Remember the good ol’ days when two people (or aliens) could settle their differences with their fists, not with guns, lasers, jets, rockets, hammers, tumblers, et al? That’s what Man of Steel HD is all about. It takes the punchiest moments of the recently released Superman movie and lets you deliver the “punchies.”
What is it?
Man of Steel HD (and its non-HD iPhone / iPod touch equivalent) is a brawler. General Zod and his army come at you, and you punch them away.
Dodge, parry, block…you know the drill, until you also get to use your heat vision and fly enemies along the ground so you smash their head into rocks, signs, etc. You don’t need to have seen the movie to understand that Superman is not happy with these folks. They’ve made him all mopey like a Counting Crows fan.
How does it work?
The story in Man of Steel HD is told in an appropriate comic book style, but it’s mainly just there to move you from scene to scene. The locations are pulled straight from the movie, complete with similar cinematics and fighting styles, but the action is pretty much the same throughout.
A brief tutorial introduces you to the controls. Various swipe gestures control your punches, which require you to break down your opponent’s defenses before landing the big punch that’ll send him flying into the backdrop before (usually) bouncing back. For defense, there are buttons on the left and right for dodging. Tap to parry and block. Pinch to grab hold of your opponent when he’s blocking, then tap quickly to overpower him.You’ll have to memorize the visual clues that tell you what to do next, then do it quickly. You can get by early on by just dodging and punching away, but that doesn’t last long.
Once you’ve completed the 15 level story mode, a survival mode allows you to battle on for high scores. Extra incentive also comes in the form of keys you can use to unlock and upgrade new outfits. Although you don’t need the keys to complete the game, you also won’t get enough in story mode to unlock a whole lot. So, if you want those outfits, you’ll either have to play the game a lot or hand over more cash via in-app purchase.
Is it contagious?
Man of Steel HD is very well done. The graphics are top notch (it would’ve been fun to see the gameplay in comic book style too, though), and the sound effects are satisfying (especially the weight of the punches).
Fans of the movie or of Superman in general will likely be entertained, but beyond that, Man of Steel is just a fighting game. There’s not a lot of variety to the gameplay, so the movie/character tie-in is the game’s biggest draw. Considering it’s Superman, though, that may be enough.