Chances are pretty good that you’ve seen at least one of the more recent Marvel movies — Iron Man, Captain America, The Avengers — but out of all of those, one of the least likely to catch on was Thor, because hey, who’s really into Norse gods? Turns out that Thor ain’t that bad a guy; in fact, he’s pretty cool.
When it comes to playing Thor on the iPad in Thor: Son of Asgard, you get a little bit of the awesome part of the character, and a lot of the parts that you’re not sure are very cool. Lost yet? Don’t worry, let’s go to Asgard and figure out what makes the Odinson tick.
You’re Thor. OK, that’s pretty much all you need to know here, because the plot is pretty superfluous. Needless to say, bad stuff is going on. Long story short, it’s your job to save Asgard and your friends from the bad stuff that’s happening.
Along the way, you’re going to run into the famous baddies from both the movies and the comics. There’s Dark Elves, trolls, the Midgard Serpent, Frost Giants and even Loki makes an appearance or two. Yes, you’re off to see the wizard, so bring along Mjolnir and get ready to work out some aggression.
Bringing Thor to Life
In my review of Avengers Initiative, I pointed out that the graphics were good, but it wasn’t the prettiest game ever for the iPad. With Thor, well, things are different.
Remember back when developers used images of real people’s faces and then mapped it over a cylinder to create the virtual face? The result was a character that was kind of like the original actor, but very creepy. In a nutshell, that’s Thor. You get the basic appearance of Thor’s Chris Hemsworth, but he looks pretty distorted. It’s not very awesome.
There are lots of other really pretty visuals in the game. Asgard looks great, and even the back of Thor’s costume — the part you see the most — doesn’t look too bad. But even though there are lots of cool details, again, the characters themselves look really blocky and weird. It’s not the worst thing I’ve ever seen, but it’s unnerving.
Typically, this would be the part where I complain about how horrible the controls are, and how difficult it is to move the character across the screen. Surprisingly, this is not the case with Thor. There’s a virtual joystick and three buttons — all key signs of horrible controls — but I never had a problem finding any one of them. It was quite a surprise for me, and I liked that.
However, the act of playing was a little different. When you play a fighting game, when you hit a character you’ll typically hear some kind of noise on the other end, right? Like a “thud” or “thwack” or something similar? That’s really an issue with Thor. You hit someone, but there’s no visual or auditory cue that you’ve done so, leaving you wondering if you actually made contact. Because this is a hack and slash kind of game, you need some kind of noise or something to know what you’re doing, but since you don’t, you feel like you’re just mashing buttons a lot. That’s a little frustrating.
So Is It Fun?
At the end of the day, the most important question to ask about the game is just that: is it fun, and would you like to play it again? In my case, yes, I do enjoy playing Thor: Son of Asgard. The voice acting is great, the story — albeit a touch rough — still makes sense as you follow along, so you want to continue your quest. There are also great cutscenes that are done using clips from a comic book, and even though those aren’t really Retina display optimized, you do get a sense for the rawness only present in a hand drawn image.
Long term, I think this is one that I’ll play a bit longer until I beat it, but I don’t see it having a ton of replay value. There’s only so much button mashing you can do before you overdose.
The Last Word(s)
I like Thor: Son of Asgard. There, I said it. I don’t love the game, but I can say that it’s worth it for its current price — free. When it goes back up to $2.99, I don’t know if I’d recommend it quite as highly. It’s fun, but there’s not so much fun in there that I want to pay $3 for it. But free? Definitely.