Just before Batman: Arkham Origins finally gets released in stores, there was a mobile game that came out for the iOS with the same title. We’ve seen this lately from ARMA and Call of Duty with their own mobile iterations, which is showing that the big gaming companies do notice the mobile market as a source of additional revenue. Of course, what gamers hope for is that they see that market as more than just another income stream and actually be taken seriously. For the most part, this mobile game does do just that, although it still suffers from the common illness that afflicts most mobile games.
This mobile version of Batman: Arkham Asylum puts the Caped Crusader up against Black Mask, who calls upon Gotham’s underground to take up a simple challenge. He wants them to take out the Batman in one night, so Batman can’t shy away from this predicament as everyone would be gunning for him. Even if there is much economy in the story, it’s still a pretty good Batman origin story for what it’s worth, which could be a preview of what’s to come with the major release. It’s a lot like Batman: Arkham City Lockdown before it in that it focuses mostly on the gameplay and less on the story.
With that in mind, you’d think that the combat system that the Arkham series is known for would get watered down in this mobile version, but it is not so in this case. It’s actually pretty good, with mechanics that are easy enough to understand and cohesive enough to make use of in various situations without compromising its substance. It’s basically a lot like those in the other Arkham games, but streamlined for the mobile platform. Batman can use one of two stances in combat, Assault Stance and Guarded Stance. Each of them can make use of different abilities that can be taken advantage of in various situations, which is a major part of the fun in the gameplay.
The Arkham series’ strength in gameplay has always been the combat system, and this title actually stays mostly faithful to it. These combat features do well in showcasing Batman in as much glory as the iOS can possibly handle. Top it all off with various other things like all the awesome Batsuits that you can put on, and you have the benefit of having Batman in your Apple device. But while this game is quite interesting, there is little in mixing things around as you play as you beat down enemies repeatedly and not much else. Perhaps the novelty of being Batman on-the-go may not wear off for some people, but it can for most of them.
There’s also a stamina system to counteract the boredom if you’re the type of player who likes to blast through games in one sitting, although it does so in a cheap way. Whenever you finish a stage, you burn two or three bars off the stamina meter, and you’ll have to wait for it to replenish when it empties before you get to play the next ones. You may take upon the in-app purchases to eliminate that, making it a lot like other F2P games with microtransactions as this feature was only made to peddle in-app purchases for those who may not want to wait.
It is to be expected though since this is just a supplementary title for a top game series that has built upon one of the most popular comic book franchises in history. For all intents and purposes, having this game as free-to-play is what keeps it from being totally average. Batman: Arkham Asylum for the iOS is still better than a lot of other action titles you can find on the App Store, so it’s still alright for the most part. It’s just missing a lot of things that could make it truly exemplary, and it just feels like the developers made this just to fulfill quota ahead of releasing the PC/console game.
Tested in iOS. Final Score: 6.5/10