If you've been noticing less and less video games that are tied into blockbuster movies, it only because you've been looking in the wrong place. They still exist, they've just been mostly banished to the mobile arena, a circumstance that has somehow made them worse, if that can be believed. Well, I suppose it's not that surprising, given that mobile games are riddled with shoddy products trying to shill you with in-app purchases. And then there's Guardians of the Galaxy: The Ultimate Weapon, a game that seems to not only be good in it's own right, but also eschews all the other negative traits we've come to expected from mobile apps. On the Google Play store, the first sentence of the description reads in big capital letters:
NO IN-APP PURCHASES AND NO INTERNET CONNECTION REQUIRED TO PLAY
That's exactly why I bought it; that and the trailer. And so far, it seems to be totally worth the R53.26 I paid for it.
"I'm Star Lord..." "Who?"
What I got is an action role-playing game that vaguely reminded me of Angry Birds Epic, just with more depth. Players have to recruit a team of heroes, the main characters from the movie, obviously, but also a some of the more famous Marveloids as well. The Hulk, for instance. Mostly though, it's a cast of b- and z-listers that only comic nerds like myself will recognize. Characters like Yondu Udonta, Korg and Charlie-27, all make appearances. It is great though that these characters are getting a chance to shine.shill
Gameplay involves tracing a line from your characters to their opponents to initiate attacks and reminds me a lot of the the old JRPGs, but with a control scheme better suited to touch screens. It's a very efficient and intuitive system that makes the game easy, yet satisfying to play. Every character is unique and comes furnished with their own abilities, which can sometimes mix with other characters' abilities leading to flashy combos. The turned-based combat is a great turn on (hehe - see what I did there) by itself, but to complete its JRPG nostalgia trip there's also experience points to be earned and loot to be collected and crafted.
Story for the ages
I'm only a few hours in so the story hasn't really revealed itself, but the game opens with a prison break to rescue Rocket Racoon and with that done, the Guardians embark on a quest to - wait for it! - save the universe. It's not that original, but its still early and the game is carried by a charming cast and polished, if not deep story telling. There's still time for that change, however.
If the story doesn't have any appeal for you, you can immerse yourself in the combat, by taking the Arena Mode for a go. In some ways this is more compelling than the story mode, because you get to use some of the characters you've defeated in the story mode. The fun comes from mixing and matching the characters to create your ultimate team.
End of the Galaxy
It's a bit early to call Guardians of the Galaxy: The Ultimate Weapon the mobile game of the year, but with the little I've played so far, I'd say it's definitely a contender. It's got charming visuals, a great soundtrack, a potentially sold story-line and killer gameplay, but best of all it doesn't nag you for money and there's no timers limiting your play time. I really hope this game catches on so that more games will follow this model. With all that going for it, what could possibly go wrong?
Catch the full review later to find out, but for now, Guardians of the Galaxy: The Ultimate Weapon, seems like a game worth more than R53.
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