Iron Man 2 for iPhone: Hot Consumer Device + Hit Movie Tie-in = $$$!

    I saw Iron Man 2 last weekend, and I loved every single second of it. That movie is constructed of Pure, Fortified Awesome™ from start to finish (and for the love of Dog, if you haven’t seen it yet, STAY TO THE END OF THE CREDITS). However, the age of mass commercialization we live in means that nothing remotely good is allowed to exist in mainstream media without a metric assload of promo tie-ins designed to milk every last cent of your allowance away in order to line the pockets of some old rich white dude living in Nashville or wherever.

    So of course, one of the first things I did after walking out of the movie was separate myself from 49 of my hard-earned Swedish Kronor and downloaded the official Iron Man 2 game from the app store.

    I have a few questions for the developers of this game. Namely, couldn’t you even TRY to find a voice actor that sounds REMOTELY like Robert Downey Jr.? The dialogue in this game is horrible: corny 1-liners that sound like they’re read by people from the Keanu Reeves school of acting do not good voice-acting make.

    That aside, the actual gameplay left me feeling pretty sour as well. The touch screen controls are awkward at best: you use your left thumb to control an on-screen joystick, your right thumb to activate various weapons and powers, and the… third hand the developers apparently assume you’ve been blessed with (?) to drag an index finger across the screen to change your camera angle. This convoluted control structure makes it impossible to move, shoot, and look around at the same time – a necessity when you’re surrounded by half a dozen robots all shooting at you from different directions. Good thing your energy bar completely replenishes itself after every skirmish. Funny, I don’t remember Iron Man having that ability in the movie. I also don’t remember his only hand-to-hand combat move being doing the splits in mid-air while double-axe-handle-smashing his opponent’s head in, but that’s a staple move in this game.

    Iron Man, feeling the effects of yet another laser blast to the torso, courtesy of yet another goddamn offscreen enemy.

    And, just when I thought I was done with random running around getting shot at by invisible flying robots, I was given a quest! Three bombs were set in buildings, and I had 3 minutes to find and defuse them! Hot damn, something to do! So, off I went in search of the bombs. I found the first one, only to be greeted with:

    Iron Man strikes me as the kind of guy who solves puzzles with missiles. Not sliding tiles.

    A puzzle. In which alternate Marvel universe does Iron Man defuse bombs by assembling an Arc Reactor in sliding-tile-puzzle format? Did The Riddler suddenly cross over from DC and bring all of his crappy plotlines with him? Lame. Anyways, I “defused” the first two bombs and went in search of the third. Time was winding down, but I finally found it… or did I?

    Was this glowy red chainlink fence in the movie?

    A red, glowing, 10 foot high chain link fence stood in my way. Try as I might, I couldn’t find a way around it, time ran down, I failed the quest, was told to start again, and deleted the game.

    Aside from the fact that I don’t exactly remember this scene from the movie, I’d like to remind the people who wrote this game that Iron Man can FLY. A 10-foot high fence would halt his progress for precisely 2 seconds while he decided whether to fly over it or melt it into oblivion.

    It’s cheap, shoddy, shameless game-lengthening techniques like this that make me never want to play your game again. However, the team that built this already succeeded as far as I was concerned: they already had my money. It’s made even more disappointing by how much I loved the movie. I wanted to love this game, but unfortunately the only real connection I can see between it and the movie is the music.

    Final verdict: Pass. Save your money. Watch this instead.

    A 33 year old Canadian expat currently plying his trade as a Senior Interactive Developer at Crispin Porter + Bogusky Europe in Göteborg, Sweden, Scott can also be found on the Twitters and occasionally blogging about his travels. He likes… Full Bio