Robocop: The Official Game Is A Bit Of A Clunker [Review]

robocop

Robocop: The Official Game by Glu Games
Category: iOS Games
Works With: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
Price: Free

As I’m guessing may be the case for a number of Cult of Mac readers of a certain age, the original 1987 Robocop was a formative movie for me. It was violent, full of memorable moments and quotes — and bitingly funny to boot.

When a remake was announced back in the early noughties I didn’t immediately dismiss it, however. After all, if the original was far-flung sci-fi, we now lived in a world populated by ultra-powerful tech companies, predictive policing, and drone strikes. Pitched right, the new Robocop could be an ultraviolent parody for the digital age: something akin to Evgeny Morozov with 9mm handguns.

Sadly, like so many Hollywood rehashes of movies we loved as children and teenagers, the new Robocop movie seems to have fallen short of its promise: with trailers and pre-release reports painting a blandified picture of generic PG-13 action, with none of the charm of the original.

Why mention this in a review of the movie’s official game tie-in?

Robocop: The Official Game features a bunch of features, but none that make it actually fun.

Robocop: The Official Game features a bunch of features, but none that make it actually fun.

A derivative Time Crisis-style shooter….

Because much the same can be said about Glu Mobile’s adaptive effort — which winds up being a lazy, formulaic cash-in, with very little to recommend it. Basically it’s a reskin of the developer’s Frontline Commando game — only with the action taken out of that title’s memorable D-Day setting and thrown into a futuristic urban one.

Imagine a derivative Time Crisis-style shooter for your iDevice — but with none of the thrill of the arcade experience. Missions are, on the whole, short, repetitive and unchallenging. Dispatching enemies is done by aiming a target vaguely in their direction and then waiting for the auto-firing gun to finish them off. There’s destructable terrain, a range of environments and enemies, the option of incorporating slo-mo and drone attacks, and a decent selection of guns to purchase — but none of it really feels like it matters, or is nearly as exciting as it sounds.

Despite the fact that this game is newer than Frontline Commando it looks and sounds worse — and there is absolutely nothing here that you can’t find better and more enjoyably implemented in dozens of other iOS games. It’s a real shame because, as noted, Robocop is a franchise full of potential that is very close to our hearts.

Undemanding players will likely get a diverting twenty minutes or so of gameplay, but there is no doubt that at the end of the day this is a sad example of yet another squandered movie license.

Hey, at least it’s free to download though.

robocoptitleGame Name: Robocop: The Official Game
The Good: Arcade fun in small doses; the graphics are decent.
The Bad: Far too easy; a disappointing waste of a good license.
The Verdict: Watch the original movie on Blu-Ray. Just a bit disappointing, really.
Buy from: App Store

Cult of Mac rating: 2/5

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About the author

Luke DormehlLuke Dormehl is a UK-based journalist and author, with a background working in documentary film for Channel 4 and the BBC. He is the author of The Formula: How Algorithms Solve All Our Problems, And Create More and The Apple Revolution, both published by Penguin/Random House. His tech writing has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, Techmeme, and other publications. He'd like you a lot if you followed him on Twitter.

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