Iron Man: Aerial Assault for iPhone review

Iron Man: Aerial Assault is a belated movie tie-in for the Iron Man movie designed for the iPhone by Paramount Digital Entertainment. Despite the slipshod level design, the game’s clever utilization of the iPhone’s motion-sensor controls enable it to be worthy of your money – but just barely.

Iron Man: Aerial Assault tasks you with guiding the enigmatic hero as he performs a number of combat tests with his AI butler, JARVIS. While you get to witness the full power of the Iron Man suit over ten missions, the targets are little planes, unmanned drones, and gun platforms. They’re hardly distinguishable and you won’t recognize any of them from the movie.

The game utilizes the iPhone’s motion-sensor technology to guide your crosshairs, giving the game as surprisingly fluid 3rd person shooter feel. By clicking on a button on the right, you can also utilize some of the laser weaponry of the Iron Man suit to take out ships and gun platforms.

The major hurdle to learning Aerial Assault is mastering the motion-sensor technology. We had to calibrate the tilting mechanism a couple times before it became intuitive to tilt the iPhone and guide the crosshair accurately.

The missions follow a very predictable pattern: you start out picking off whatever “new” enemy is being introduced into that stage, then you fly around a bunch of sky carriers with gun platforms and eventually you tackle the boss. As you progress, you also gain access to unlockable weapons, health upgrades, and increased maneuverability.

Iron Man: Aerial Assault has other marks of a movie cash-in. The soundtrack is short and we recommend just turning it off. The environments are cheap as well, with only background colour differentiating the different missions. The small amount of dialogue is just a cliché-riddled distraction. All of these elements speak to the rushed nature of production, despite the game’s release months after the movie’s time in cinemas.

OUR VERDICT

Iron Man: Aerial Assault reminds us of an archaic fighter jet simulator game from years long gone. The interchangeable backgrounds, uncreative enemies, lackluster soundtrack and silly dialogue all hammer home this dated, but nostalgic approach to gaming. While we’d like to merely pass Aerial Assault off as a shallow cash-in, the gameplay is fun for a couple hours and at a dollar, you don’t risk much in the investment.

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