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Bud Reviews: Spider-Man Unlimited (Android/iOS 8, Samsung Galaxy S4/iPhone 5c)

If you've been living under a rock for the past couple of years, then you'd be missing out on the latest fad in mobile gaming...."distance/runner games". Yup, "runners" are sweeping the nation folks. Seems like there are runners of everything. Subways, temples, minions, and now Spider-man decided to grab a piece of the cake. Gameloft released Spider-Man Unlimited to mobile platforms in September 2014. The gameplay is similar to Gameloft's previous hit game "Minion Rush". The premise is simple, players run in one of three lanes and have to avoid obstacles by either jumping, sliding, or moving to another lane. On the way you collect in-game currency and punch baddies that increase your combo score. In Spider-man's case, it's vials and Goblin soldiers. In terms of story, it alludes to Marvel's comic book arc "Edge of Spider-verse" where multiple Spider-mens/womens from different dimensions team up to stop the multiple villains. Each spider-man offers a unique buff and sports a different costume. You win by getting the highest score possible, otherwise the game keeps increasing in speed and difficulty. Of course, this wouldn't be a mobile game if there weren't gem currency. Iso-8 is their name this time round (for those that played Iron Man 3 game, Iso-8 was there too). To get Iso-8 , you either get them very rarely in-game while playing or by spending all your monies. For 130 Iso-8s it costs $20! That's for a free game. Oh wait, they're no longer called free games thankfully, I guess we'll call it "Get-it in-app purchases" game.

The game's cell shaded graphics are pristine and perform smoothly on my Kit Kat Samsung Galaxy S4 and my iOS 8 iPhone 5C. Although I performed better with the smaller iPhone form factor. The audio is pleasant for the ears, not too harsh, while having a background tune that is exciting and typical of the Spider-man franchise. The gameplay is unique since it incorporates Spidey's web swinging , kicking, and punching everywhere. It feels fresh and doesn't get too boring like minion rush. I really enjoyed the web slinging and wall crawling segments. Unlike minion rush which got extremely boring. The way story is delivered is through issues (ala comic book issues) that you have to complete successively to progress. Another aspect is unlimited or infinite running where you can score leader boards and get currency. Finally, there are regular events that feature a special costume as a grand prize. Once again, as with most mobile games, there is an energy meter/time that prevents from playing for example 7 games in a row. There is a cool down period that replenishes your spidey energy. Every time you go for a run you use one of the spidey energies, so use your runs wisely.

"Ok Bud, so you listed all the features in the game, big whoop, what did you think of it?"

It's a fun game, but suffers from aggressive salesmanship . I'm a huge Spider-man fan and I was very pleased to get a mobile game with a proper spidey treatment. It has many of the costumes I've seen or read about and you have the spirit of your friendly neighborhood spider-man keeping you upbeat. But the aggressive model they have for in-app purchases ruins what could have been the best game on app stores. The spidey energy limits your game time significantly. Enemies or tricky terrain spawn in  milliseconds, always making you feel bad for hitting that annoying wall. Just when you're doing well,. Also, they get you to spend all the money you earned on reskinned costumes that probably add 0.2% difference. The aggressive in-app purchases are perhaps, the only major drawback. In fact, it is less aggressive than Angry Birds , because Spider-man Unlimited doesn't feature in game commercials or ads. Although it frustrates me to have to wait till my spidey energy is recharged, nothing frustrates me more than repetitive in game ads. So maybe in-app purchases are a positive thing.

Overall, putting the app's financial model aside, the game is great. I've played many runners and I have to say this one feels the least interrupted while playing. You get to feel with spidey as he jumps and flips. His snarky comments are lighthearted and random enough  to entertain the player. Gameloft has really learned to tune and strike the balance of smooth gameplay and rhythm.

Spider-Man Unlimited by Gameloft gets a B on the B.U.D scale:
A surprisingly fun take on the old runner formula that strikes a good balance in terms of gameplay. The Spider-man universe was translated into game form correctly. However, in-game timers and aggressive pricing are annoying, but preferred over in-game ads. Download it and enjoy being the coolest super-hero in the neighborhood. 

This is my favorite Spider-man game after "Spider-man 2 Enter Electro on Playstation 1." It got me back into Spidey games. So if you have a good Spider-man game let me know in the comments. Last one I played was really the old Enter Electro one, (it was epic).

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