‘Batman: Arkham Asylum’ and the equally impressive sequel ‘Arkham City,’ have vaulted the Caped Crusader to a force more powerful in gaming circles than the man in black himself.

The same weight seems to have carried over to his iOS counterpart ‘Batman: Arkham City Lockdown,’ even though it is noticeable slimmed down from its console predecessor. It offers just as of a gaming experience for the dark world of the Dark Knight, but it doesn’t last nearly as long or offer as much variety as the original.

Perhaps it’s a little unfair to judge a game by its memory size. After all, an iPhone app can’t possibly offer the same level of graphics, sounds and game play in a world as immense as the one on an XBox 360 or even a Playstation 3. It could, however, offer a little more variety.

The iOS version only real function has a game is as a fighter, which feels like it goes completely against what its console game counterpart strives to be. In terms of fighting alone, the player can go fist to face against up to 15 of any villain’s henchmen at one time, leading to a satisfying double strike and the even more rare triple strike. The app version just throws one bad guy at Batman at a time, each with a different weapon or ability.

It also sorely needs the stealth fighting modes featuring Batman sneaking through the dark to take out armed henchmen unnoticed with his endless supply of gadgets that made ‘Arkham Asylum’ and ‘Arkham City’  well-rounded and engaging games. It screams for it as loud as a kidney punched henchman in the darkness.

Those, however, are the only downsides to this very challenging iOS game. Even though you’re pitted against one baddie at a time, it manages to stretch the iPhone or iPads limits as a gaming device to its fullest potential as a controller free device. Punches and kicks are delivered via a series of well timed swipes and occasionally, a baddie will go into a rage mode that Batman can only defend himself from by dodging his wave of punches and kicks until he tires himself out.

Each section of the city also ends with a boss battle from Batman’s ever-growing enemies list — from Harvey Two-Face to The Joker, each featuring the same brilliant voice over work from the character’s original voice actors including Mark Hamill’s infamous take on The Joker. Each boss battle presents its own unique challenge and take more than a few tries to learn how to defeat them.

Batman also has a wide variety of weaponry at his disposal such as smoke pellets and his “Bat swarm” distraction as he’s throwing and landing punches. He can also switch between suits from his “Batman Beyond” suit to the original “Animated Series” look. These small touches gives the game some longer legs as the player drives to unlock more features long after they’ve defeated The Joker for the 50th time. It doesn’t allow you to switch between different heroes such as Batman’s sidekick Robin or the sultry anti-hero Catwoman, but it’s possible they could be part of a future update or add-on down the road.

Even if these tiny omissions were absent from the brilliant console counterparts, it would still be an ambitious start for any iOS game. It does a great job of filling in the story of how ‘Arkham City’ came to be and gives players who are longing for more long after they’ve completely competed the original game.

RATING: 8/10

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