Verticus Review: Stan Lee’s Enjoyable Take on the Endless Run Genre
|App Name:||Stan Lee's Verticus|
|Release Date:||November 15, 2012|
Stan “The Man” Lee, creator of Spider-Man, the X-Men, and the Avengers, has himself become something of a comic book character over the years. So when I saw his name on the newly released Stan Lee’s Verticus, I knew I had to check it out. I wasn’t disappointed … in the Stan Lee part, at least. Lee not only put his name on this game, but his characteristic voiceovers really help set the comic book tone for Verticus, which is otherwise a pretty straightforward endless falling game.
In Verticus, you play the titular hero, a man in a futuristic suit of tech that protects you as you fall through the Earth’s atmosphere, into the core, and then back out. Your goal is to remove a giant bomb from the Earth’s center and fling it out into space before it explodes. Can you make it in time?
In terms of play, it’s about as one-dimensional and repetitious as Temple Run, though there’s a freedom of movement and (nominal) end to the game that the famous runner lacked. You control Verticus by sliding your thumb around a virtual joystick in the corner of the screen, sending Verticus this way and that, avoiding bombs and collecting coins. If you’ve upgraded your suit and weapons, there’s also a tap button for missiles. You careen ever downwards, dodging and collecting, the path before you getting increasingly hazardous as you go.
Eventually you make it to the Earth’s core, where you must dodge a nasty Boss. Then you must carry the bomb back up the increasingly hazardous path and into space. If you’re lucky, you make it there, release the bomb … and drop again to make a second go at another bomb.
Like Temple Run, this is fun, but not so much a game of strategy as of reflexes. It’s actually a little harder in Verticus, since the camera is almost exactly behind the hero, and thus his body, or approaching objects, can obscure the things behind them until it’s too late to dodge. This can get frustrating, as a good run can come to a sudden end because something appeared too quickly.
Never fear, though! You can always continue … at the cost of some orbs, one of two in-game currencies. And of course, these orbs are finite in the game, and of course they can be gotten as IAP. Essentially, in order to continue in this game, you need to spend orbs, and each time you die the cost to continue gets more and more expensive. You collect some orbs as you fall, but not nearly enough to keep paying to continue if you fail more than once or twice. There will come a point where, if you want to “beat” the game, you will feel compelled to buy some.
This wouldn’t annoy me too much, except that these orbs are also the only currency with which you can repair your armor! If you don’t spend orbs between games to repair, you go into the next game with no armor, and that means dying sooner, and that means spending more orbs, which means needing more IAP currency. IAP currency is almost vital to winning the game.
I know, IAP is the model of iOS gaming. But Verticus falls too far on the side of IAP being necessary to play. This isn’t a freemium game; I shouldn’t feel so compelled to purchase IAP to succeed.
Verticus is an enjoyable enough take on the Temple Run style endless run genre, one that shines in part because of the comic book attitude of Stan Lee. It’s too bad that the game itself is only good, not great, and that the IAP currency is such a driver of success. Still, I hope Stan Lee lends his presence to more iOS games in the future; because he certainly elevated Verticus.
Our Score: 3.5 out of 5
Today's Best Free Apps
Do you know that dozens of highly rated paid apps briefly go free every week? Discover the best of daily free apps on our Best Free Apps page.