Batman: Arkham City has managed to eclipse its predecessor in virtually every way, earning the adoration of both critics and fans. Knowing that they have a bona fide hit on their hands (again), WB Games has decided to capitalize on the brand even further with Batman: Arkham City Lockdown for iOS, allowing you to play the Caped Crusader on your iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.
Arkham City Lockdown has been developed by the Mortal Kombat creators at Netherrealm Studios, and it shows in the game's shift towards a far more combat-oriented play style. Instead of gliding and grappling your way across the massive Arkham City skyline, you pick missions from an overhead map, which then drop you into the game proper: beating the hell out of criminals.
The controls for combat are simple, responsive, and effective. Various swipes on the screen unleash a flurry of blows, and timely taps are used for dodges and counters. In spite of thematic similarities (enemies still telegraph their strikes with lightning bolts over their heads), the combat feels far more deliberate—intentionally, I'm sure—than the free-flowing fisticuffs of its console counterpart.
Thankfully, the game offers a few diversions from the combat during its various boss battles. The iPhone's gyroscopic sensor is used to great effect in a few batarang-steering minigames, and the swiping your finger to dodge Solomon Grundy's swinging fists is fun, if a little frustrating.
If there's one major complaint to level against the game, it's the weird story space that it inhabits. The opening newscaster voiceover implies that Lockdown takes place prior to Arkham City, yet the appearance of the monstrous Solomon Grundy makes the later reveal of the hulking zombie in the console game strangely contradictory.
When it comes down to it, however, the strangeness of the story is an absolutely minimal complaint when the game is a fun, simple brawler that's fantastic for Bat-fans on the go.
Batman: Arkham City Lockdown is available on the iTunes App Store for $5.99.