Don't kneel before Zod.
With Man of Steel abusing this summer's movies in theaters, it made sense for Warner Bros. to release a mobile game for iOS and Android devices. It did this with help from Phosphor Games Studio, the immensely talented developer behind such portable hits as Dark Meadow and World War Z. The result is a third-person beat-em-up that does Superman the justice he rightfully deserves for the most part, with a plot, characters and locations pulled straight from the blockbuster film.
Portable game fans accustomed to Chair Entertainment's Infinity Blade will feel at home with the combat in Man of Steel. Both Story and Survival (think endless) Modes pit Superman against General Zod and his army of goons. With the action viewed from an over-the-shoulder perspective, players tap dodge buttons to avoid incoming attacks and then swipe the screen to deliver a series of brutal punches; there's also the opportunity to stun one's opponent to score extra hits. Whittling away an enemy's life bar results in victory and/or the next opponent.
This basic foundation works about as well as it did in not just Infinity Blade, but also games like Batman Arkham City Lockdown and Avengers Initiative. To set Man of Steel apart from the competition, Phosphor took advantage of Superman's abilities while at the same time crafting over-the-top scenarios. Punching enemies at key moments launches them into a variety of vehicles and buildings, with broken glass, pulverized bricks and bent metal; there's something undeniably cool about launching some bozo into a tank.
In addition, it's possible to send these bad guys into orbit with a crushing final blow, and there's also a cool segment where Superman grabs hold of his adversaries and rams them into hollowed-out cars and other forms of debris, made possible by swiping the touch screen. It's an all-too-brief moment that satisfies every time.
Beyond that, there are a handful of abilities to upgrade, from Superman's heat vision to his super speed. Doing this is vital, as General Zod and his goons only become stronger the further you progress. That said, it's cool to beef up a few stats and lay the smack down on a particularly tricky opponent.
On that note, the game falters in two key areas. Dodging is at times unresponsive, and for whatever reason, Warner Bros. had the developers build iPhone and iPad versions that cost $2.99 and $4.99 respectively. Considering that most games these days are universal, this comes off as a quick cash grab for tablet users.
By and large, though, Man of Steel is an entertaining beat-em-up that joins the growing list of quality superhero games on mobile. If anything, it will give you something to pass the time with in the theater during those annoying pre-show commercials.
What's Hot:Addictive Infinity Blade-style combat, upgrades, both Story and Survivor Modes, different suits to unlock.
What's Not:Separate iPhone and iPad versions, occasionally unresponsive dodge buttons.