As it is standard operating procedure for blockbuster franchises, all of the Iron Man movies have had mobile spin-offs. As is the case with a lot of movie games, the Iron Man titles have all been relatively playable, but not all that notable. While the most recent game for Iron Man 2 was an action brawler, the latest effort is an endless runner, the genre that's become ubiquitous across the App Store. Though it should be noted that in the case of Iron Man 3: The Official Video Game, we technically have an "endless flyer."
In Iron Man 3, you control Tony Stark in his various suits of armor as he rockets around and gets his dodge and shoot on. I have to say, the game certainly has plenty of gloss to it. The 18 different Iron Man armors for instance, all look terrific with tons of detail and literal polish. Much like the movie franchise, Iron Man 3 also looks great and doesn't waste any time in letting you know that.
It wasn't long before I was out in the thick of it, repulsor rays firing at everything in sight. The game moves fast and there's always a feeling of being slightly out of control. At first, this is pretty addictive. After learning the simple tilt and swipe controls, which are thrown your way almost as fast as the enemies, it's time to kick some major metal ass. But since this is an endless runner title, you will inevitably crash and burn at some point.
See that screenshot there? You better get used to seeing it, because it becomes abundantly clear that it will happen a lot. Even though the controls in Iron Man 3 are pretty simple and not that complicated to master, they're also loose. You may think you're going to dodge that oncoming jet fighter, but nope. That wing clipped you and now it's Tony-go-boom time. Iron Man has a health bar while he's flying along and can shrug off a few hits. But early on in the game without any upgrades it doesn't take much to send you down.
You can divide the gameplay into two basic bins. One part has you flying along, following a trail of "Stark Credits" and collecting them, as they serve as the main in-game currency. The other part is when you have to deal with enemies on-screen, swiping through them in different manners or tapping on them to fire lasers or missiles. But that part about in-game currency is where Iron Man 3 takes a bit of a tumble.
There are two forms of money in Iron Man 3: ISO-8 and the aforementioned Stark Credits. Accumulating any of the former is most effectively done with real money, much like donuts in The Simpsons: Tapped Out. While there's plenty to admire here with all of the gloss and whiz-bang special effects, the way Gameloft aggressively pushes its in-app purchses is more than a tad off-putting.
At least with The Simpsons, they have 'ol Gil to trot out. I've never seen a game that laser-targets your wallet as effectively as Iron Man 3. You can grind to upgrade, but the controls seem to be designed to make that task impossible, as most runs do not go on for very long.
But I did have fun playing it for awhile. And I think there will be no shortage of folks who will have a great time with it. I just think it's a little silly that you can't fly and fire at the same time. That just doesn't seem like you're Iron Man at all. We will give lesser freemium games a pass for things like that, but I expect a little more from a big studio title like this one.