Mighty Thor has returned in Thor: The Dark World. And since no movie would be complete without some video game tie-ins, Thor: The Dark World is also available as an iOS game on the App Store. You'll control the God of Thunder as he wages war on Malekith, the lord of the Dark Elves who plans on destroying the Nine Worlds. Grab your trusty Mjolnir and jump into the Asgardian fray!

Thor: The Dark World is a simple yet beefy free-to-play game. Once you get started, you'll notice that there are menus aplenty and that the tutorial does a pretty quick job of explaining how everything works. Like I said, you control Thor, the muscle-bound God of Thunder, as he journeys through the Nine Worlds, defeating enemies such as the Jotun, the Dark Elves and Marauders. Everything is lifted from the Marvel Cinematic Universe's version of Norse mythology, so expect a lot of outlandish characters and locations.

Each of the Nine Worlds has a path full of different stages. Completing all of these stages is no easy feat, since there are 90 missions packed into the game, so it's best to play Thor: The Dark World in short intervals. It's a good thing then, that each stage can be completed within a minute or two. The formula is almost always the same for all the missions: kill mobs, gain enough mana to summon minions and allies, reach a check point, destroy something that obstructs your path and then reach the end of the level. You'll either tear down a beacon or face a beefy boss character at the end of each mission, so be prepared to give some fights your all.

The controls are relatively simple. You tap or drag to move Thor, tap on enemies to start up a combo with Mjolnir and tap two fingers on the screen to throw the hammer. Using just this combination of moves alone, you'll be able to destroy a bunch of the baddies that come your way. But you're also equipped with several other skills that can help Thor out in a pinch.

On the bottom left-hand side of the screen is a mana bar. With this bar, you can summon Einherjar, loyal warriors that can help Thor in a fight. Each type of Einherjar costs a different amount of mana, but the more expensive ones certainly pull off a lot more tricks. For example, the base Einherjar are just soldiers and can help soak up damage for you while whittling down the health of your opponents. The next available Einherjar are Valkyries that can provide ranged damage for you.

Thor also has access to big spells that work on a cooldown system. You can activate a spell that rains down lightning in a set area after you trace a lightning bolt on the screen. After its use, it will be on cooldown for a set amount of time before becoming available for use again. Once you advance enough, you'll also gain Allies, which are like your minions, but more powerful. These can include characters like Heimdall, Sif and even Loki. Of course, you'll need to unlock and buy these characters in order to use them.

Speaking of unlocks and purchases, there are plenty of upgrades and equipment that you can buy and earn in Thor: The Dark World. It'll take plenty of playing to unlock certain hammers and armors, but this wouldn't be a free-to-play game without some microtransactions, so you can pay your way to getting awesome gear if you're so inclined. Otherwise, feel free to make your way through the Nine Worlds at your own pace.

Thor: The Dark World is definitely a pretty game, and a fun one at that. Though the graphics never approach anything like Infinity Blade's gorgeous visuals, it's still a graphically-impressive title that stays true to the aesthetics of its source material and is a treat on Retina displays. The voice acting is also pretty spot-on and makes you feel like you're playing through one of the Marvel movies.

If you've got some time to spare and you're a huge fan of Thor, you can't really go wrong with Thor: The Dark World. You'll beat up dudes, rain down lightning on your enemies and save the Nine Worlds two minutes at a time. What have you got to lose?


App Store Link: Thor: The Dark World for iPhone & iPad | By Gameloft | Price: Free | Version: 1.0.0 | 795 MB | Rating 9+

7.5 out of 10 arcade sushi rating