For a game about a merciless, meticulous killer on the rampage, Riddick: The Merc Files is shockingly tame and incompetent. Viewed from a top-down perspective, you have a choice of three main objectives in each short stage. You can sneak through to the exit, kill all the patrolling mercenaries or steal a key item before making a run for it. Though maps are simple mazes, littered with walls and obstacles to hide behind, and movement is simple – tap to walk, double-tap to run, tap on an enemy to attack – no attempt is ever straightforward due to the game’s unpredictable AI and sluggish controls.
Patrolling mercs wander around stages in a seemingly drunken stupor while Riddick is often slow to respond to your commands, making for a tedious game of cat and mouse in which you can never be certain where a merc is headed or whether you’ll reach them in time for that crucial silent kill (alerting other enemies with either a dead body or a loud kill will generally lead to failure and or death). Repetitive level design, and bugs that range from clipping to playthrough-blocking menu issues, add to the game’s lengthy list of problems.
Where Escape From Butcher Bay and Assault On Dark Athena showed how games can complement and expand a film franchise in unique and interesting ways, The Merc Files feels like a rushed, irrelevant addition to David Twohy’s B-movie universe; one that would have been best left on the cutting room floor.
Riddick: The Merc Files is out now on iOS for $2.99 / £1.99.