As with any blockbuster movie, a video game tie-in is almost a given. In Pacific Rim, the game, the mechanics focus around what moviegoers actually pay for when watching the film – the action packed combat between jaegers and kaiju. There is no shortage of action within this title, although its appeal might differ from person to person.
Pacific Rim follows the control scheme usually found in most one-on-one fighting games. Players can swipe to attack, as well as press the middle button to block attacks from enemies. Evading and parrying will require timing and precision, and these are used to give players the opening that they need to launch multiple attacks in order to win the battle in as little time as possible. The game has two modes, namely Mission and Survival mode, and players can use in-game currency earned during battle to upgrade their mechs’ stats and weapons in order to become more formidable in combat. They can also use the credits they earn to purchase more powerful jaegers, which would be quite handy especially against stronger monsters. Primary and secondary objectives may be achieved during Story Mode, which is a great way to earn extra credits and add further challenge to the game.
The game also allows for purchase of support items which come in limited quantity. In addition, special attacks may be triggered after a couple of attacks, which can deal a lot of damage when executed properly. All in all, it’s pretty much a generic button mashing fighting game that you can find almost anywhere else.
Pacific Rim does present itself beautifully, with the sounds and visuals nicely complementing the action. The robots and monsters are rendered nicely and smoothly, although there have been cases of battles seemingly getting stuck due to bugs in the application. Also, weapons and other add-ons are seen whenever you take your jaegers into battle, and it’s always nice to see your jaegers bulked up and lasting longer in Survival Mode by using your hard earned credits.
Unfortunately, this may not be enough to sustain the game’s playability, as there’s really nothing else to do but use the same strategies over and over again. The formula to winning is pretty much similar all throughout – prioritize parrying and evading over blocking, and keep swiping in order to inflict as much damage as possible. Other than that, monsters’ speeds and strengths might increase, but the technique required does not change all throughout. Players might even find themselves quitting even before they get the chance to buy their first jaeger, which would be an absolute shame as this is not a free to play game.
Like its movie counterpart, Pacific Rim aims to capture the audience’s interests through cutting edge graphics and non-stop action. Unfortunately, that’s only what the game has to offer, and even that stales after a couple of hours or days. There’s really nothing much else to do aside from beat at monsters with otherwise predictable movesets, and ensuring that you upgrade your robots consistently so that you can match up to more powerful ones later on. It’s that type of one-dimensionalism that will negatively impact the game, and might put off gamers that would not like to risk their money for a title whose formula they have seen time and time again.
It’s great to see a movie with tons of action, especially when you have a bag of popcorn handy. It’s a different matter altogether when all that is featured is mindless combat, with the enemy wearing different faces but still working under a pattern that you can decipher after two rounds of battle or three. What’s worse is that you can’t even use your other hand to eat while the action is going on…Wait, maybe that would be make this title more interesting. If all else fails, however, treat Pacific Rim like any other kaiju; beat on it a couple of times and then throw it back into the sea.
Tested on iPhone. Final Score: 5/10
Pacific Rim was developed by Reliance Big Entertainment UK Private LTD in cooperation with Legendary and Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. It was released via iTunes on June 11, 2013 and is compatible for iPhone and iPad devices.