Jan 8, 2016

[Games] Spider-Man Unlimited (Android)

So I'm really late to the game when it comes to Spider-Man Unlimited, as the game has been around since 2014 - especially given how I'm still quite the Spider-Man fan at heart.. But I was in search of a casual game to kill some time and finally ended with this recommendation thanks to a friend. And given my past history with another Gameloft game, Despicable Me: Minion Rush, it was pretty easy to slide into this game.

And yeah, the fact that the game still exists on my phone is a good sign that I'll be playing a while. So let's talk about the game.

Spider-Man Unlimited is another free-to-play procedural runner game developed by Gameloft. The game has you playing the role of various Spider-man incarnations from the franchise's history as you try to defeat various incarnation of the Sinister Six.

As far as procedural runners go, you'd think that the game still follows most of the time-tested formula. You have three lanes for your Spider-man character to run on and you'll perform a variety of jumps, slides and lane-changes to get past various obstacles that will appear in your path. In addition, you will periodically face members of the Sinister Six and other villains and you'll need to defeat them by throwing various SHIELD icons that will appear.

From an innovation perspective, the game incorporates various track styles and themes to keep the flavor nicely distinct. You start with standard daytime and nighttime versions of New York rooftops and will eventually find yourself in OSCORP laboratories, underground bases and even in the mind-bending realms of Mysterio.  You'll also find yourself web-swinging past energy barriers, crawling up exploding buildings, or free-falling down shafts past security systems. This games for great gameplay diversity and a good balance between fun and challenge.

Of course one of the biggest claims to fame for the game is the fact that you can try to collect a wide variety of different incarnations from Spider-Man. The roster is now especially rich given they've already incorporated a lot of the characters celebrated in the Spider-Verse comic book event. Collecting is done through a portal system similar to what was employed in games like Transformers Legends, thus you get a random chance for good characters with better quality portals gated with premium in-app currency.

And while the sheer number of different Spider-man characters can get crazy, it's not quite Doctor Who: Legacy levels of crazy. There are indeed a good number of different characters available, but certain characters also have multiple versions that reflect various degrees of "card" rarity. And this wouldn't be too bad if character growth wasn't gated by the need to combine two cards of the same name and rarity level in order to "rank up" in order to continue to increase "Spider-Power". If you have two character cards of the same name but different rarity levels, you won't be able to join the two cards for rank up purposes.

The game is still pretty well-supported, so that means a great diversity of level types with new levels being added here and there, along with time-bound special events that offer different prizes based on different skill types like collecting the most vials or surviving the most near misses. And these are all great chances to get better characters added to your stable.

In-app purchase temptation is pretty strong given a lot of game aspects are gated through the premium currency. Beyond the special portals that offer rarer Spider-man characters, you all need the currency to continue your run after a mistake or buying additional upgrades. You will also eventually need the currency to buy additional inventory slots for your various Spider-Man characters and to refill your limited energy supply in case you wish you continue to make more runs.

Spider-Man Unlimited is a good implementation of the Gameloft's runner engine in a manner that remains nicely in-tune with the Spider-Man brand. The aggressiveness of the need or in-app currency can be a little distracting at times, but on the whole it's still a lot of fun. Thus the game gets 4 different versions of Spider-Man from across the Marvel multiverse out of a possible 5.

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