Thor: The Dark World - The Official Game Review
- Visuals are decent enough.
- A hefty chunck of content with lots of upgrade bars to fill.
- Combat is shallow and boring.
- Movement controls are laggy and unreliable.
- Health is scarce, and IAP refills are expensive.
- Has three virtual currencies.
Visually noisy and mechanically unreliable, Thor: The Dark World is a confused free-to-play hack-'em-up which reduces its lead character to a club-footed spectator.
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Thor is one of the more straightforward superheroes in Marvel's expansive catalogue. Son of Odin, the allfather and ruler of of Asgard, Thor has no alter-ego or mysterious origin story. He's a god, who comes from a realm of gods, and who likes to hit things with a big hammer.
However, Gameloft's free-to-play brawler Thor: The Dark World - The Official Game is anything but straightforward. In this messy top-down smash-'em-up, our hero's combat prowess is sidelined in favour of managing suicidal support troops and bashing inanimate crystals.
You see, Thor does not face the hordes of Jotuns and Dark Elves alone. In most of the game's short missions, he is accompanied by a customisable squad of Asgardian warriors. As well as bringing the hammer down on your foes personally, you can summon these support troops at intervals to lay into the enemy.
There are seven types of warrior, including archers and lance wielders. Before each battle you can choose which class of unit you want to back you up. You can also select a hero to watch your back, though these units have cooldown periods.
What this mean in practical terms is that there's often a lot of characters onscreen at any one time, all of who automatically go tearing towards one another with a flagrant disregard for tactical naunce and self-preservation. While you can order your troops to regroup every minute or so - they spawn at the beginning of every stage and have to charge through the level to catch-up - you cannot micromanage their attacks.
However, though it is frustrating to see allies barrelling mindlessly though fire traps because they refuse to wait for you to deactivate them, you have enough trouble getting Thor to do what he's told without worrying about rallying the troops.
The context sensitive control scheme - which has tapping on enemies and terrain to move and attack - is laggy and woefully unrefined. Attempt to attack the crystals which power doors and traps, and Thor will inevitably position himself of the side of the crystal which is being scorched with flame. And, as there are no combos to learn, scuffles are visually incoherent dogpiles powered by frantic, directionless tapping.
Plus, as you cannot block and health potions are ludicrously expensive, melee combat is often preclusively dangerous to engage in. To complete levels without dropping coin on one of the game's three currencies - yes, Thor: The Dark World has three virtual currencies - we found the best tactic was to let our Asgardian grunts handle most of the hand-to-hand, while Thor stood on the edge of the fight lobbing his hammer and launching the odd lightning attack.
Though this fighting style proved fairly effective, is was neither fun nor empowering, and left us with little desire to return to the field of battle.
You can upgrade everything - weapons, costumes, support troops - but the upgrades are cynically overpriced. Worst of all, they do nothing to remedy the game's awkward controls and confused combat, leaving Thor: The Dark World an unworthy addition to mythology of its namesake.
DescriptionBecome Thor, the mighty God of Thunder, in this official action-adventure game!
Malekith, the lord of the Dark Elves and ancient enemy of Asgard, leads an invasion to destroy the Nine Worlds! Thor must race to stop the Dark Elves from plunging the universe into darkness! Join forces with Asgard’s greatest warriors and embark on an epic quest to stop Malekith’s dark ambitions and restore order to the Nine Worlds.
HEROES OF ASGARD
- Train and fight alongside legendary Asgardians such as Sif, Heimdall and the Warriors Three.
- Summon 7 types of Einherjar, valiant Asgardian warriors, to help you tactically bring down foes.
- Upgrade and unleash your allies’ unique abilities, such as teleportation and healing.
DANGER THROUGHOUT THE WORLD TREE
- Complete 90 fast-paced missions, each with different challenges and goals.
- Traverse the Realms that are under siege by the Marauders and Dark Elves, and free them with your Allies.
- Face down an unrelenting onslaught of Jotuns, Marauders, Rock Giants, Dark Elves, and more.
PREPARE FOR BATTLE
- Unlock and upgrade 10 powerful hammers and armor sets for Thor.
- Learn new devastating special skills for Thor and then decide which to upgrade and equip for battle.
CONQUER THE ARENAS
- Battle waves of increasing difficulty that pit you against Malekith’s armies in our 4 Survival Arenas.
- Compete for the top spots on the weekly leaderboard for unique rewards.
- If you can’t beat the world, you can defeat your friends: Reach the top spots on the Friends leaderboard for greater rewards!
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