Gameloft brings us a Spider-Man experience that Activision hasn't delivered in a long time.
Taking place in the Ultimate Universe, Spider-Man makes its way into it's very first iOS based game. Spider-Man Total Mayhem brings the classic fast action combo system that is found in most of the Spider-Man games on the console as well as an upgrade system and achievement system that will have you going back trying to unlock all of the achievements once you are done with the game.
The combat is what makes or breaks a Spider-man game. Spider-Man has always been the acrobatic type to always pull off split second moves that end up saving his life. The Combat in SM is not rock solid but it is a great performer. The fighting and web attacks offer a different combination of attacks. Combat is all punching and as soon as an enemy is out Spidey will dash across the room and starts attacking another enemy. The web attacks offer a variety of different attacks. Spidey will either tangle his opponents in a web and either slam them to the ground or sling them across the room while taking out other enemies or if the enemy is too heavy spider-man will shoot his way into the enemy and do a combination of spinning kicks. The spider sense is an action that will appear only when Spidey has a split second decision to make and the attacks vary depending on the enemy. Combine all of these attacks the Spidey's opponents won't know what hit them.
Cutscene interactions have also been implemented into the game. Get it right and Spidey will take no damage. Get it wrong and he could get hurt. There are 2 ways to get the interactions wrong. Bad timing or bad touching. These split second decisions are also found throughout the game. If an enemy does a certain attack, Spider icons will appear on the screen that you must touch in order for Spidey to dodge those attacks. These icons will also appear if Spidey has fallen off a platform. If you get it right no damage will be dealt. If you get it wrong Spidey will lose some damage.
Throughout the game for every enemy defeated, civilian saved, items destroyed or just outside the level Spidey must collect red orbs in order to increase his strength, defense or special. Strength is the first upgrade I recommend you max out as enemies will get harder and tougher to deal with.
The graphics are decent for Total Mayhem. While they may not be the best, the game engine does handle many items in the background and will render them nicely. Slowdowns are expected but not as much as you'd think. Throughout the entire game I only had several slowdowns but they were gone the next second and gameplay didn't suffer.
What is really impressing about Spider-Man: Total Mayhem is the audio. The voice over is nicely done with almost no cheesy lines or sudden move swings. The only time the audio ever screws up is when Spidey is swinging but this only happens in cutscenes and towards the end of the game. The ending FMV though there is this female who thanks spider-man for his work that you have to ask yourself if she's a tranny or something. I'm pretty sure gameloft has some female workers in the office any one of the could have done a better job. Besides these few problems the audio is well done. The music score matches the situation perfectly and the audio effects keep you in the action.
What Spider-Man game is complete without collectibles. Throughout the game you will have to collect Art work that is scattered throughout the game which can be viewed through the gallery. Leave no rock unturned as the icons to collect these are hidden in areas you might not even think about looking. Be cautious though as moving forward could will slim your chances of finding collectibles as once you move forward you cannot go back as the game locks the previous section. Here's a tip while collecting art work: while sliding on a tube or something and you missed the icon you can always just let spider-man go down the ditch. Once Spidey Respawns, you can try again and collect the art work.
Towards the end of the level you will be ranked based on you performance and you will earn a trophy. On top of that you will also be able to see what achievements you have unlocked by meeting the required actions. At the end of it all you can always replay the level and try to collect anything that you may have missed and even aim for a better record. This adds a bit of replay value to those who are obsessed with 100%-ing the game .
With all the rights that Spider-Man: Total Mayhem gets there are a few wrongs I wish they would have changed or made it differently. Complain number 1 is fighting Rhyno early in the game and having no other means to defeat him other than dodge his attacks hoping he would hit the wall. This can be annoying and any new player to the game will not know what to do and will probably get frustrated very easily. Even if you do manage to get it right there is always the possibility that there will not be enough time to dodge his attacks. There are a total of 3 stages in the Rhyno boss level. The first stage Rhyno only charges at you once before hitting the wall. The second stage Rhyno will charge at you twice and the third stage he will charge at you 3 times. Until Rhyno is defeated you have to dodge all of his attacks which can deal a lot of damage. On top of that you must dodge his punches and hope he doesn't squeeze your lunch out of you.
Another problem with SMTM is the extras are placed while swinging which make it very difficult to get. They will either be in the middle of the air while swinging which once you land you can't go back. It will take practice and a quick eye to spot these extras before you collect them all. Also the Spidey/Picture sense is only available for a split second and only available when the stage boss is attacking. Getting to the icon is a challenge in itself as by the time you see it, it will already be too late. Wall climbing and swinging are also limited by the level. The only time Spidey will climb walls or swing is when the level calls for it. The icon for jumping is the same icon for swinging and pressing it twice will only give you a very shot swing. On top of that there are a few clipping issues as well as stiff animation. None of it which will affect gameplay but enough to hope that the update fixes these issues.
Spider-Man Total Mayhem is a complete spider-man game minus the full wall crawling and swinging. There are several issues but hopefully Gameloft will fix these with a minor update. There's a lot to do in Total Mayhem that will have you playing for hours. Once the game is complete you can go back and play as Black Suit Spider-Man which has a different combat combination. For $6.99 you are getting a complete Spider-man experience which leaves the door open to other great Spidey games in the near future.
Total Score: 82%