The Amazing Spider-Man ($6.99) by Gameloft is a step in the right direction for the iOS behemoth, Gameloft. While it is a paymium title, like many of Gameloft's recent releases, The Amazing Spider-Man manages to provide a sense of freedom from both the in-app purchases, and the natural laws of physics as well.
For those of you that have played a console Spider-Man game before, you will remember the joys of web-slinging around wherever you chose. For the most part, Gameloft managed to provide the same sense of freedom and joy, but the web-slinging does feel a bit akward at times.
Also common in Spider-Man games (and superhero games in general) is the incessant walloping of thugs. Thugs run amuck in this iOS version as well, and it's always quite a bit of fun to take on a huge pack of bad guys and come out on top.
Speaking of coming out on top, beating up bad guys might seem a bit too easy for more experienced gamers. The real key in these battles is to mash buttons and try to pull off as many combos as you can. In those terms, street fights sound like child's play, but there is actually a bit of strategy involved.
You can tell from the title that the game follows the plot of the newest Spider-Man movie. Basically, you go around beating up thugs, stopping crime, and eventually defeating the Lizard. While the story isn't exceptional, it's what you do in between that makes things exciting.
The Amazing Spider-Man can be considered as an open-world RPG. As you progress, new "quests" become available to you. You can select whatever mission you want in the mini-map, and then a waypoint will be set so you can easily get to the start of the mission. If you're in a rush and don't feel like web-slinging or running through the city, you can also choose to teleport to the start of the mission.
The quests mainly involve saving people and stopping thugs, but there are also a few side quests that involve snapping photos and other things. When you aren't doing a mission, you can travel around the city and go wherever you please. Gameloft did a nice job making the city feel somewhat lively, and it is more detailed than you would expect from a mobile game
In terms of visuals, playing on an iPhone 4 doesn't exactly provide any eye candy, but gameplay is lag-free for the most part. On higher-end devices, I would expect everything to be quite a bit more detailed with larger draw distances as well.
As a paymium title, The Amazing Spider-Man features an in-game currency called "spiders." Spiders are collected while you play, and they can be used in the shop to buy some extra things like potions, and an in-game camera.
The Amazing Spider-Man carries itself like a role-playing game, with its deep skill tree and leveling system, but it still maintains the easy-to-grasp, non-stop beat 'em up action that is inherent in a superhero title. Spider-Man fans, this game is definitely calling your name.