The latest Indiana Jones movie features a somewhat passing of the torch. In previous movies, Indy was basically the youngest and most able of all the characters. In this latest of the series, a young sidekick called Mutt tags along and does some of the high octane stunts that you would have thought Indy was supposed to do. In the mobile game, the same bifurcation exists. The quick gauntlet type sequences belong to Mutt while the slower puzzle-oriented stages belong to Indy.
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull begins in the rainforests of South America. As with the film, you’ll get a chance to use Indy’s whip to leap from vine to vine and take out dart and knife wielding aboriginals. Soon he’ll graduate to dodging Soviet grenades. Indy’s gameplay is more methodical and can involve strings of stunt work that you need to chain up to get from one area to another. That means swinging on a vine, jumping on a platform and trying to avoid spikes below. Putting them altogether can be difficult. The game can be punishing because the save points may be far enough apart that you have to do two acrobatic sequences before seeing a checkpoint.
On the other hand, Mutt’s game is much easier. His only concern is the need to keep pace with the gauntlet style run. When his stages start, the screen will continuously move right while Mutt finds the best way (usually there are two paths) to navigate. Once you are on the right end of the screen, a key appears and you have to take it back to Indy by going through the stage again.
This stage would be more challenging if the game actually moved faster but if Mutt’s game is prodding along, Indy’s is even slower. I wasn’t sure if it was the cell phone I was using but another one I tried was also moving at a turtle’s pace. The graphics aren’t earth shattering so I’m positive it’s not because of the graphics weighing it down. They look serviceable for the most part but I wouldn’t say they capture the diversity of the movie’s settings. The one shining spot of the presentation is the audio in which the Indy theme is faithfully transcribed to mobile.
Overall, Crystal Skull feels underwhelming. The energy that can be found in the movie is simply not in the game. The material is there to do a great game but for whatever reason, the game just doesn’t jive together into a good package.