Game

The first Avenger’s latest iPhone game doesn’t quite put the ‘super’ in superhero

Gameloft’s latest app puts players in control of Captain America, who must lead a team of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents and do battle against countless foes in order to keep the world safe from a range of supervillains.

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The release of Captain America: The Winter Soldier comes following the launch of Marvel Run Jump Smash!, an Avengers-inspired endless runner that we reviewed back in issue 39. Both apps feature characters from the popular Marvel universe, but Gameloft’s latest release is more of a movie tie-in application based on the recent film of the same name.

In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the so-called “first Avenger” must undertake a series of S.H.I.E.L.D. missions in order to protect our planet from a multitude of threats. Though he’s the only Avenger superhero that features in the game, Captain America isn’t alone in his task: he’s joined throughout Gameloft’s app by up to two S.H.I.E.L.D. agents at any one time, and players get to command all three throughout each of the game’s different missions.

The game’s portrait mode comes with its share of drawbacks

The game’s portrait mode comes with its share of drawbacks

The app allows iPhone owners to control the direction Captain America moves as he and his team push onward through each level, and this can be done by either pointing at the screen, by using a virtual joystick, or both. A number of further on-screen buttons allow users to have Captain America perform special attacks (such as a slam jump or a grenade), and you can even guide the superhero’s shield as it’s thrown by drawing a path on your iPhone’s screen. Each mission comes with three objectives for Captain America to achieve, and completing all of them will earn gamers bonus points.

You can recruit specific agents for  particular missions

You can recruit specific agents for particular missions

The S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, on the other hand, tend to stay behind Captain America and they deal in ranged weapons; you can have different classes of agents, like snipers, perform their own special attacks using further virtual buttons. As you’ve probably guessed, though, the resultant effect is a little button-mashy; there are lots of different on-screen toggles to press in The Winter Soldier, and when playing on an iPhone, in particular, performing such attacks while maintaining control of Captain America can be difficult. This is made all the more challenging since the game is played in portrait mode, rather than landscape, resulting in even less room for the app’s on-screen control system.

Each mission in Captain America: The Winter Soldier comes with its own objectives

Each mission in Captain America: The Winter Soldier comes with its own objectives

Another problem with The Winter Soldier is that despite its price tag, Gameloft heavily pushes in-app purchases throughout the game. There are timed objectives, upgrades (which can be purchased using real-world cash), and upon dying, the app encourages players to revive Captain America and his S.H.I.E.L.D. agents through making similar purchases. This sadly creates the effect that The Winter Soldier is an app more concerned with making cash than providing players with an enjoyable gaming experience, and in this respect it’s not dissimilar to a number of other movie tie-in games which we’ve seen reach the App Store in the past.

Completing missions earns you cash (not real money, sadly) to upgrade your characters

Completing missions earns you cash (not real money, sadly) to upgrade your characters

Price: $2.99 / £1.99

Size: 97.3 MB

Version: 1.01

Platform: iOS Universal

Developer: Gameloft

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Review: Captain America: The Winter Soldier
“Freemium elements and a $2.99/£1.99 price-tag make Captain America: The Winter Soldier an app we’d struggle to recommend, even if its gameplay can be quite enjoyable. ”
For
  • Gameplay not bad
  • Graphics are decent
Against
  • Portrait-only setup impacts on gameplay
  • Too much attention on in-app purchases
2.3Overall Score