The Dark Knight Rises ™ by Gameloft icon

The Dark Knight Rises ™ ($6.99) by Gameloft is the official game for one of the most highly anticipated movies this year. Unlike Batman Arkham City Lockdown, which I originally reviewed, TDKR is an open-ended game, where you can freely roam around and explore the city.

Batman is one of my favorite superheroes, so I have been eagerly waiting for this game the moment I heard about it. I even skipped out on my beauty sleep for today so I could catch a midnight showing of the movie. The game stays true to the plot of Nolan’s final Batman film, but it doesn’t give it all away.

You’ll start out in Gotham by trying to track down an elusive thief, while learning the basics of the game. The graphics are quite impressive, and will look great on your Retina iDevice. TDKR will look like and feel like a console Batman game, such as Arkham City, but in your pocket.

The Dark Knight Rises ™ by Gameloft screenshot

Controls are done in your typical fashion: a virtual joystick on the left for movement, screen swipes to move the camera, and action buttons on the right. The buttons will appear when the situation calls for it, such as the Grapnel Gun, Batarangs, attack, countering, jump, and more. You can even jump off of buildings to glide through the city, or latch onto buildings with the Grapnel Gun to pull yourself in for quicker traversing. Vehicles appear later in the game, such as the Bat-Pod and The Bat. Other interactive elements will display a popup button when you are next to them.

When you come across enemies, the game auto-locks on them, as indicated with a red crosshair. You can then initiate combat with your tools or fists — if you’re above them, you are able to surprise them. Chain together punches to initiate a combo, which will have a finishing blow done in a fancy, slow-motion cinematic camera.

If an enemy within range is about to attack you, the counter button will show up — tap on it to counter and follow up with your own attack. You’ll have to alternate between attack and counter frequently. Thugs with guns can be disarmed before you pummel them down.

Defeated opponents will net you credits and experience points. The credits can be used in the Tech Shop to purchase upgrades. I liked the RPG element of leveling up in the game, because it gives you an incentive to keep playing. You can also purchase more credits as in-app purchases to advance further.

The radar in the corner will show you red blips for nearby goons, and objective points are indicated on the screen with an orange marker that displays distance. You can also see your current location and where you have to go via the map, which is accessed by tapping on the radar. Your current objective can be seen from here too, if you’re like me and forget often.

TDKR consists of various events and missions, so there will be plenty to do. You’ll be saving hostages, hacking security panels, dealing with bomb threats and even jailbreaks, and more. Between missions, you’ll be greeted with beautifully rendered cutscenes, complete with voice acting.

The Dark Knight Rises ™ by Gameloft screenshot

Despite the layout for the controls, I found it to be a bit clumsy at times. The joystick stays in a fixed position the entire time, with no customization. The popup action button for interactive components feels clunky, since you need to reach out to the middle of the screen, making it feel a bit unnatural. While it’s somewhat better than the Infinity Blade fighting style in Lockdown, TDKR combat feels like it is nothing more than button-mashing, which may end up being repetitive.

I had some frame rate issues with the game, which seemed to be a bit choppy at times on my iPhone 4S. The game even crashed once or twice, though fortunately I didn’t lose much progress in my game since there are constant checkpoints. Too bad there are no Game Center achievements.

While the game isn’t perfect, it’s definitely a fun addition for all Batman fans. It’s a great way to kill time before the movie.

How did you like The Dark Knight Rises film? Did it exceed your expectations?

On a more serious note, my thoughts and condolences go out to the friends and family of the victims involved in the Aurora, CO theater shooting. No one deserves that.