RoboCop, developed by Glu Games Inc., is the video game tie-in for the 2014 film of the same name, which is a reboot of the RoboCop franchise that began in the late ’80s. It features a critically-injured police officer named Alex Murphy who undergoes a procedure at the hands of a conglomerate called OmniCorp. Thanks to the company, he is reborn as a cyborg called RoboCop.
As one might expect, there’s plenty of shooting to be done in RoboCop. Since Murph is still a cop, it’s only natural that he be equipped with all manner of firearms in order to neutralize threats in Chicago. In RoboCop, the iOS game, you’re put into the robotic boots of our titular hero as he gets used to his new life and trains up his skills.
The gameplay consists of separate missions that are spread across a map, some of which are loosely tied to the plot of the film (so expect spoilers if you play). These missions come in many different flavors, ranging from OmniCorp training missions (story-based), Challenges that act as basic training exercises, a Daily Hunt that resets after 24 hours and Escalation missions, which are basically survival games that get more difficult as you progress. Undertaking a mission depletes your stores of energy. If you’re out of energy, you’ll have to wait for it to recharge or otherwise purchase more to keep playing.
Though there’s a good variety of missions to undertake, they all have very similar gameplay. As RoboCop, you’ll be sent into an area to neutralize threats. RoboCop employs a mix of third-person, over-the-shoulder shooting with cover mechanics. You simply need to aim around the screen by dragging around with your left thumb and then holding down on the right side of the screen in order to fire. This will make you pop out of cover to rain justice on the criminal scum of Chicago.
Though you can hide behind objects, your cover can only withstand a certain amount of damage. To move on, you need simply to tap on the arrows on the sides of the screen to switch to a different piece of cover and continue your assault.
Pressing the Scan button lets RoboCop perform a sweep over the immediate area in order to identify objects in the vicinity he can use, as well as the weak spots on enemies. The Scan is RoboCop’s bread and butter, so use it if you want to run through levels a lot quicker. If you get in a bind, you can press the buttons at the top of the screen to heal RoboCop or send in a drone that will assist you in dispatching fools.
Upon successful completion of a mission, you’ll be rewarded with either gold, cash or OmniCorp credits. You can use these in different combinations to either upgrade RoboCop’s suit or purchase and upgrade his weapons. The upgrade system features a lot of nodes that need to be purchased and unlocked. Here is where RoboCop turns from being a decent third-person shooter with great graphics and starts feeling like a cash grab with in-app purchases that suck the life out of the game.
While you can certainly play and enjoy the game without purchasing anything, it will take many playthroughs of missions to beef up RoboCop. You can purchase upgrades, but will have to wait different amounts of time in order for them to take effect. And unlocking nodes, which you pay for with cash, sometimes doesn’t work unless you also spend a lot of OmniCorp credits to boost their chances of successfully unlocking. This upgrade and time management system is a but annoying when you just want to become RoboCop. It’s not game-breaking, but it comes very close.
But without those minor gripes, RoboCop is a pretty fun game to play. Sure, there are examples of grammatical mistakes littered throughout and the story mode isn’t very compelling, but it gives us a chance to rip through missions as one of the most badass cops to ever grace the silver screen. And although it’s free, we’d buy that for a dollar.