Monday, 23 September 2013

UPDATE YOUR Official Iron Man 3 App !!! - Review and My Strategy Guide

Dear Gameloft,
    I was going to write a near 100% positive review on your official Iron Man 3 application until today July 18th. I discovered one major thing that bothered me. More on that later on as I do really want to praise the goodness of the app. BUT YOUR AUGUST UPDATE FIXED THAT!(for me anyways).



     For 1 and 1/2 months I have been portraying Iron Man on my smartphone for hours almost every day. It is an extremely fun app for fans of the Marvel superhero such as myself. It's a combination of Fruit Ninja and Temple Run, but in a much improved way. Your slicing is done by your repulsor blasters on your hands(charging and shooting sound effects included). Turning isn't just a sidestep or 90 degrees left or right. Your path is one straight "road" but you can maneuver in a free flight kind of fashion (that is hard for me to explain). Use your gyroscope to control your flight or you can use the bottom of the screen to move tap or swipe(this setting can also be changed in the in-game pause menu during a mission). In the start up screen, view your armors in extreme detail(above the knee). Menu's have their own cool sound effects and Jarvis themed details. This game wouldn't feel as official if it didn't have official Iron Man theme songs. At least the slow song and the action song are included. Every time you blast off into fast flying mode you can hear your thrusters turn up. J.A.R.V.I.S. (voice included) greets and closes most missions that you get. Other speakers included are Pepper, Tony Stark, Crimson Dynamo, Living Laser, and M.O.D.O.K. (note:the voice actors aren't the same ones from the movie(s) but they still match the characters). That last note feels a little disrespectful to Robert Downey Jr. but its a true statement.

     At first I was worried about the Gameloft application containing spoilers to the movie. Don't worry, it doesn't. I risked it and midway through the movie I figured out that none of the enemies are the same. However, the events of the app are more likely to take place after the movie(mentions the defeat of a villain in the 3rd movie). Cutscenes before and after the daily boss fights reveal more of the games storyline each day. These aren't just a lines of text, they are voice acted to give you more of a cinematic feel and immerses you into the story.



     There are three trees(groups/branches) of suits. Each tree has one type of special (although in the movies most of the suits have two of the specials and not just one). The first tree's special is missiles. You only see four rockets get fired from Iron Man in the game. All specials hit every enemy on the screen and make you invulnerable until a little after the special. I believe this special always have one combo number higher than the actual number of enemies killed with it.

     The second tree's special is the Unibeam Blast. War Machine Mark II and the Iron Patriot are in this class. (Mini Spoiler-ish:In the movie the Iron Patriot is a repainted War Machine Mark II. In the game its a several times stronger than the War Machine Mark II. Its definitely one of the four strongest suits available). Weaker Unibeam blasts can get combo's easier than stronger ones as they take more hits to destroy enemies. It is also the easiest specials to get with combo's regularly.

     The third tree's special is Frost Blast.  I haven't seen this move any of the movie but its given a tree in this game. Mark II (the all silver metallic armor) does experience some frosting in the first Iron Man movie. When Frost Blast is activated, Iron Man pulls back an arm as if he's charging something in his open hand(like a Dragonball energy blast). He then releases and you hear a crunchy frozen sound as the enemies are frozen. Trivia: Although all the enemies freeze and a frozen effect is applied to their color, Gearheads change color too but the lower part of their legs retract/bend back. This is the hardest special to get combo's with because frozen extremis fall while frozen and may sometimes not count as part of the attack (when frozen targets shatter).

The stats aren't based on the movies, but they do affect game play.

       There are three types of currencies in the Iron Man 3 game. Earn XP (experience points) by reaching further distances. You get the same amount (or almost exactly the same amount) of experience per distance, even if you get pass 100,000 meters in a run. These are used for unlocking Armored Suits. As of July 2013 there are 20 suits(since the June update). Note that all the suits in the same tree above the one you are trying to unlock must be unlocked before you are allowed to unlock that armor.

     Earn Stark Credits (red) by collecting them during runs or completing missions. These are required to build Armors after unlocking them. Stronger suits require longer time to build. I'm not sure but I suspect that Blue and Gold Vibranium give more Stark Credits than a usual Stark Credit pick up because they are more prevalent late game and I end up with somewhat more Stark Credits per distance than with short runs. According to an unknown56 answerer given on at "http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_the_function_of_vibranium_in_iron_man_3_game" Blue Vibraniums give 5 Stark Credits while Gold's give 8 SC's.

     The Mark 42 takes 27 hours 56 mins and 59 seconds to build. I finished building the Mk 42 on June 23rd 2013 sometime between 2-4pm, twelve hours after one of my friends passed away in a car accident, several hours before I finally watched the Iron Man 3 movie using the free ticket I received from buying 4 Tony's brand pizzas ($2 each)  that were participating in the promotion. I just found out that typing "$2" uses the key "4" and "2".

Earn ISO-8 (Blue gems/diamonds/crystals) by defeating the boss, leveling up and/or completing missions. You can purchases these with real world money. They have multiple uses such as revive after you have lost all your health and continue your run, Special Power-Ups that can be used at the start of each run, unlocking an Armor, or unlocking all armors, and for trading in for Stark Credits.

  I don't like groups of screenshots that don't have real gameplay screen captures. I tried but wasn't successful getting one with my phone. This is right after a pause during the countdown. The counter is like what you would see from Guitar Hero to let you prepare to continue the action. The picture is missing the score, charge bar, enemies, shooting, and counter as its currently between seconds. It's still more representative of how the game looks like compared to the pics on Google Play and iTunes.

Power Ups:
Alpha Duplicator: Hardly helpful besides the "Collect Alpha..." missions. It doubles the points you get for a few seconds. Possibly charges your Special quicker as the specials seem to charge more when you get faster combos and more points like with the Unibeam Blast. (but I'm not sure). Doesn't  save your life though.


Magnet Force: Acts like a magnet that collects all nearby collectable items. This includes other power ups. You can just fly and dodge items as this magnet is strong enough to pull from the other end/lane of the screen. More often then not, this item doesn't save you from damage at all. Note: The Alpha Duplicator and Magnet Force power ups cannot be in effect simultaneously. The most recently collected power up will replace the previously collected power up and restart the bar that shows how much longer you have that power up.


Fusion Charge:  This gives you some sort of surge of energy (with increased attack and flying speed) for about 7 seconds. During this time your life becomes invulnerable, but your body will still recoil when colliding with walls, missiles and jets. Your attacks will have some spark to them and so will you. Different kinds of waves of enemies will come at you with shorter intervals inbetween waves. Usually with 2-3 Gearheads will show up during this time. I have trouble destroying both gearheads when two of them pop up simultaneously. You cannot use special while using a fusion charge. If you attack or fly towards a gearhead towards the end of the fusion charge, the gearhead(s) may fly away slower and just be on the screen longer than the fusion charge lasts. If this happens you have a small window to use your special on them. However this is really dangerous as they are also shooting their lasers at you as your fusion charge invicibleness ends. Note: the game does a great job at making sure you have a clear flying pathway during a fusion charge(no obstacles to avoid or flying though tunnels). However, towards my last few weeks(I as noticed more bugs than usual), there was 2-3 occassions where I would fly through a tunnel during a fusion charge and have no enemies. One time was without a tunnel and just flying fast forward. Another glitch I noticed towards the last couple weeks of gameplay was that once in a while missiles didn't have sounds(warnings) so I would not be alert and I run into them.

Proton Shield:  This is the most important and useful power up in my opinion. In a way think of this as an extra life each time you collect it. It protects you from a hit. It might not matter early game, but sometimes you can be stuck with below 5% health meaning one of these guys saved you from dying for at least a bit. This is a really special power up as it can really prolong your current run. For example if you collected and lost 8 of this kind of power up, you just lasted 8 hits longer. It's sad when a weak attack hits you and destroys your shield right before you get hit by a plane and receive a large chunk of damage.




My Play Style/Strategy and Experience (possible hints and tips)
Disclaimer: This may not be the best playing method but this is how I have been doing it. I've only tried swiping a few times. For my main gameplay I use the gyroscope. To me it feels more like I'm flying through the air (like what my character is doing). When its about time the (non boss) enemy shoots at me I start flying slowing left and right. That way their bullets will have less chance of hitting me, while having a greater chance of aiming where I was. Just be careful and pay enough attention so that you don't fly back to where the bullet is going. Enemy jets and missiles cannot be shot down or dodged in any direction you feel like. If the missiles or aircraft are on the left side of the screen you have to dodge on the other side of the screen (as opposed to Robert Downey Jr. being able to dodge in any direction he wants).  
My problem areas: I can't collect the Stark points that are almost all the way to the right when flying over the airspace/landing zones because I am too afraid of hitting the tank/hummer on the right. This area became a double row of Stark Credits in the August update. This fixed and motivated me to go over there to that lane no problem.
The first Ship when entering a dock/ship zone covers far more to the left than usual and often I am too lazy to dodge it more than a regular ship.
White/Gray Billboard in L.A. (without the lady that reminds me of Taylor Swift): I strongly believe this sign is over sensitive and will hurt you if you are close to it, even without touching it.
TUNNELS: Once in a long while, in New York, when you fly up after a tunnel, a missile will be in the middle of the screen and hit you as you reach the highest point of flight before I am not ready as almost all change in altitudes are clear to fly for at least a second. This is worsen when that missile doesn't have sound even while the volume is on.

ELEVATION ISSUES: The following was possibly fixed as I haven't experienced yet in my recent retesting of the August Update. (China does a similar thing on purpose. When you fly down onto the river. You cannot collect all the stark points 1) as you will be bouncing up and down as if trying to adjust to be right above the water. 2) you haven't even descended down enough to touch them.) However, after the update, there's a few different places where this can occur (a power up is at the start of an elevation and you haven't reached its vertical setting yet so you can't get it). I forgot which map but for sure it wasn't China.



Types of Enemies: many missions require kills of certain types of enemies. Although you should destroy/defeat all of them anyways, it might be less confusing to see your progress if you understand which enemies are being measured for that mission.

 Drones: The most common enemy. They fire at you from the center bottom of their bodies after they start rotating. After the first couple of waves of gameplay, whenever there are 5 or 6 drones on the screen, a second wave of 5 or 6 drones usually follows. If you time your swipe late and slow enough to just take out the last guy of the first wave as it is about to shoot you, you may continue the combo on the wave that follows it. This helps accomplish those 10-hit combo missions quicker. Honestly I use iso-8's to skip missions that require over 20 10-hit combo's in a single run.

 Soldiers: When taking down mobs of soldiers (ground units) I like to move back and forth slowly while trying to wipe out as many enemies as I can that are close to me. Blowing up tanks clears a small area around them (I'm not sure if this would prevent soldiers from spawning, therefore decreasing your possible chain/combo or if it blows them up and count them in the combo.) Soldier usually shoot between one and two seconds of spawning. Note: The soldiers (with a jet pack device) that are not in a mob still count as soldiers towards those missions that require soldier defeats. These guys have more hp than regular soldiers and may fire one or two red lasers that do a lot of damage. They shoot a fraction of a second after their blue targeting laser aims so I usually fly like crazy while trying to take them out.
     While fighting foot soldiers, their tanks may sometime still be hit for combo's even after being destroyed. The Unibeam blast can take advantage of this and create large combo's. 

 Super Extremis: They fly in front of you and shoot a blast at you after a set time. If they are not taken down after their first shot, they may shoot you a second time. Their screams when shooting and when taken down kinda sounds like they may be Tony Stark grunting/yelling. When defeated they may also make a spark sound similar to when your proton shield is taken down by a small puny blast. They do a moderate amount of damage.

Unstable Extremis:  These guys fly up, start spinning horizontally in place, then fly towards you. They do lots of damage and are the enemies whose attack patterns give me the most trouble reading/predicting. The rest of this paragraph is just me guessing. Sometimes they fly straight down the screen, other times they can go across the whole screen. I've noticed they usually target during rotating.

 Gearheads: These guys show up less often then all other units except super synthoids. Usually 2-3 show up during a Fusion Charge, however 1 and less likely none may show up during a fusion charge.

Super Synthoids: These buff grey humanoid alien textured looking creatures have the most HP of all nonboss units. However, these unit's attack are amongst the most predicable. Their attacks are slow. When you see the red balls/sparkles start coming out you can just move to dodge them, even if their range is larger than other attacks. The circular attacks are also slow but harder to read the expanding circle attack. You can time it and fly towards the edge when he is a bout to fire. He will fire where you are going. So if it looks like you are going to an edge, he will shoot there and miss you if you go to the other side of the screen as he makes his slow shot. After shooting once, he will teleport to another area on the screen, shoot you one more time and go away. You can still shoot him while he is teleporting, but during that very small window when he hasn't teleported back, he cannot be hit (Trivia: This is the only moment when a special can miss an enemy that is on the screen).

EMPs: These don't count as enemies but they do explode and harm you greatly if you hit them with a regular attack while they are in play. They have no interaction when entering and leaving the play area.



That One Major Flaw Until the August 2013 Update

    The AUGUST UPDATE seemed to have fixed this problem for me. However I was only allowed to reach Level 51 in this case (and I believe the IGOR was unlocked for me for FREE). Maybe this was to accomodate and recalculate the necessary level and XP to successfully unlock everything. As of now I don't need any more XP because there is nothing to do with them now so Level 51 cap is okay.
August Changes include New obstacles, background distractions, and zones or area's within the old maps/levels. One new suit was also added. It can only be unlocked by being in the top 10,000 scorers of a tournament (week). It's stats aren't as high as say the Centurion, however it has a higher score multiplier of 9x. Some smoothness and fluidity were also increased as I noticed there were less instances of just flying doing nothing until the path loaded. 
-Bosses are no longer daily challenges. The next boss becomes available to fight after you complete any 3 missions. Once a boss mission is activated, you must still fly the required distance to battle them. You don't fight at exactly that distance. One time, the boss didn't come up until after 5,000m of the designated distance(but this is rare possibly because the boss couldn't come out at that location/terrain, besides the app usually does a great job at figuring what's next). After you bring a bosses health down to zero, he may stay floating in one spot with his head down. At this time you may shoot continuously at it to create a combo and earn stark points while doing so. Think of it as your fatality opportunity to finish him like in Mortal Kombat. After you beat the final boss, the bosses no longer have cutscenes. They just jump right into battle. I wish there was an option to toggle this change. I like hearing the conversations. They make the game feel less repetitive. I'm not the kind of guy to skip cutscenes in video games, especially of those I like. For example, I've watched all the cutscenes of DMC3 in one sitting more than once.
-Price changes and costs in armored suits. I have to give credit to http://www.gameteep.net/iron-man-3-the-official-game/mark-42/ for being the only good place with armor information when I was still playing. The site didn't have the updated August prices within a few days, but it was helpful enough to help me plan my buying strategy and building changes before and after the update. 
-You may now upgrade your weapons pass tier 3. The fourth tier requires you to complete a mission. These new missions allowed me to finish my 3 required missions for bosses a lot quicker until I ran out of tier 3 upgrades.
-In China a fusion charge in the mountains no longer appeared in between two earthly formations, it now appears right behind a formation that appears on the right right before the two formations.
-In New York, there are new shipyards. There is also a path below the train/subway tracks. This new path hurts me a lot. There is no longer an area between buildings with blimps in the way(these blimps used to hurt me too as I was used to only focusing on the buildings and missiles). 
-In the Los Angeles/Beverly Hills area, you get to explore the beach a little more. During this beach sequence, there is often a proton shield power up on the left towards the beginning of the beach. You also fly between mountains, in which billboard at the start of this sequence tends to get me more than I'd like to admit.




Within two weeks, another August update was rolled out that probably fixed these guys. They were also messed up if shown in a preview after a run.

The problem.
        According to the app's description the game is an "Endless 3D runner!" The funnest part of the game was knowing that I was going to get all the three strongest suits(MARK 42, MARK 33 - Silver Centurion, MARK 38 - IGOR and possibly the IRON Patriot) level up all their attributes all the way, test to see which one I was the most comfortable with, and use my remaining ISO-8 to try and reach the farthest distance with the 3 Special Power-Ups before a mission and for continuing and see what my rank in the world was. I haven't tested the Special Power-Ups to see how they effect the Igor's proton shield capability.
    HOWEVER, this plan was ruined when I reached level 50 with 488,000 XP and 574,318 Stark Credits. The Igor requires 500,000 XP to unluck and 600,000 Stark Credits to build. Upon reaching level fifty just the run before, I noticed my XP bar stayed full. I was a bit curious as to why it was still full. From that I assumed it was the last/highest level, but wasn't sure why the XP bar wouldn't go down to 0 xp to show how many more until the next level. On my next run, I got over 130,000m I got my deserved Stark Credits but earned 0 XP! I was about 5 good runs from unlocking the IGOR. Come On! Are You Serious?! I loved the game so much and poored so much of my heart into the app just to be betrayed and cut short at the end. However, maybe it was time to end this relationship and work on others(apps).

Some Screenshots of What's New.


Miscellaneous:
- 80MPH seems to be the driving speed limit on this game version of Santa Monica(the only L.A. beach area I'm kinda familiar with).  The day after the first week of the tournament had passed, I quickly made runs and recorded my position before more people started taking advantage of the update. Tournament positions are restarted after each tournament. My global position as of 8/12/13 is 1412. My position for the weekly tournament was 162 with 6 days 11 hrs left. 
 -At the time I spotted on the scoreboard, an "Idunno990" whom seems like a hack with top position of 1 billion with one of the "0" (I'm assuming from the ones position) on the bottom right of his score.
-The screenshots on the app pages are more detailed then what I have witnessed on my low end Android smartphone (Sony Ericson Xperia Play). This is one of those games that was not meant to be Xperia Play optimized. 
-Robert Downey Jr's character in the HTC commercial is very much like his Tony Stark character. I love the HTC ad. According to an Engadget article the 1 BILLION DOLLARS 2 year ad campaign also involves RDJ "getting his creative input in the process". It seems to be working nicely or at least be very appealing to me.
-My favorite armors were Mark IV, War Machine MK II, and Mark 40 - Shotgun, And Mark 42. Mark 42 was saved for boss battles or hard missions. War Machine had a lot of power for its short cooldown time. It was sure to be cooled down after any other armor (mostly Mark IV) was used for continous gameplay. It allowed combos.  Mark 40 looked different, and was almost always cooled down by the time WM MK II and another armor was done being used. It was strong enough to reach 100,000m if played well. This was all before the August changes. After August, it was more likely that my cooldown would automatically complete before it was supposed to (I think this occurred when exiting and entering the app).
-The Mark 42 does not heal itself like the suit's description says. It would be awesome if it did repair itself or had autoheal. (I kinda have trouble liking the self repair feature of it in the live action movie. Unless there are little nano's fixing it, I don't see how it does so. Another thing I didn't like about the suit was that its parts could fly themselves and maneuver really well. If space was being used in the suit to contain energy and minijets, then the armor should be weaker in a lot of specs. If it wasn't weaker, then that means a suit without those engines could have additional features using up that space used for the jets.) 


Enjoy the app, I know I did,

Joshua Yang

1 comment:

  1. I had just recently checked the reviews on Google Play. DO NOT UPDATE if you have the AUGUST update because the proton field has now become a timed item like the other power ups.

    The other day I played for two hours on one run, with a couple retries. It didn't save my score. I wasn't connected to WiFi, and I didn't go to Stark Industries after seeing my score. I went to turn on WiFi on the phone came back to the app. Luckily I took a pic of the score. I don't know if it gave me Stark Credits, and a few reviews have also said that theirs scores didn't save. GOOD LUCK.

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