“One night to kill the bat”. Black Mask’s challenge to the Gotham City underworld is short, simple and echoed by the economy of NeatherRealm’s spin-off. A one-on-one beat ‘em up with a carousel of enemies in each short stage, Arkham Origins’ gameplay is a mixture of realtime and turn-based combat that requires you to tap to attack, swipe to perform specials and successfully bypass enemy specials via QTE events. You might dub it ‘Infinity Bat’, but there’s even less narrative glue holding this title together than Epic’s iOS action RPG.
As you’d expect from the studio behind Injustice: Gods Among Us, the collision detection and overall quality of combat is high: counter windows are carefully considered, animations are smooth (with the occasional glitch interrupting your flow and misplacing characters on-screen) and the sense of weight and power behind each blow is enhanced by meaty sound effects and delicate use of slow motion.
Overlaid onto that basic but robust foundation is a character ranking system that powers the game’s free-to-play model. Waynetech tokens are used to buy skill upgrades and boosts, or revive yourself during battle. A stamina bar ticks down between fights, eventually requiring you to purchase more tokens – or wait for an allotted time to pass – before you can continue.
So far, so F2P, but there’s a generous amount of tokens available free from the start, and the punchy simplicity of the combat makes it easy to choose to grind that little bit harder rather than pay that little bit extra. This Arkham Origins is a brawny, brainless offering, then, that takes one aspect of the series and remixes it for iOS in a way that should temporarily scratch that Batman itch ahead of the main event.
Batman: Arkham Origins is available on iOS now and due for release on Android later this year.