Can the wireless game tide Superman fans over while the console and PC versions of the game face production delays? Superman Returns, on mobile, tries to be ambitious by painting the New York skyline and throwing in a variety of mission objectives. At one point in the game, you’ll be repairing buildings with your laser vision. At another point of the game you’ll be rescuing people from skyscrapers.
Unfortunately Superman Returns is plagued with some kind of generic malaise. All the buildings, except the Daily News skyscraper, look horribly bland and since most of the time you’ll be flying around them as the titular character, the repeating sprites get old after awhile. The same can be said for the objectives. Yes, you will be asked to use your super cool breath to put out fires and save hapless civilians from rooftops. But it doesn’t get more interesting every time you encounter it.
The controls for Superman are easy to grasp. I had to look up the controls once to figure out how to switch between super powers. Beyond that the game didn’t require much training. In order to move in one direction you have to tap on the direction key for a little while and then let go so afterwards Superman will accelerate. If you keep holding on to it, he’ll repeat his wind-up or start-up maneuver which makes him look more like a circus acrobat than superhero. You have to keep in mind that Superman carries momentum so you need to apply force to stop.
With the whole 2D landscape open for you to travel in (locked in by artificial boundaries), one would imagine it’s easy to get lost and not find the necessary tasks to complete. Superman Returns comes with some handy arrows that will point you in the right direction. I found this kept the pacing of the game moving well. Luckily, you don’t have to solve every timed objective the arrow is pointing to. Superman Returns lets you fail on some and as long as you can make up for it at the end on the points scale, you’ll be fine. So if you happen to let one or two meteor rocks fall, that won’t lead to a game over screen.
I was playing Superman Returns while watching an episode of The Family Guy and part of a television screening of The Sixth Sense. Not long after I got into the movie, the game promptly told me I finished it. One has to imagine if the developers could have used the extra time that the other Superman Returns games are getting to flesh out more content.
Needless to say, considering how many buildings and people I saved, I thought the ending was pretty underwhelming. At least I could have gotten thanks from the people but that’s probably what happens to all superheroes – and also why they have to disappear and return from time to time.