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.


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)


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


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

PhoneArena rating:



1. vincelongman

Posts: 5724; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Oh dam, it is a free app with the annoying type IAPs I'll just get the PC version

2. MSLumiaMeLove

Posts: 4; Member since: Nov 01, 2014

You thought mobile version will suffice instead of a full-fledged PC game? LoL!

3. vincelongman

Posts: 5724; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Nope But I was hoping it be worth downloading I would had got both of them (if it was paid with no IAPs, or free with only ads) But not getting the mobile version now

16. Charlie_boy

Posts: 71; Member since: Jan 04, 2013

It's just the same as Injustice: Gods Among Us. Instead of DC characters, they used MK characters. Same engine, same gameplay, same card development from the same creator.

4. Trex95

Posts: 2383; Member since: Mar 03, 2013

Works and looks great on IPad Air 2.

12. cdm283813

Posts: 424; Member since: Jan 10, 2015

I played it on my iPad Air 2 also but ultimately it's just a tap, tap tap and swipe experience. It get boring real quick. Just the nature of this type of game.

14. Trex95

Posts: 2383; Member since: Mar 03, 2013

But the grapichs looks stunning on iPad Air 2 .

5. Scorpion67 unregistered


11. bucky

Posts: 3790; Member since: Sep 30, 2009

i second that.

6. theguy2345

Posts: 1216; Member since: Jun 24, 2014

Of course it wasn't going to be good. It is impossible to get that type of game with tons of combos onto mobile without destroying it. I'm just gonna wait six days and get it for Xbox one, one of the places it was meant to be played on.

7. twens

Posts: 1180; Member since: Feb 25, 2012

Can't wait to play this with gtx960 card on my Lenovo laptop

10. bucky

Posts: 3790; Member since: Sep 30, 2009

you may have trouble running this game with that card.

15. mrmessma

Posts: 271; Member since: Mar 28, 2012

It won't be maxed but it will play just fine on medium settings.

8. xperian

Posts: 420; Member since: Apr 10, 2014

Of course it isn't good. It's on mobile

9. Sauce5 unregistered

If anyone is jailbroken, you can instal LocalIAPstore from Cydia and get free IAPs endlessly. Also, PA, you should do a Vain Glory review! Def one of the best mobile games to date.

13. arch_angel

Posts: 1651; Member since: Feb 20, 2015

well its a free game so what did you expect. i wish they would spend some money on these games and make them cost like 5$ and add an on screen nob and buttons. NOVA 3 is a free shooter and its pretty fun, it also has a nob and buttons along with touch controls as well, the controls are really good i don't see why they couldn't do something like that with a fighting game.

17. LikeMyself

Posts: 631; Member since: Sep 23, 2013

I can confirm that MK Unchained(Deception) cso on PPSSPP weighing less than 400mb with HD graphics is way better than this imitation of a fighting game over 1GB!! How they fell so low to release such a game with only the graphics which is excellent? I guess mobile phones will never have a true fighting game, but good emulators are always there!

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