Review: Avatar for iPad

You may have heard about a little movie called Avatar. You know the 3D flick about an evil corporation depleting the natural resources of a beautiful planet occupied by giant blue people with kittycat faces running around in loin clothes. It changed movie making and has spawned some crumby 3D movies since. Well, this game is not quite the same. It is about a different human guy turning on his own people after realizing how wrong they were. He also gets into the native culture and falls in love with it, yadda yadda yadda...

***WARNING*** This warning is specifically for those amongst you who experienced severe depression after seeing the movie.

For those of you who aren't familiar with this, there were stories about people who got lost in the movie and fell in love with the planet and lifestyle of the natives. After leaving the theatre, they realized how boring and mundane the real world was and fell into a state of massive depression. I know I joke a lot when I write, but I'm serious here. This actually happened to some people. I mean it is so ridiculous that it has to be true. They had a psychiatrist on the news discussing it and everything. Really, this actually happened to some adults.

Anyway, if you are one of those people please don't read this review. I don't want to be responsible for you spiraling into a tizzy again. By the way, if you have this problem, you shouldn't waste your time playing video games. Heck, you shouldn't even own an iPad. Spend your money on therapy instead.

General

With that out of the way, onto my review. The graphics are mediocre to good. No more. They aren't necessarily bad, they just didn't blow me away. They look square and lifeless at some points. Maybe it is visual greatness of the movie that makes you expect a little more from the game. It feels like they could have taken better advantage of what the iPad is capable of.

Needless to say, the native women don't look as attractive as they did in the movie. Don't even try to deny it. I know some of you wanted to emulate your hero Captain James T. Kirk and get all romantic with an alien humanoid with blue skin. Those slender-bodied, blue alien females wearing loin clothes would have driven the good Captain nutty.

This is an action adventure game. You have a storyline mission and several side missions on the way. There is a lot of melée fighting involved where you have to repeatedly smash the attack button to get through. Some might find this repetitive but not uncommon for this genre.

You get to use three different weapons, a staff, bow and arrow or guns. I like that you get all three relatively early in the game. You switch between them depending on your situation. This makes for nice attack strategy in the game. You also have some magic- type stuff at your disposal. A bar at the top of the screen gets filled up as you play. When it fills, it does stuff to help you, like refill your health, create a force field around you or knock down enemies.

You also get to ride creatures just like in the movie. You ride that horse-like creature. I found this boring. It doesn't seem to move fast, and attacking from it was weak. You also get to fly on one of those dragon things from the movie. This was done well and was fun to play. However, I feel they could have used the "dragon" more in the game.

You fight the local creatures. This includes the animals you see in the movie. You also become a traitor to your own people and fight them.

This game had, what I felt, were severe crashing issues. On some occasions, I couldn't even start up the game. I was going to give up and just give the game a horrible review. However, to their credit, Gameloft released an update that seems to have completely resolved the issue. I gave it another shot, and the game never crashed again. So if you have heard about crashing issues, no need to let that deter you. They seem to have fixed that.

Playability

I liked the controls a lot. In fact, they are the best iPad controls for a game I have seen so far. There is a virtual D-Pad on the left side of the screen. Your other controls like jump, attack and weapon selection are on the right side. Things are smooth and fun to use. You shouldn't have any trouble picking the game up and playing the game with a minor learning curve.

Hardcore gaming nerds might not like the auto-aiming in the game. Just ignore them and tell them to go back to their hardcore p.c. games. Nerds like this love to insult casual gamers.

Re-playability

The game's main storyline, while unoriginal, gives you quite a bit of mileage. Again, it will feel repetitive, but it does go on for a while giving you some value.

You can play at varying difficulty levels. This also extends game play, but it isn't the sort of game most would want to play through again.

Cons

  • Fun game
  • Great controls
  • Nice weapon selection
  • Attractive aliens in loin clothes

Cons

  • At best, mediocre graphics
  • Somewhat repetitive
  • Unoriginal storyline
  • May depress you again like the movie did if you are one of those people

Should You Buy?

The game costs $9.99. If you like action adventure games, you will like this game. If you are an Avatar junkie, you will like this game. Overall, the fun factor overrides the mediocre graphics. I do recommend it.

Rating: 3.5 (out 5)

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