Captain America is one of those Avengers that used to have a support role, but lately he has become a headliner thanks to his original movie getting a recently released sequel. That might not be a perfect spot for this rather stiff character that has to rely on his personal history to become interesting, and relevant. Compared to the Hulk, or Wolverine who are characters with an ongoing internal struggle.

Ol' Captain America needs other characters to bounce dry remarks with, and at times he feels lonely without another hero by his side. His powers are also a bit too straightforward to build upon. In Captain America: The Winter Soldier – The Official Game [Free] this is remedied by giving him two optional agents. These are upgradeable support soldiers who have special abilities such as blowing up barrels or lowering enemy defense. Most of the time they act on their own using ranged weapons to help Cap clear out enemies.

Captain America 3Cap can throw his shield at enemies according to how you draw a path for it. This is actually the thing I found the most rewarding in the entire game. First throwing the shield at some enemies to draw their attention, and then activate a trap when they come near. Fisticuffs, and kicks are used when enemies are close enough. With only one attack button this is all about button mashing though, as Cap randomize his attacks on his own.

The controls can be set to either use a virtual stick for movement, or tap on location to go there. There is a third option that combine these, but I found it to be pretty bad. Too often I tapped the attack button, but got movement instead. Personally I preferred the virtual stick, as it makes the game feel more like an action brawler in the vein of Double Dragon.

All levels have three challenges that you complete to earn stars, and you can always replay earlier levels to ace them. To complete a level you have to rescue civilians, kill all enemies or destroy certain objects. Generally gameplay is about moving your trio between groups of enemies attacking you. It is all highly linear, and it is a shame as this could have been made into a random dungeon crawler experience instead or something else that feels less same-y.

Gameloft has created quite a few movie tie-ins, and if you have played one you know what to expect. Stellar production values, and as much use of the IP as possible. What sets this game apart from the others are the excellent cel-shaded graphics, and retro use of visual cues for sound effects. It suits the old-school character Captain America perfectly. And another thing that makes this game quite unique is the orientation it is played in: portrait. To some this might feel awkward, and you can´t play the game effectively with one hand. To me it is a breath of fresh air, and enhances the imagined size of the levels.

One thing that bothers me is the heavy-handed use of IAP, and numerous currencies used. Everything about the menus could be taken straight from a freemium game. Timed challenges, bonus wheels to spin and upgrades using both gold and other currencies. If you fail a level you get the option to revive agents, and the Cap at a cost. If you don’t the upgrades to your agents are lost. Additionally, it requires a constant internet connection to play.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a product that gives you a quite shallow city brawler game where more focus has gone into presentation, and freemium mechanics than providing a great time for the player. Sure you can play for as much as you want without timers, or lack of in-game energy, but after a while you will feel that you are just moving closer to the point where the game will demand more money from you to stand a fair chance. Where someone like Tony Stark wouldn't mind, the Captain would. Oh yes he would.

TouchArcade Rating

  • JC85

    A product that gives you a quite shallow city brawler game where more focus has gone into presentation, and freemium mechanics than providing a great time for the player.

    So thats worth 3 stars?

    • Brown Cow

      No, that's worth deducting two stars. The rest of the positive attributes that you left out of your comment is worth three stars. That's how ratings work. Try to keep up.

      • JC85

        Very generous

  • LousyHero

    Sometimes i miss the old gameloft. Sure most if not all of their games were unoriginal copies of copies of popular console games. They were however good developers for the fledgling ios platform, now they seem to be more in line with ea to me. Kinda sad, but at least we have a multitude of great developers now that make great games and stay away from these awful freemium practices. Im sure they make tons of money, but they are just a red flag for me anymore.

    • serjical

      I remember waiting my father to come home to play asphalt5 and real football on his iphone 3g... Look at those games now.

    • App Unwrapper

      Sometimes? I miss it every time they come out with another game. They used to be one of my favorite developers. Dungeon Hunter was one of the first games I bought on my iPhone. Avatar had flaws (namely the camera), but I enjoyed it quite a bit. And Sacred Odyssey is still one of my favorites (bought it day one, full price). None of their older games had IAP, so they progressed at a normal speed. I stopped getting excited over Gameloft games a while back, and it's really a shame. I even played Order & Chaos when it came out (gorgeous game -- also bought it day one) before it became so IAP-heavy.

  • iValerio1990

    why i cant forge new iso8??

    • Nekku

      Crafting is unlocked after you beat a certain level. Don't ask me which level it was cause I already forgot anything about this bug filled paidmium trash.

  • ste86uk

    Bar the bugs I actually enjoy the game and it doesn't sound like the reviewer spent much time with it. You don't need to button mash throw your shield then tap a target and he will auto attack. Also I've been able to play with dismal Internet it only needs enough to save game and load mostly and IAP gameloft said are optional as you get enough of everything just playing and I certainly do.

  • anabolicMike

    Captain America is on one those Avengers that used to have a support role.... Um what? Support role? Have you not read the avengers? Or any comics at all? I'm Canadian so this isn't me being ultra patriotic or anything but my god man Captain America was THE freaking avenger. Other people supported him! The "Death of Captain America" comic was huge with 300,000 preorders! ABC news reported on the news itself that Captain America died.
    Comic book characters die all the time and come back to life but not Captain America! He doesn't die. They did bring him back obviously but that just goes to show you how popular he was.
    Wow.... A support role? poser nerd! Go get comixology and start buying comics (actually it's a wild app, I have it on android). I hope other people told you off in the comments as well I was/am too shell shocked to read em.

    • anabolicMike

      I checked the authors name. I knew it couldn't be Eli. Eli, dude, can you please educate your authors? I don't think any research was done haha! Captain America is shallow and need characters to bounce lines off of? Sure he's pure Boy Scout cheese but that's why he is who he is. A supporting character??? What?!? Can the devs of the TouchArcade app please put the authors name on the story list? I have an author I have to skip :/. Sorry author dude

      • dancj

        Since Ed Brubaker started writing he hasn't even been cheesy.

      • joaquin_ondamoon

        Exactly. I was all..'Whaaaat..The....F?' The first sentence of this article should have been, "I don't know anything about Captain America, but..."
        The entire Brubaker run was AMAZING: the 2nd movie is largely based off it - and getting great reviews all around.
        Not everyone has to be into everything, but damn! At least do some research!
        That said, lest Eli think we're pissing on a freelancer again, the actual review of the game was well written, and he's probably a nice fellow.

        As far as the game goes - eh, it's a game based on a movie: how often does that work out?

      • anabolicMike

        You made my long winded point perfectly. Do some research if ya don't know. Author is giving us a review which is now built with lies. So what else is true? I DONT KNOW WHAT TO BELIEVE

    • CecilMcW00t

      As soon as I read that I skipped the review and went right to the comments to see if anyone called him out on that. Ridiculous.

    • Eli Hodapp

      What's a comic book?

      • dancj

        You're dead to me now.

  • curtneedsaride

    Yeah, definitely felt like I purchased a $3 freemium game that I can't really progress well without super grinding. And to be honest, I don't feel to inclined to because I get bored after a couple levels of the same thing. Kind of like the last Thor game. But I paid for this one. I'll probably play it again... while I'm waiting in the theater for the movie to start. But, yeah, I'm kind of bummed I got it. Too bad, too, because I just started to play the Amazing Spider Man and that game is pretty fun despite a few flaws of its own. I also loved the Dark Knight Rises. Just wish all the superheros would get that kind of treatment instead of mindless tapping IAP fests.

    • ste86uk

      Maybe your just not very good at the game, I'm not trying to sound mean but I'm having no trouble progressing.

      • curtneedsaride

        *you're* And good for you. You're probably awesome at games, huh?

      • wizardhowl

        Regarding your 1st's 'too', not 'to'. Pot. Kettle. Black.

  • Jzracin

    Some of the games that have been coming out lately have been horrible and it seems to be getting worse it wasn't but a few months ago I was buying a game every week now its gone to shit with freemium or just garbage

  • spokentruths772

    Wow what happened to gameloft

  • Devok

    They died?

  • thestapler

    pass. how far off are we from more good "original" Gameloft games?

Captain America: The Winter Soldier - The Official Game Reviewed by Torbjörn Kämblad on . Rating: 3