Review for MMA (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad)
I know nothing about MMA, UFC, WWF or whatever it's called since a certain wildlife fund took issue with the initials. Fighting on the telly isn't for me, I don't even do boxing, well not since Frank Bruno stopped fighting anyway. I do however like the odd fighting game, and over the years have enjoyed things like Punch Out when it first hit the arcades, the odd game of Street Fighter, and of course the best fighting game of all time IK+.
So basically, I can't tell you how accurate this might be to the world of Mixed Martial Arts, but I reckon I can tell you if it's any fun or not.
Wow, there seems to be a lot of these, but no gamepad in sight which is a good thing. The moves pretty much consist of tilting to move, tapping on one side or another of the screen, a series of swipes and tapping specific marked areas to make something a success or not. Like most games these days, you are taken through the concepts via a set of tutorials that start off with basic punching, kicking and dodging, moving on to holds and pinning people to the ground.
If you need to refresh yourself with the three tutorials, that first teach you what to do and then give you an opponent to practise on, then you can always go back and do them again from the options menu. With a memory like mine, doing them twice will be a necessity, however even if you don't hints are given in game once you instigate a move to help you along.
Most of the polygon work seems to have gone on the fighters, which is fair enough, there isn't a lot else to see other than a simple ring and a crowd cheering on the violence. They've even put a bit of effort into the bikini clad ladies that intersperse each round with a bit of cardboard.
The animation is pretty good, there isn't too much clipping between polygons when each fighter puts the other in one of the various holds often required to win the round. This isn't the prettiest game in the AppStore but it looks more than adequate for the genre. You even get some nice intro stuff for each fight which you'll soon learn to skip.
Once you've learned how to fight you can either have a one off exhibition match, or start the career mode which allows you to name your fighter and configure a wide range of characteristics from weight class, age, name, nickname and country, to facial hair, skin colour, tattoos and attitude. Clothing can be changed, as can the entrance music, with these and all customisation screens offering a random button if you want something different but are unsure what.
As time goes by you can improve your attributes, starting off with three points to spend in three of seven categories, such as stamina, health and so on. Pick your fighting style next and into the career hub you go. From here you start training by indulging in various exercises like sparring or punching bags. Each requires different controls, lifting weights for example has you tilting your phone backwards and forwards which seems apt and kind of a cute way to do it.
Doing this for 30 seconds or so however becomes quite dull, and turns this less into a game and more into a real life simulation of the dull bits in life. Unfortunately this sort of training is necessary, but thankfully training alternates with actual fights.
Another addition is a list of achievements, only they aren't called that, merely challenges. These are things like beating one specific fighter as another, or winning in a certain round or via a certain method. Not all of these are unlocked to start with, you must complete some to have a go at others.
Fans of MMA may like this title a lot, it is quite easy to control and offers a reasonable fun approximation of the sport without entering Street Fighter arcade style territory. Controls are pretty easy to learn and get to grips with, yet even knowing these doesn't guarantee you a win, so opponents offer a nice rising level of challenges. The addition of a career mode and challenges should also extend the lifetime of the app beyond the first couple of wins.
Those who like a more frenetic or casual experience, should probably look elsewhere. This is definitely aimed at fans of UFC and MMA, oh and anyone who likes a dollybird in a bikini between each round.
- Quite realistic 3D models
- Good control mechanism
- Fighter customisation
- Career mode
- Achievements in the form of challenges
- Supports Retina display
- Supports instant switching (multi-tasking)
- Not quite as fast and raw as it could be
- Training is dull
- No Game Center support