Riddick: The Merc Files
Left in the dark.
With the new Riddick movie in theaters, it makes sense to release a mobile game tie-in, and that's exactly what Gaming Corps did with Riddick: The Merc Files. In the game, you portray the silent killer as he uses his night vision and sneaky style through three different game types - Escape, where he tries to slip out of a stage in one piece; Fetch, where you pick up items and bring them back to a certain spot on the map; and Takedown, where you eliminate a key target without getting butchered.
The game is described as an action/puzzle game, with the option to play in stealth mode or as a straightforward action star. We can tell you right now, the latter doesn't work. Riddick dies after one hit, making the game nearly impossible to beat if you prefer the run-and-gun approach. That leaves stealth.
Riddick sneaks in the shadows, taking down unsuspecting guards and hiding their bodies out of sight. As you play, you'll avoid making noise. Otherwise, the guards will make things difficult.
When it comes to the gameplay, most of the mechanics work. You can pinch the screen to see objectives at any time, and once you learn how to execute proper takedowns, they're quite satisfying. That said, there are inaccuracies that sometimes lead to cheap deaths.
In one stage, we tapped a location to attack a guard, only to see another coming in. We tapped to head back to the location we were before, but the game misread the command and forced us to fight.
The game has several different stages to complete, with the promise of more coming through daily updates. In the meantime, you can upload videos through the Everplay feature. It's not as good as interactive leaderboards, but it allows you to show off your gameplay skills.
When it comes to presentation, Riddick is a mixed bag. On one hand, the levels look great and offer a lot of variety - and hiding spots - where you can take out guards. They also vary between daytime and nighttime, an interesting touch considering the killer works best in the dark.
Unfortunately, Vin Diesel didn't contribute to the game. He lent his voice to great effect in the Chronicles of Riddick adventures on consoles, but not here. As a result, you never feel in control of the character.
In the end, Riddick fares better than most movie tie-ins, mainly because of Gaming Corps' dedication to good stealth play and stage design. It could've been better, though, especially with superior action elements and more involvement from Diesel.
Download Riddick: The Merc Files: iOS
What's Hot:Intuitive puzzle gameplay, well designed and challenging maps, entertaining takedowns, option for video uploading.
What's Not:One-hit kills make the game unnecessarily tough, doesn't feel like a Riddick game without Vin Diesel, unbalanced gameplay.