Much like the eponymous film currently raking in millions in ticket sales, The Dark Knight Rises[$6.99] aims for great heights and mostly hits its marks. The game follows and expands on the events that unfold in the final entry in The Dark Knight trilogy film saga, but don't worry: we won't divulge any spoilers for the two of you who haven't seen the movie. All you need to know is a masked terrorist named Bane has bad intentions for the people of Gotham City, and you, being Batman, need to strongly discourage him against those plans.

The game's story comes from the movie, but The Dark Knight Rises owes most of its feature set to the popular Batman Arkham console games. Using a virtual stick and a few buttons, you swing, glide, and fight your way through Gotham's darkest alleyways and tallest towers, all gorgeously detailed. Tapping the jump button after leaping into Gotham's embrace spreads Batman's cape, letting you glide around. You can slink, stride, and sprint to nearby locations, fire the grapping gun to pull yourself around, and pilot vehicles like the Bat-Pod and the new Bat flying machine, making travel even quicker and fun.

The game shepherds you along dozens of story missions, but barring a few exceptions, you're free to break away from the beaten path and poke around. Inevitably, you'll find yourself surrounded by arm thugs who wish to retire the Batman in the most violent manner possible. Combat is simple--a little too simple. Tap the attack button to perform combos and disarm thugs. A block button occasionally pops up, but you rarely need it. Enemies are happy to drop their guard and turn the other cheek until you finally deliver a crushing blow that leaves them crumpled on the pavement. Accessibility is nice and necessary given the limited screen real estate, but mashing one button over and over becomes repetitive and makes combat more a chore than a tactical engagement.

All Batman fans know the Dark Knight is equal parts ninja and brawler, and The Dark Knight Rises offers up plenty of opportunities to put Batman's sneaking skills to the test. Perches like gargoyles conveniently line many rooms, giving you the chance to drop down on top of enemies for an instant K.O., or stalk them from on high before creeping up behind them and dispatching them silently. You can break into side areas and safes by solving a hacking mini-game under a strict time limit. Within, you'll uncover extra items and gold credits to spend on upgrades like thicker armor, combat training, and greater batarang distance.

The sneaking controls operate more efficiently than the brawls, but more often than note, the game forces you to trade punches to progress. Context-sensitive buttons like the block button that pleads for your attention hinder more than help. To avoid cluttering the screen, batarangs and other gizmos like the grappling gun only appear when the game thinks you might need them, but they usually materialize right beneath your thumb. I can't count the number of times I was inching my way behind a thug to choke him out, only to accidentally send Batman into a jumping fit or, worse, spasmodically lobbing batarangs every which direction and give up my position.

Now, I wouldn't sweat a few wasted 'rangs if they were infinite, but they're not. Nor should they be. Determining how and when to use the supplies packed into your utility belt is integral to the strategy involved in some scenarios. You find items by breaking into locked rooms and at certain junctures during missions, but otherwise you attain them by spending credits in the store. Accidentally using up consumable items doesn't sit well, especially if you shelled out real money to buy IAP credit packs.

The camera controls also do more harm than good. You slide your thumb along the right side of the screen to pan around, but good luck twisting the camera during combat without bumping buttons. This flaw balances out since you don't really need to reposition the camera during combat; just tilt the left stick toward the bad guy you want to feed a knuckle sandwich and press attack. All the same, I rarely managed to orient the camera without accidentally tapping other buttons, in or out of combat.

The Dark Knight Rises might sound more like the Batman game mobile gamers need than the one they deserve, but that's an unfair assessment. Like most Gameloft's titles, it's a small-scale rendition of a bigger console experience that's worth playing for all the collectibles, missions, and upgrades, despite several shortcomings.

For another look at The Dark Knight Rises, check out: TA Plays: 'The Dark Knight Rises' - Gameloft's Official Batman Movie Tie-In Character Action Game

TouchArcade Rating

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  • LOLavi

    At least you didn't bash it like
    TASM. Haven't played the game, but the movie was so epic that I was hoping for a 5-star review :p

    • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

      What's TASM?

      • JCman7

        The Amazing Spider-Man

      • BruteOutlawz

        The amazing spiderman

    • evilsearch

      this rating is too generous. i would give it 2 stars the most for its bug, lag, poor batpod control movement, bad combat system(especially if your'e playing arkham city). this game is a clone of arkham city style which is good but they(gameloft) watered it down to much. its sad coz like almost any other ios games, this game has a good potential for being good. but just that is.

      ps. no mouth gesture?really?

      • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

        I actually thought the... typical Gameloft open world setting felt like it fit a lot better in this game. The city is pretty empty, but it is dark, and that sort of feels right compared to Spider Man which was just silly comparatively.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002376549522 Đạt Nguyễn Thành

        Wew...I haven't experienced any lag or bad batpod control, I think It's better than tasm interm of graphic,framerate and bug free.that's just my opinion (;

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/X5RAMCPK3XD4CULL6GHVDCTGSA Siddharth

      TASM was a poor game in every category,it doesn't even deserve a 2.

  • http://twitter.com/VULTR3 Mike

    I have been playing this game and the Spiderman one. Being a big fan of the console games they are based on, this Batman game is the better one. Very enjoyable, and pretty deep compared to most movie tie-ins for mobile, the world is pretty big and fighting/gliding/grappling is a lot of fun.

  • Mr. Grizzly

    As far as batarangs go, you can get as many as you want for free by visiting the batcave (the first free play mission). There are two pickups (anywhere from 2-5 batarangs each) right at the start, and just keep restarting the chapter to get as many as you would desire. I am not sure of the game limit on these powerups, but the last time I was getting batarangs I got well over 200.

    • ImJPaul

      Nice tip. Haha.

    • DecafTable

      While in no way cheating, that's taking advantage of the game :/ I was always one to play as noble as possible. Where's the fun in an unlimited supply? Just my .02

  • Himmat Singh

    I haven't played it, but reading your review, it sounds more like a 4 or at least 3.5. You don't really say that many bad things about the game. If you want to rate it a 3, you need to give it some justification. All the same, I've not played the game.

    • GSJ1977

      He said tedious combat and bad controls. They don't get any less tedious or annoying, respectively, as you progress through the game.

  • GSJ1977

    Review is spot on IMO

  • http://twitter.com/RubiconDevelop Rubicon Development

    It's almost like all movie tie-in games are just cynical, rushed-out shite.
     

    • chris1a

      They are! I can think of one game tho that's actually a proper AAA game, The chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay by Starbreeze. Xbox game but still.

  • MVMNT

    I could have voiced Bane better myself

  • http://www.facebook.com/honemelgren Hone Melgren

    This games a lot of fun (what with the being able to play as Batman and all) but what really impressed me was the battery life.

    For a game of this size , expansive 3 D world , sounds and graphics I expected my iPod Touch to peter out after about 30 minutes of playing. My original plan was "Oh hey I'll just play this for half an hour before bed time to see how much the battery goes down"

    NOPE.jpg

    3 hours later and I'm still playing !  It's only 3 hours after starting that I get the "you have 20% of battery life left" alert come up. Such an enjoyable game that you don't even notice the passage of time (not sure if it said %20 or 10% left ... it was late :P)

  • http://www.facebook.com/jzdub.walker Jzdub Walker

    How do you lock story missions

The Dark Knight Rises ™ Reviewed by David Craddock on . Rating: 3