Games based on comic books have been almost as hit or miss as games based on movies in the past, so I think my cautious optimism for Gameloft's recently released Spider-Man: Total Mayhem [$6.99] was well deserved. Sure, there are some absolutely fantastic comic book games such as the quarter-sucking X-Men Arcade Game, and a few others over the years. Unfortunately, many fall in to the same pit that movie games fall in to where they lean far too heavily on whatever intellectual property the game is based on instead of actually having good gameplay. This is true to some extent in Spider-Man: Total Mayhem, but the whole package is comprehensive enough that it doesn't even seem to even matter.

Like all Gameloft games, many parts of Spider-Man are clearly borrowed from other titles of theirs, and Total Mayhem is no different. A lot of the combat feels like a mix of James Cameron's Avatar [$4.99 / Free / Free] and Iron Man 2 [$4.99 / Free / HD]. Spider-Man is host to the same wall climbing and rail sliding sections as nearly every other 3rd person action Gameloft game, and just like almost all of their other titles, the voice work is laughable at best and face palm worthy at worst. They even managed to sandwich the upgrade system from Hero of Sparta II [$6.99 / Free] in that nearly everything in the game drops orbs of various colors which are then used to upgrade Spider-Man's various abilities.

What saves the whole game is that even though they recycle all these different elements, they seem to combine extremely well to create a game that just feels like a Spider-Man game should. There are endless thugs for you to bash, a heavy reliance on the spider sense, and a surprising array of extremely recognizable bosses that anyone who has read a Spider-Man comic or watched a Spider-Man cartoon will know. The levels included are fairly linear, but feature a great mix of fighting standard enemies, bashing mini-bosses, swinging around, climbing, and the varied events leading up to the boss encounter.

The combat system works well, and even though it feels a little button mashy at times, it's a lot of fun to watch Spider-Man execute his combos filled with punching and web slinging. However, even fighting bosses is a little too easy because of how well the spider sense evasion system works. Whenever you're fighting, when there's an incoming attack you're able to slam your thumb down on a virtual button that appears just to the left of the joystick. A successful button mash kicks the game in to slow motion, and Spidey evades the incoming blow and counter-attacks. It all flows together great, and these spider sense moves usually look really cool.

There's a surprising amount of content in Spider-Man: Total Mayhem, including a hefty amount of unlockables to boost replay value. Twelve levels are included, and in each of the levels are tokens you can pick up to unlock bonus art to look at. In addition, there's an "ultimate" difficulty to unlock as well as a boss rush mode. There's even the black Spider-Man symbiote suit to unlock to play through the game again with Spidey powered up. Also, when fighting bosses you have opportunity to take photos of them, and these photo opportunities seem fairly easy to miss. If you're a completionist, you will be playing through Spider-Man: Total Mayhem many times.

Total Mayhem is loaded with high resolution graphics that look absolutely fantastic on the iPhone 4. It's not universal, but like most Gameloft games it wouldn't surprise me if an iPad-specific HD release was on the horizon. Gameloft did a great job of making a game that plays like a Spider-Man game needs to. The spider sense seems entirely overpowered in combat, and it won't take long for you to get tired of the spider sense quick action sequences that are liberally used in cut scenes, but beating up an endless array of nameless thugs is just as fun as it should be.

TouchArcade Rating

  • Metalbear

    I'm a sucker for Spider Man games, however Gameloft has let me down in the past. I'm not trying to whine about price, and call me a cheapskate if so inclined, but I can't handle the pricing right now.

    I liked your review though, so I can get past my gripes with Gameloft. Price is a factor, so this is going on my ever-growing wanted list.

    Thanks Eli.

    • seearees

      If you can wait a couple months, Gameloft ALWAYS drops their games to .99 eventually. I'm guessing you'll see it for that price by Christmas, if not Thanksgiving or even Halloween.

      • Kobeskillz

        You nailed on the head.

    • Peterson

      Seriously: how the hell do you live? how do you eat? man, I think I talk for every true gamer here to say: get a job fellow. Doesn't have to be President or CEO, you can start with a Burget King's gig, behind on the kitchen. It is a very honest and respetable job; you will learn a lot from those guys/gals.

      If you can't afford a 6usd game, what the hell are you doing with your life man. And that is for every other gamer out there that says "I can't afford a 2.99 game" because man; you guys need to put some priorities in life.

      On my dags (Sega, Master System, Nes, PC) we used to work for money, to be able to play some games.

      Now kids just get an itunes card from mom and dad.

      Really; I believe this kind of behavior should be punished at least here on the web, people who worked for a NES cartridge selling lemonade on the street should speak up to say: son, check your priorities, get a job, earn some cash, play some games.

      Makes me sick. First thing I read from the commenters is: "I just can't afford a six dollar game, please drop it to 0.99".

      You can't even buy a condom for god's sake.

      • OneEye

        We need to find the first dev who sold a game for .99 and tie him to ant hill and cover with honey....

        :)

      • Metalbear

        Wow. Thanks for your opinion.

      • Metalbear

        @Peterson

        Oh, and just incase you didn't notice genius.... I NEVER mentioned wanting a damn price drop. I said "Pricing is a factor". But I respect your ability to look over the subtle things anyways.

      • Mekki

        What an idiotic comment.

        I can afford to spend $600 on a game if I want to, but a Gameloft game is not worth more than 99 cents to me. If they stop making games, I don't mind.

      • Helmacc

        Well said dude. Sick and tired of these broke morons!!

      • Iphone Rules

        I agree with Peterson.You can get 6 dollars by selling limonade on the street or by walking your neighbours dog.Seriously!

  • Metalbear

    I'm a sucker for Spider Man games, however Gameloft has let me down in the past. I'm not trying to whine about price, and call me a cheapskate if so inclined, but I can't handle the pricing right now.

    I liked your review though, so I can get past my gripes with Gameloft. Price is a factor, so this is going on my ever-growing wanted list.

    Thanks Eli.

    • seearees

      If you can wait a couple months, Gameloft ALWAYS drops their games to .99 eventually. I'm guessing you'll see it for that price by Christmas, if not Thanksgiving or even Halloween.

    • Peterson

      Seriously: how the hell do you live? how do you eat? man, I think I talk for every true gamer here to say: get a job fellow. Doesn't have to be President or CEO, you can start with a Burget King's gig, behind on the kitchen. It is a very honest and respetable job; you will learn a lot from those guys/gals.

      If you can't afford a 6usd game, what the hell are you doing with your life man. And that is for every other gamer out there that says "I can't afford a 2.99 game" because man; you guys need to put some priorities in life.

      On my dags (Sega, Master System, Nes, PC) we used to work for money, to be able to play some games.

      Now kids just get an itunes card from mom and dad.

      Really; I believe this kind of behavior should be punished at least here on the web, people who worked for a NES cartridge selling lemonade on the street should speak up to say: son, check your priorities, get a job, earn some cash, play some games.

      Makes me sick. First thing I read from the commenters is: "I just can't afford a six dollar game, please drop it to 0.99".

      You can't even buy a condom for god's sake.

      • OneEye

        We need to find the first dev who sold a game for .99 and tie him to ant hill and cover with honey....

        :)

      • Metalbear

        Wow. Thanks for your opinion.

      • Metalbear

        @Peterson

        Oh, and just incase you didn't notice genius.... I NEVER mentioned wanting a damn price drop. I said "Pricing is a factor". But I respect your ability to look over the subtle things anyways.

      • Mekki

        What an idiotic comment.

        I can afford to spend $600 on a game if I want to, but a Gameloft game is not worth more than 99 cents to me. If they stop making games, I don't mind.

      • Helmacc

        Well said dude. Sick and tired of these broke morons!!

  • klouud

    So there will be 3 different versions of the game? 3GS, iPhone4, iPad? If so, that means that if I buy the 3GS version and upgrade to iPhone 4 I have to buy the game again?

    tim

    • seearees

      No, most likely the 3gs and the 4 versions will be one in the same. The iPad version will likely be different though.

      • klouud

        I can live with that

  • klouud

    So there will be 3 different versions of the game? 3GS, iPhone4, iPad? If so, that means that if I buy the 3GS version and upgrade to iPhone 4 I have to buy the game again?

    tim

    • seearees

      No, most likely the 3gs and the 4 versions will be one in the same. The iPad version will likely be different though.

      • klouud

        I can live with that

  • dekon

    A lot of fighting,little web slinging and wall crawling to me.
    coclusion: not a real spider-man game to me.

    • Magoichi

      The new Shattered Dimensions game for consoles is also like that. But most impressions of the leaked version have been positive for Spidey fans.

  • dekon

    A lot of fighting,little web slinging and wall crawling to me.
    coclusion: not a real spider-man game to me.

    • Magoichi

      The new Shattered Dimensions game for consoles is also like that. But most impressions of the leaked version have been positive for Spidey fans.

  • araczynski

    spider man is so 80's, not sure why people keep watching/playing that junk.

    i'm saving my 6.99 for space miner 2 for the ipad (sooner or later).

    • http://www.squarezerostudio.com squarezero

      Any sequel of Space Miner is a must-buy in my book. That said, I fail to see how Spider-Man is "so 80's" The comic book has been around since the mid-sixties, and the movie series that brought the character to the spotlight (again) started in 2001. I guess you could argue that he's been around for too long, but with 3 hit movies (okay, the last one was crap) and a new console video that's generating a lot of buzz, there's clearly enough interest out there.

      BTW, this is way, way better than Iron Man II.

      • vulture3

        Yeah dude, Spiderman is always current, like Mickey Mouse. Ask any kid who Spiderman is, they'll let you know what's up.

  • araczynski

    spider man is so 80's, not sure why people keep watching/playing that junk.

    i'm saving my 6.99 for space miner 2 for the ipad (sooner or later).

    • http://www.squarezerostudio.com squarezero

      Any sequel of Space Miner is a must-buy in my book. That said, I fail to see how Spider-Man is "so 80's" The comic book has been around since the mid-sixties, and the movie series that brought the character to the spotlight (again) started in 2001. I guess you could argue that he's been around for too long, but with 3 hit movies (okay, the last one was crap) and a new console video that's generating a lot of buzz, there's clearly enough interest out there.

      BTW, this is way, way better than Iron Man II.

      • vulture3

        Yeah dude, Spiderman is always current, like Mickey Mouse. Ask any kid who Spiderman is, they'll let you know what's up.

  • MrMuesli

    Stuck between a rock and a hard place deciding whether to get this now or to wait for the inevitable 59p sale. Always happy to shed a few extra pennies for an indie dev, but Gameloft will live on I guess in any case. Hmmm, decisions decisions...

  • MrMuesli

    Stuck between a rock and a hard place deciding whether to get this now or to wait for the inevitable 59p sale. Always happy to shed a few extra pennies for an indie dev, but Gameloft will live on I guess in any case. Hmmm, decisions decisions...

  • sweet little dich

    This actually looks really cool!

  • sweet little dich

    This actually looks really cool!

  • sammysin

    One of the very best games on iDevice.

    • Ben

      I agree with sammysin....got this games just before the official release (NZ copy i think!) and its completly incredible and highly addictive. Ive just beaten the 4th boss- Venom and I just cannot put the game down! In my view, its one of the best games on the iphone! GET IT!!! :P

  • sammysin

    One of the very best games on iDevice.

    • Ben

      I agree with sammysin....got this games just before the official release (NZ copy i think!) and its completly incredible and highly addictive. Ive just beaten the 4th boss- Venom and I just cannot put the game down! In my view, its one of the best games on the iphone! GET IT!!! :P

  • Scotv453

    I am gonna chime in on here with people making blank and utterly retarded statements.
    If you are one to believe that these games cost no more then .99 cents your are an idiot. No one in their right mind is gonna work on something of this caliber to only get .99 per sale. Are you literally outside your mind?

    You are telling me that they put in the time and effort to be away from their family and go into a production environment of coding and designing, to only recieve .99 per sale for their hard earned work? Stop spewing bull over the internet and get real.

    How about this. You tell your boss for the next project you do, you only want .99 cents for ALL your troubles.

  • http://twitter.com/IvanANguyen Patrick

    And then it happened. Welcome to .99$

  • IphoneRules

    Is this a free-roam game(like GTA) or is it based on missions that take you to different places?

  • zain

    spiderman total mayhem is the best game ever you can get on an iphone or ipad i beat venom now im on the 8th level i hope i unlock the black suit.

  • Osama Smith

    Spider man Total Mayhem is so cool, Mann its better than poop

  • Zarak Khan

    Spiderman total mayhem is the best game i have played i downloaded the HD version on the Ipad i was stuck on the 8th level then i got the hang of it i beat the game so i can wear the black suit Gameloft has really improved.

  • Zarak Khan

    MY REAL name is osama i hate this game i bought my new phone (the first generation blackberry) and this shit game did not download!!! I HATE YOU SPIDER MAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AG:SDFKG AEGFNAK:GF KAEFNG KQENR oh yeah, btw, I have anger management issues and will kill my phone AWDFGAEHADSF GEQRG ADSF GHDSFH SDFG i am a spas