May 30, 2015
Spider-Man has been called many things by evil villains and adoring fans — web-slinger, wall-crawler and your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. The Marvel superhero lives up to his nicknames in the Spidey-fronted runner for Android, Spider-Man Unlimited.
Spider-Man Unlimited has all the elements of the typical endless runner, but it uses the source material to put a fresh perspective on an overdone genre. Developed by Gameloft, the title features animated cutscenes that nod to Spider-Man’s comic book history and varied gameplay that takes advantage of the hero’s unique abilities.
The game’s plot revolves around Spider-Man and his infamous group of nemeses, the Sinister Six. Nick Fury, Black Cat and some of Spider-Man’s friends make appearances in comic book-style scenes to give Spider-Man’s actions some context. Ultimately, the game is centered around chasing down individual members of the Sinister Six and defeating them. To do that, Spider-Man must call on his arachnid counterparts from other dimensions, including Mangaverse Spider-Man and Secret Wars Spider-Man.
This dimensional dynamic is unessential to the game’s plot — the story will be the same regardless of which Spider-Man you use — but it adds new elements to Spider-Man Unlimited. Comic book collectors will find a special appeal in trying to unlock Spider-Men from every dimension, and the character variety is visually appealing for players.
Anyone familiar with Subway Surfers or Temple Run will be able to pick up and play Spider-Man Unlimited easily. Gameplay involves swiping through the rooftops of New York, Oscorp, S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters and other familiar locations. In addition to locational obstacles, Green Goblin, Doctor Octopus and members of the Sinister Six will create new burdens along your path. As is standard for any runner, there are various collectibles and power-ups to grab as you move through levels. However, there are more interesting portions of gameplay that involve Spider-Man’s special abilities.
The web-slinger will need to sling his web to cross rooftops throughout New York and the wall-crawler will be able to scale buildings in mid-level gameplay sections that require players to physically tilt their screen left or right to move Spidey. At first, this sudden change of gameplay can be difficult to get used to, but these additional elements are a nice change of pace to the otherwise tired endless runner genre.
While making purchases is not completely necessary to experience Spider-Man Unlimited, some of the game’s levels require players to recruit new Spider-Men or level up their current characters. This is where the game encourages players to shell out real-world money. Players can choose to compete in live events or random runs in order to earn in-game currency, but that pays off at rates lower than even J. Jonah Jameson would offer. Those who are unwilling to pay cash will find themselves playing the waiting game as they attempt to level up their Spider-Man corps.
There are some smart moments in Spider-Man Unlimited where gameplay varies, but the fact that it is just another runner for mobile devices can’t be overlooked. However, fans of your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man will enjoy using Spidey’s abilities and hearing his sarcastic quibs.