Maybe it was only my radar that this curveball flew under but either way the late SNK Playmore has graced us with an unexpected but totally appreciated version of its famed fighting franchise in The King of Fighters i. That’s i for iPhone and it’s up on the App Store today.
The fact that it’s for iOS isn’t the only odd thing about this KOFXIII port- it includes Billy Kane, who will be a console exclusive character come the game’s October release. Currently, he isn’t in the arcade version or anywhere else for that matter. The game is also strangely-fully-featured. It has wireless multiplayer, unlockable galleries and social network integration all for less than $10. Oh and it beat Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike Online Edition to the punch with on-screen mini challenges (perform 3 3-hit combos, etc.). Granted they were in the arcade version of The King of Fighters XIII first, but who here has actually had a chance to play that?
As for the game itself, it’s better than Street Fighter IV Volt, its only real iOS competition. I’m an SF4-devout so I think that says it all. The controls are better, the graphics are better and the framerate is smoother. This is the only iPhone fighter you need to play. If I had to find something odd about it it would be that Iori Yagami isn’t part of the game’s 14-character lineup. But if I had to guess, I’d say that he, along with Vice and Mature, and Kyo, Robert and Takuma will likely be the 6 free DLC characters promised us between now and October.
I’m scratching my head as to why The King of Fighters i wasn’t better publicised. Sure a game so adept deserved more press pre-release. Or, if treated solely as a marketing experiment, why wasn’t it released closer to the console release of KOFXIII later this year? I’m not complaining, however. If nothing else, this will be most folks’ foray into the world of KOFXIII, failing a nearby arcade with it or less reputable means. And before you mention that The King of Fighters XII has been widely available for a couple of years already, don’t go there. You don’t want to make me cry over how that game turned out all over again, do you?
To close, go and get The King of Fighters i- I couldn’t recommend it more.
Following on from my last post about the Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 port for iOS that was only revealed at the last minute before its actual release, I thought I’d put up some impressions.
Content-wise, the game is scant. You get the above characters, which is fine for a downloadable game, along with Ermac and Jade as unlockables. A good mix of MK3 stages are included and on top of the standard arcade mode, there’s ‘Shao Karnage’ which is basically a deal-the-most-damage-for-points stage against series boss Shao Kahn. I found the name a clever pun as well.
Gameplay is very similar to Street Fighter 4 for iOS in terms of controls. You get onscreen buttons for Punches and Kicks, as well as Run and Block and a dedicated Special Move button. Things get a bit cluttered there. AI is nothing to write home about; you can Ice Ball and uppercut as Sub-Zero all day long. Well timed uppercuts from a crouching position are all that’s needed to take down Motaro and Kahn too- they’re both in but unplayable as best I can tell.
What puzzles me is the 3D modelling here. You would think that a port of a 2D arcade game would involve the original spites and any recent iPhone is at least capable of that. Instead we get everything remade in 3D. Characters are redone, perfect in terms of frames and hitboxes as best I can tell and stages too are completely recreated with polygons too. The question is, why would anyone go to the trouble of what could easily have been a copy and paste emulation port?
I’m enjoying this mobile release as much as I can, but it’s really served to pique my curiosity as to why so much time and effort was needlessly invested in it. It’s only a hunch, but could it be the promised Mortal Kombat HD Arcade Kollection is not, in fact going to be re-shooting real actors for 2D sprites, as is currently thought, but rather going for an all out 3D approach? There is a 3D sticker on the leaked PS3 box shot so who knows…
So in my last piece of Mortal Kombat news for the minute, apparently Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 is coming to iOS with Street Fighter IV-esque controls, 11 fighters and the rumour of Goro and Shao Kahn as bosses. Sounds good, but if they DLC-ed it up to the Mortal Kombat Trilogy character count that’d be even better.
Let’s hope it plays half-decently when it comes out, apparently before Christmas.
UPDATE: Here are some screenshots and, correct me if I’m wrong, but don’t those look like 3D models and not the digital still sprites used in the original UMK3? Why would they bother going and remodelling everything instead of just using the original graphics? Surely modern iOS devices could handle it…