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Uncanny X-Men: Days of Future Past for iOS Review: An Action Romp With Fan Service

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With the release of the film X-Men: Days of Future Past, it’s no wonder that we’ve seen the release of a Days of Future Past themed game on iOS. This is not an official movie license, however, but instead a Marvel-licensed adaptation of the original Uncanny X-Men: Days of Future Past. I’m glad it’s not a movie adaptation, because it means that Uncanny X-Men: Days of Future Past is a solid action game that tickles the nostalgia bone for X-Men fans.

This game has all the sensibilities of a 16-bit platformer. In fact, it reminds me of the X-Men games on the Sega Genesis, and especially X-Men 2: Clone Wars. I used to spend hours with that game as a kid, so it was easy for me to ease into UXM:DFP. You begin the game as Wolverine in a dystopian future where Sentinals hunt down mutants for incarceration or extermination. You must fight your way through each level as you launch a desperate plan to send Kitty Pryde back into the past (our present day) to change the future and save the world. There are 23 levels which assure you at least a few hours of content even if you only play through once.

The levels themselves are actually one of the weaker elements of the game. They are all themed on the plot, which means we get past and future settings, and they’re appropriately flavored. However, though each level is sufficiently lengthy and well-paced, none of them really stand out. There’s always something to punch, and there are hidden nooks and crannies with canisters and “lore” to collect; but there’s no denying that the levels themselves tend to be a little uninspired and lacking in high challenge. It shouldn’t be too difficult to complete each one your first time through.

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Playing the game is bolstered by the X-Men license, which adds needed flavor to every level. There’s just something about playing Wolverine that’s cool! If you’re a fan of the comic books, especially a longtime fan, there will be plenty of little things here for you to notice and enjoy. Familiarity with the original story is a bonus, but not a necessity.

You are offered several characters to play, including Wolverine, Kitty Pryde, Colossus, Scarlet Witch, and Cyclops (more are apparently coming in the future).¬†There’s an XP and upgrading system that’s pretty standard nowadays, allowing you to unlock powers and alternate costumes for each. Happily, it’s unburdened by annoying IAP purchases (something I’m sure we’d get if this were a movie tie-in game).I maxed out¬†Kitty Pryde first, who I feel is the all-around best character, mainly because of her speed relative to characters like Wolverine and Colossus (that, and the fact that she can upgrade to get Lockheed the dragon). YMMV, as I freely admit to being a Kitty Pryde fangirl.

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My biggest complaint with UXM:DFP is the control scheme. The default control scheme is just annoyingly awkward, especially on the larger iPad screen. It has a L/R movement slider (Why?!), a fixed combat button on which you must perform somewhat accurate slide gestures to activate special powers, and a separate jump button. The first thing I recommend you do is switch out to the alternative control scheme, which replaces the fixed controls with a floating virtual stick and less precisely defined tap-and-swipe area for actions with swipe-up to jump. It’s still not the best controls I’ve used in a game, but it’s a step up, especially on the iPad.

Uncanny X-Men: Days of Future Past is not going to impress you the way Infinity Blade does, nor engage you the way Oceanhorn does. But it will offer you a serviceable platform experience loaded with X-Men flavor that should leave comic book fans smiling.

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5.


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