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Mortal Kombat X gameplay review

Posted: , posted by Victor H.

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Mortal Kombat X gameplay review

Developer: Warner Bros.Download: iOS 
Genre: Fighting/Card-game/RPGPrice: Free (with in-app purchases)

After months of teasers, trailers, and hopes Mortal Kombat X has finally arrived. On mobile, the game is first available on iOS, and it’s a free release with in-app purchases, developed by Warner Bros.

Not wasting any time, we started playing right away to gather impressions for a full-on gameplay review. One question nagged us all the time: will Mortal Kombat X quickly take over the place as the best fighting game for mobile?

This bothersome issue got resolved almost right away with a resounding answer.

Not really a fighting game


That answer is ‘no’.

Why? Simple, Mortal Kombat X is not a pure fighting game - instead it’s a combination of a card game with character building, and the fighting is reduced to the bare minimum of commands. Yes, you’re in for a disappointment, if you were expecting a true fighting game like the early Mortal Kombat editions.


There are multiple games on the App Store using the same model, so Mortal Kombat is by no means innovative. In fact, it is nearly identical to the earlier released WWE Immortals, however, instead of having wrestlers, you have the epic Mortal Kombat characters that we all like.

Tap, tap, tap, and then tap again: it’s just that


The fighting itself is reduced to the bare minimums: you cannot move your hero, you cannot jump, nor squat. All you do is tap, tap, tap.

Here is the full list of commands you have at your disposal:
  • tapping
  • blocking (hold two fingers on the screen)
  • special attacks (when the energy bar is full)
  • switching a player
  • using ally attack


That is it, folks. Forget about combos, and even the fatalities that we were promised in teasers happen once in a blue moon and do so nearly completely automatically, requiring you to just tap once on the screen. Yawn!

In-app purchases


Even when you win fights, after reaching a certain level, you have to wait for your heroes to ‘recharge’. The charge appears as a level bar at the bottom of a hero card.

At first, we saw the ‘recharge’ screen around level six when all our characters were depleted of energy, and the game asked us to wait for 6 minutes, while they recharge.


Don’t want to wait? You can, if you use the impossibly hard-to-get souls. It takes 3 souls to cut the wait for energy depletion of characters, but this is a hefty price - in the game, you get 3 souls only after passing each location. You SHOULD NOT use those souls to cut waiting times, if you want to have some hopes of unlocking a gold character (where really things get interesting).

These first waiting times should be a red flag urging you to buy more heroes (you can do so for a fairly low price). Developing two teams of 3-person squads is a good idea, so that you can switch between them and play without waiting times. It’s a clever idea to beat the in-app purchase system this way, and requires you to think, and that’s what makes us be not too annoyed with the in-app purchase model of the game.

However, when you get to the later stages of the game waiting times start to be a really huge annoyance, forcing you to go for in-app purchases. We're fine with spending a few dollars on a game, but in MKX waiting times are quite infuriating.

You also have two other types of resources in the game:
  • gold coins are your second most important resource that buys you silver characters and upgrades
  • silver coins are used for just one thing: random card purchases which are often extremely useful, and you should do this regularly

Unlocking characters: another in-app purchase-only affair


The waiting times were just one of the annoyances. The truly big annoyance - very obvious after you spend an hour or more with the game - is that it is practically impossible to unlock new characters (the mighty ‘gold’ ones, that is) without in-app purchases.

The cheapest gold character start at 200 souls (but you can work around it buy buying a card for 150 souls), and an hour or more of gameplay only allowed us to collect 24 souls (we did not spend a single soul on shortening waiting times).

Rough calculations shows that it will take you almost a full day of solid fighting to get to the ‘gold’ level. Well, that’s if you don’t want to pay extra. Luckily, the game is not impossible, and it’s not too hard to advance and slowly build your way towards that goal. Again, in-app purchases are an annoyance, but we’ve seen worse.

Conclusion


Mortal Kombat X on mobile is not at all like Mortal Kombat.

It has borrowed the name, but it’s not about fighting anymore - sure, this is technically still a fighting game, but the fight itself is dumbed down to the tedious tri-fecta of tapping, blocking and power moves. In-app purchases could also get annoying, but not terribly so.

Nonetheless, we did enjoy Mortal Kombat X for another reason - hero development. Yes, it’s hard to say, but this latest edition feels a lot like a role-playing game: you equip your heroes with items, spend coins to upgrade their skills, while the fighting kind of takes care of itself.

Overall, though, this is not the Mortal Kombat you've been waiting for. It’s just a different game. A fun one, but not something that lives up to the sky-high expectations.

Developer: Warner Bros.Download: iOS 
Genre: Fighting/Card-game/RPGPrice: Free (with in-app purchases)

Pros

  • Awesome graphics and flashy fighting moves
  • Fun character development scheme

Cons

  • In-app purchases result in loooong waiting times after about 2 hours of gameplay
  • Not actually a fighting game
  • Crashes occasionally

PhoneArena rating:
6  

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