TRON: Legacy iPhone game’s play is based on movie’s vehicles

Dec 27, 2010
Games

Rather than emulate the various console games linked to TRON: Legacy, Disney Interactive’s iPhone game, linked to its TRON sequel, puts you in the driver’s seat of a pair of vehicles from the film’s world. While driving those vehicles, the iconic light cycle and the offensively capable recognizer, is competent, it’s not exactly fun, and […]

Rather than emulate the various console games linked to TRON: Legacy, Disney Interactive’s iPhone game, linked to its TRON sequel, puts you in the driver’s seat of a pair of vehicles from the film’s world. While driving those vehicles, the iconic light cycle and the offensively capable recognizer, is competent, it’s not exactly fun, and the game is pretty derivative of other entries into the industry.

TRON: Legacy has you playing through a tournament of two kinds of events: light cycle races and recognizer attack runs. Both halves of the game use tilting your iOS device to control the vehicle, and touch controls run functions like gas and brake on the light cycle and firing the recognizer’s guns.

You’ll play through far more races than recognizer events, which are on-rails shooting portions that require you to blast turrets and tanks by tilting your iPhone to aim. Completing events earns you points to advance to the next set of events, but they’re all generally the same: Races can range from one to four competitors, and usually require you to run several laps on a track, while recognizer events are always the same, but with different landscapes.

Overall, neither event really shines. Races are decent, but if you fall behind, don’t ever expect to catch up to your opponents. The game also handles almost exactly like the latest edition of Nintendo’s Mario Kart series on the Wii — as you race, you’ll snag item boxes that give you special powers, but they aren’t particularly useful. The recognizer events have even less going on. Aiming and shooting are all you’ll do, and the only way you’ll place in the events is to pick your shots and avoid firing lots of shots and missing often.

TRON also includes a head-to-head online multi-player mode in which you can race light cycles against other players, and if there’s a situation in which the races are actually fun, this is it. Limiting the app to just head-to-head play keeps the races from being too terribly intense, however; it works, but if you know a track at all, you can pretty easily dominate — and get dominated in the reverse situation.

For a dollar, TRON does some things very well. It looks good, it includes audio tracks from Daft Punk that were featured in the film, and it utilizes some well-conceived controls. But TRON isn’t exactly original, and not terribly exciting. It’s hard to be any good at the game, and there’s not much that will keep you coming back when you’re bored. Still, it’s hard to complain at this price.

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Phil Hornshaw

Phil Hornshaw is a freelance writer, editor and author living in Los Angeles, dividing his time between playing video games, playing video games on his cell phone, and writing about playing video games. He’s also the co-author of So You Created a Wormhole: The Time Traveler’s Guide to Time Travel, which attempts to mix time travel pop culture with some semblance of science, as well as tips on the appropriate means of riding dinosaurs. Check out his profile.

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