Published on June 22nd, 2013 | by octaneblue1
Review: Justice League: Earth’s Final Defense
System(s): Android, iOS
Release Date: August 1, 2012 (iOS), October 10, 2012 (Android)
Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, The Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg — these seven prolific heroes form the current incarnation of the Justice League. In Justice League: Earth’s Final Defense, a beat-’em-up title for mobile platforms, you play as member of the League and fight against villains including Ares, Lex Luthor, and The Joker, as well as their followers.
This might sound like an intriguing premise, but once you dive into the game, it becomes clear that it’s a rather frustrating experience and ultimately it’s not worth buying.
First off, the character select screen only has Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman available; Green Lantern and The Flash must be unlocked (more on that later), but Aquaman and Cyborg are not playable at all. That’s a shame, since the two appear in the game’s art as part of the team.
Each character has their own play styles that make use of their abilities. For instance, Superman is all about power attacks, while Batman utilizes martial arts and his gadgets. The special moves can be used only a certain amount of times, indicated by a meter. And you can’t spam those attacks either, because there’s a small timer that appears after using one. The controls are simple enough, but actually playing the game is a whole other story. The virtual control stick isn’t always accurate, leaving you wide open as you miss enemies with attacks.
The game features some really frustrating moments too. One of the worst enemies to encounter in beat-’em-up titles are those with guns. They can shoot you from far away, and, without resorting to certain special moves that characters have, you often have to get in close to attack. And while you’re moving in, they’re spamming shots at you, quickly draining your health. What really makes this game frustrating are the bosses. For instance, the first boss, Ares, hits incredibly hard. And not only that, he has a grab that interrupts whatever combo you’re in (and he doesn’t flinch much, by the way), and slams you down for heavy damage. Simply put, the bosses have a gigantic advantage over you, and when they quickly defeat you with cheap tactics, it gets old fast. Because of this, you would think the bosses were programmed by a member of the Legion of Doom itself. You can take their hits better by leveling up your characters up by a bit, but it takes quite a bit of grinding.
As previously noted, Green Lantern and The Flash are locked from the start. They must be unlocked through points accumulated as you play, but this process can get pretty lengthy. It’s already frustrating enough to get through parts of this game, so it will require patience to unlock them. Also available are support cards that feature members or allies of the Justice League in its past and/or current incarnations, including Hawkgirl, Firestorm, and Robin. Up to three of these can be equipped to alter the stats of your active character. And a really neat feature in the game are the alternate costumes. All 5 playable characters have multiple costume that all have different stats. Costumes include a Batman Beyond skin for Batman, a Red Son skin for Superman, Wonder Woman’s leather jacket look, and civilian clothes for Green Lantern and The Flash. These are unlocked with points earned by going through the game, the same ones used for unlocking the latter two characters. And if you want to unlock them all, it will take a lot of grinding. You can opt to purchase points via micro-transactions with real money, but this is really not recommended. You do not get your money’s worth by doing that at all.
The graphics of the game are decent, but not great; there are certainly better-looking mobile titles out there. The art in the game’s menus are fantastic, though. The music is just… there – it’s not terrible, but it’s not memorable at all. It’s decently fitting, at the very least. The game includes five worlds with five levels each. This is certainly a lengthy title, lasting a few hours, but given all of its gameplay flaws, it may not be an adventure worth going all the way through.
The Justice League deserves better than Justice League: Earth’s Final Defense. The game has a few nice features, but all of them are ultimately bogged down by a frustrating and unmemorable experience. The game may not be pricey at all (99 cents), but even so, it’s just not worth it. Avoid this one.
+ Nice in-game art
+ Alternate costumes for each character
+ Relatively inexpensive
– Frustrating combat
– Very grind-heavy
– Expensive micro-transactions
Final Score: 2.25 out of 5