Overview

The Tron universe is colliding with the iOS universe with Tron: Legacy the game to coincide with the movie release today 12/17. The game includes two different modes including a 3D light cycle race, and a shooting game where you use a Recognizer, and blast away everything in your sights. The official game of the movie comes with the first 3D light cycle race to iOS, and presents Tron on mobile like you’ve never seen it before.

Features

The game is composed of 24 separate events that alternate between light cycle races and shoot outs in the Recognizer. Your positioning in each event earns you points which are needed to advance through the events. Online multiplayer light cycle races are included on any of the 16 tracks, and Game center is included for online high scores and achievements. The app is universal for all iOS devices.

The Good

The world of Tron finally comes to iOS, and it brings everything you would want. This is the first 3D light cycle race game as all the rest have been 2D grid based rectangles. Now it’s complete serpentine like race courses through a very imaginative Tron landscape.

The light cycles part is a well made arcade racer which are rather rare in the App Store, and even rarer when it’s not real cars on real roads. The courses are lengthy and complex with all kinds of twists and turns, and yet the game is all about speed. There are power-ups along the way like a kart racer, and you have a turbo meter to access.

While moving at high speeds, if you don’t take a turn well enough you can crash into walls so there is constant danger to be concerned with. There are 16 different race courses that occur in Tron city, ISO city, the outer highways, and stadium. With light cycles you also need to concern yourself with the trail of lights from opponents that act as barriers, and an opponent can run you into sticky situations and vice versa.

Also included is a shooting game where you man a Recognizer that moves slowly through an arena, and you tilt to aim, and tap to fire. As you’re moving there are small cannons, tanks, and cycles firing back at you so you need to be quick to dispose of them. It’s a rails shooter as the Recognizer moves automatically, and you just control the aiming and the firing.

It’s a challenging game mode as you need to be quick with your aiming and firing, but also your machine can overheat so you can’t fire too often. You can build multipliers for consecutive enemies hit. There are score plateaus to reach to finish first to earn tournament points to be able to advance to the next events.

The 24 events are split between three acts, and they’re a considerable undertaking to complete. You need to do well in each event to earn enough points to keep advancing, but the difficulty increases gradually for all players to enjoy every event. That’s just the single player campaign, but there is also online multiplayer.

The online multiplayer system uses Disney’s own service, and allows you to race head to head in light cycles on any of the 16 tracks with anyone online. The races are fast and competitive as the race tracks are the biggest challenge. The load times are relatively quick, and there are quite a few players online at most times.

The Tron universe has never looked so good on mobile with great looking retina quality graphics. Every course layout is so deluxe with so much detail in the surroundings, and such complex race tracks. The light cycle animations are well done as the practically fly across the tracks, and it all comes together offering an immersive racing experience.

The same type of visuals are included in the Recognizer mode, and there are a few different soundtracks between the modes and events. The game has very smooth controls with great tilting whether racing or aiming. You can handle every curve so well as you tap right to accelerate, left to brake, and simply tilt to steer which is effortless.

The Bad

The events are somewhat slow moving with a few time trial races where you face no other light cycle. Then the races give you one opponent for the most part which leaves quite a bit of competitive action out. The recognizer mode is slow moving, and the majority of the challenge is in maintaining multipliers to reach score plateaus, and not in just surviving or hitting all the enemies.

The online multiplayer could benefit from using Game Center multiplayer rather than Disney’s system. Again like in single player it’s mostly head to head races online without the ability to race with more. It would be nice if there was a little story between the vents and acts to tie everything together.

Despite achievements popping up in game they don’t always unlock in Game Center for no apparent reason. In fact more often than not they don’t appear in Game Center despite appearing in game.

The Verdict

Tron: Legacy offers up one of the best arcade racing experiences out there with the 3D light cycle racers on complex courses. There is a rails shooter mode as well offering a nice change of pace as you make it through 24 events, and you can play online multiplayer as well. The game offers a beautiful glimpse of the Tron universe with amazing visuals on retina displays or iPad.

Tron: Legacy is a should buy for only $0.99 offering a great overall gaming package that is highlighted by the 3D light cycle racing.