Iron Man 3 may be a comic-book-movie tie-in, but it manages to take on a life on its own as a fully pledged mobile game. It has a bit of a story, amazing graphics, plenty of in-game content, voice acting, and various gameplay modes that will keep players busy for hours on end. One of the things we like about the game is that it completely discard's Stark's closure sequence at the end of the third film -where he pretty much lets go of the role of Iron Man. Instead, the game forces Tony back into the fray by bringing out several of his toughest foes and AIM. The game heavily references the Stark Resilient storyline as well -but as to whether we would see that in the movies or not remains to be seen.
How the Game Works
The basic idea in Iron Man 3 is to earn as much resources as you can in order to upgrade your existing suits so that you can earn even more resources so that you can eventually save enough to buy new suits with which you can earn even more resources to upgrade and... you get the picture. Iron Man 3, by all accounts is a glorified endless runner. And we meant glorified in every possible positive conjecture it may have: amazingly breathtaking graphics, high speed gameplay, and all of Iron Man's suits that were shown in the movies (and this time, you can actually gawk and stare at them all you want -as opposed to trying to catch all those brief moments they appeared in the film).
To control Iron Man, the touch screen is used. The lower half of the screen is dedicated to movement -which allows you to strafe left and right, or move a little up or down. The upper part of the screen is for attacking. Click, swipe, or tap and hold on enemies to perform a variety of attacks using the repulsor beams and the uni-beam (basically, quick attacks for dispatching mines and other small fry, and long concentrated beam attacks for the tougher enemies). To launch a special attack, click on the icon on the bottom of the screen when it is glowing (the cooldown is pretty long so try to reserve the special attack for emergencies). The special attack varies depending on what type of suit you have deployed in the mission. And yes, you will want to put your tablet on a stable flat surface to play this game properly as it is quite hard to manage if you are holding your device up.
Flying Around the World
There are different game modes for Iron Man 3 -each made distinctively different by how the player is able to maneuver Iron Man through the stage. In all cases, players will be flying, but the position of targets, and how you get to dodge changes a lot depending on what kind of stage you are in.
The standard mode is the one most like your traditional endless runner: flying fast. In this mode, you have to choose how to approach obstacles, shoot down enemies, and at the same time, collect all the Stark Credits and other important items floating around the stage. A second version of this was created for the dunes stages -flight turns into a slow float, but the focus on dodging environmental hazards becomes quite pronounced.
Battle mode places Iron Man in direct combat against waves of enemies. Instead of flying fast, flight has been limited to floating around a specific area, and players must bob and weave through incoming fire while at the same time, dealing out some damage of their own. Hostiles will come from both aerial and ground targets so try to keep an eye out for dangers across the stage. Dodging fire is a crucial tactic here, so try to get used to maneuvering Iron Man for these occasions.
Lastly, boss fights pits players against major enemies such as Crimson Dynamo, the Living Laser, Ezikiel Stane (yes, related to Obadiah), and comic book favorite villain M.O.D.O.K.; these four villains will also engage Iron Man in conversation during battles -providing additional story exposition through dialogue. And yes, this is the best time to make full use of an armor's special power.
The Iron Man Armors
There are five different categories of Iron Man suits, three of which are designated by the type of special attack it has. The rest are divided simply according to how they are obtained in the game. The first type uses the striker missile special ability (the one that has a salvo of several missiles). The second category makes use of the unibeam blast -which is a super charged version of the beam from the chest (this actually affects all enemies onscreen, which is very useful when you are being overwhelmed). The third type makes use of the frost charge ability; this function is a lot like the unibeam blast, only much stronger and it will deal a lot of damage to bosses.
The next two groups are slightly different in the sense that they are not categorized by power. First are the armors that have been part of special releases/limited editions (like the Mk-24 Tank Armor, Mk-31 Piston, Mk-15 Sneaky, Mk-20 Python, Mk-19 Tiger, Mk-32 Romeo, Mk-22 Hot Rod, Mk-29 Fiddler, and the Suit Development Contest Armor). These have varying special abilities but are mostly based on the three previous power types.
Last, are the armors that have to be assembled by collecting parts. There are only two entries in this category, the Mk-16 Nightclub and the Mk-27 Disco. To obtain these armors, players must collect all the necessary parts from specific stages in order to build them.
As you go through stages, you will realize that picking up the items floating around are the most important thing to do. And to help ensure that you are able to prioritize which items to pick up and which ones are not worth the risk (of flying into an obstacle or taking unnecessary damage), here is a quick list of the various power-ups.
Magne Force is always a must-get item. When this is active, you will easily obtain all the Stark Credits that pop up as they will start flying to you. So yes, when this is available get it and just focus on staying alive as the items in the stages will fly to you automatically.
The Fusion Charge is powerful, as it provides players with temporary invincibility and increased damage output. This and a crowd of enemies means that you can rack up a pretty good score fast. These are better than the Proton Field which only have the defensive bonus of being invincible.
Alpha duplicators will increase the amount of points you earn in a stage by adding a bonus to the multiplier. Fuel cells increase the special meter faster. And lastly, credit overload items will give players a massive bonus to credits, vibranium, and gold resources.
When given a choice between a power-up and a whole line of stark credits (or rarely, ISO-8's), the power up usually takes priority. Once you do get the powerup however, try to rush and grab as many available credits that remain onscreen. Gold vibranium, as the premium currency of the game, should always be saved up and used only for unlocking special suits.
Dealing with Enemies
With so many things going on at once in the game, it is easy to get confused on what do to in order to survive (or at the very least, not take so much damage). The best way to do this is to get acquainted with the various enemies that you will be encountering. Gearheads are the mine-type things that float around. They only take a single shot to blow up and in small clustered groups, bringing them down becomes quite easy.
Extremis soldiers come in two forms: the unstable ones that explode, and the super types. Unstable Extremis soldiers are easy to deal with as they have low defense, as long as you shoot them down fast, they will not deal much damage -do run away if they start the pre-explosion animation though. Super Extremis soldiers will attack you with a projectile so use the concentrated beam attack to eliminate them quickly.
AIM soldiers have low defense but are capable of doing a lot of damage. The best thing to do is to focus primarily on maneuvering while trying to shoot them. Super synthoids have powerful laser beams and even if you can track their targeting patterns, avoiding these blasts are a major consideration as they can quickly deplete your health. Do not hesitate to use a special ability if they start overwhelming you with numbers.
Lastly, the Hammer Drone units are your toughest enemies. They are basically designed to be the replacements for the Iron Man armors, so expect both heavy firepower and whole lot of HP to chew through. Use your attacks wisely and constantly attack these until they blow up.