move to make as you cannot really perform any actions like fighting or jumping if you’re not on the move so letting Captain America continue to run is recommended.
Combat is handled in the same manner as swiping left, right, up and down will cause Captain America to perform different combos to quickly take down Hydra soldiers. Pulling off combos is an overly simplified affair as screen prompts pop up every time to show you which way to swipe. It made sense to see these prompts in the first few levels but it was a bit strange to see them popping up in the last few levels as I was taking down enemies for what had to be the five hundredth time. Your shield is, as is expected, also a major source of combat. Tapping the the shield icon at the bottom of the screen will cause Captain America to fling his shield at predetermined spots on the screen. This can be used in everything from taking down enemies to opening doors, and to destroying evil super computers. Shield tossing and face smashing is an effortless affair and continued to be satisfying during the entire course of gameplay.
Platforming wasn’t all a basket of roses, however. Many areas required precision swipes of your finger to run across certain surfaces but it was extremely finicky as to whether or not it was going to work. Much of my play time consisted of me backtracking several times over simply because I wasn’t able to clear certain jumps. Areas like this popped up a little too much for my taste and the game required a certain level of precision in these areas that a touch screen phone just can’t offer.
Reaching all these areas is something you’ll want to do too as every level includes five different collectible Hydra Intel folders which unlock certain perks. Collect enough of these folders and the game will unlock up to four different outfits for Cap as well as an impressive number of classic comic book covers. The different outfits were fun to play around with but the comic covers were little more than small icons on the screen with no way to zoom in on them. This was a bit of a disappointment to me as I couldn’t read most of the text on the comics and as a result, really couldn’t enjoy the things I was working so hard to unlock.
Sound design is also a mixed bag. The music is serviceable enough and I was surprised to see that you can even download the soundtrack on iTunes. As decent as the music was, I did get tired of hearing the same themes over and over again. Captain America’s voice is also extremely grating. I don’t know who this guy is doing the voice but he sounds like someone who would have voiced Captain America in an animated series back in the sixties. I kept expecting him to turn towards the camera and say “Now, what did we learn today, kids?”. It also didn’t help that he only recorded about five different lines of dialogue.
Small gripes aside, Captain America: Sentinel of Liberty is a completely serviceable mobile game. There’s more depth here than most games I’ve played on my phone and it even wraps up with a surprising and welcomed boss fight. Add that to the plethora of unlockables and you’ve got yourself a bargain priced game that definitely earns its spot on anyone’s phone.