Maybe we’re just old school, but we have to say that we were blown away with this game from the git-go, particularly when we were able to purchase it for less than one dollar! Why, back in OUR day, even DONKEY KONG … blah-de-blah … We had seen the latest Dark Knight film, so once the game loaded we instantly heard familiar dialogue and recognized the story line.
As we were trying it out in a place where we wouldn’t disturb others, we had the volume up and so the voices of Michael Caine as Alfred and Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne/Batman came clearly through the speakers. Like many games of this design, The Dark Knight Rises begins with dialogue and animation that set the scene.
We were happy to sit back and let it unfold before we got involved, constantly marvelling at the fact that it had only cost us 99 cents. Once the introduction was over, the initial instructions began.
How it works
The game brings you into the story by giving you some information in advance thanks to Batman and Alfred having a bit of a discussion on the bat-radios (if such items exist). Once it’s time for you to play, it is blessedly abundant with hints and instructions.
It points out your first target, introduces you to some options like jumping and the grapnel (which becomes very useful early on), and shows how to change the angle of the camera through every conceivable degree so you can look up, down and around. You also have the means of moving Batman by touching the screen in the bottom left hand corner, and in the top left you’ll see a map of the area and a marker for your present location.
Getting used to changing the angle of your view and making Batman go where you want him to is going to be the biggest challenge for those not used to this kind of setup. Even if you’ve played something like this on XBOX or similar, touchscreen is a different sensation than using a joystick.
Once you get the hang of it though, it quickly pulls you in with great graphics and an interesting story. It automatically saves as you go, which is useful once you advance and don’t realise you’re being creamed by baddies in the doorway behind you. You can just go back to the last point where it saved, and use a different strategy this time around.
Jumping, gliding, fighting … when these (and more) become relevant actions their graphic buttons pop up on the screen so you can use them. The grapnel helps you move quickly through areas, and you are advised in the beginning to walk, not run as you approach subjects. Something about the stealth factor.
As you finish each new challenge you get a bit more of the story, dialogue and animation. You might welcome the break from playing at the start, but if after a while you just want to get to the next part, you can press the fast-forward button on the bottom right which will jump you past Anne Hathaway, et al.
When we played
We were pretty familiar with games like Doom, etc. from playing on them on a PC all the way up to XBOX, so we figured we’d be fine with grasping movement on this game pretty quickly. Not so.
We had Batman looking up to the sky, down at the ground, walking into the wall … and as we faffed about there were bad guys patiently awaiting our assault, oblivious to the fact that our internal compass was completely out of whack. At one point early in the game, we had managed to take out a couple of evildoers and now had to make our way to the Stock Exchange to deal with some mischief down there.
We had only used the grapnel a couple of times as directed, so it never occurred to us to employ it when we weren’t being given specific instructions to do so. As a result, we found ourselves running for quite a while down the roads, past a lone female jogger who didn’t seem the slightest bit fazed that Batman was sprinting past her. Where was the Batmobile when we needed it? We finally decided to be devil-may-care and used the grapnel to hook onto a building in front of us, enabling us to swing a long distance. This was DEFINITELY the only way to travel!
As we moved through the levels new items came up, and we started doing heroic things like releasing hostages. Woo-hoo! It still was taking us a while to coordinate Batman so he wouldn’t keep spinning in place when we needed him to move quickly forward, but when the baddies got the better of him a couple of times, we simply reloaded the game from its previously saved point. It didn’t take long before we were firm fans of this app.
You really can’t lose here for 99 cents. Even if it turns out to not be your thing, gee, big deal! We’ve all lost more money down the back of the sofa.
Of course, this one does operate as many inexpensive apps seem to these days, where you can buy extras as you go along to make life easier. But these are optional, so it all comes down to your willpower and desire to play sans assistance. Dialogue and instructions are all printed on the screen, so you can play without sound if necessary.
Definitely download The Dark Knight Rises and give it a try. We played it on the original iPad and it was fab. It must be brilliant on the new iPad with its amazing display.
Cost: $0.99 for a limited time
Devices: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Android
Rating: E10+ (Everyone 10 and older)