Yesterday, WB Games released the iPhone version of Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3. It's a remake of the original Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 (which was somewhat of a remixed and improved version of the original Mortal Kombat 3). This game is rendered in 3D rather than using 2D digitized sprites that made up the graphics of the original games. No doubt, this is going to be one of the most popular iPhone games of the week.
The Updated Version
The polygonal graphics aren't the only update to the game, it's been revamped for iOS in order to make certain elements function better. For instance, the controls. Let us say that we often (more often that we'd like) criticize controls in iOS games that try to recreate traditional joysticks and button layouts. Why? It usually doesn't work. Combine those kinds of controls with a fighting game like Mortal Kombat, where timing and accuracy mean everything, you can have a very frustrating experience.
People with fat thumbs may want to play on an iPad, because that iPhone is going to give them hell for those attack buttons. Luckily, one of the most awesome things this game does involves those buttons: You can totally customize their layout. You can place any of those buttons anywhere on the screen you so choose.
They also tried to compensate by adding an "S" button for special attacks. Rather than having to use some sort of button sequence to throw a projectile weapon, you can simply hit the "S" button. This can also help you accomplish finishing moves much more easily, which with the gallons of blood, have always been the game's main attraction.
Very Little Improvement Overall
Unfortunately, UMK3 is not as timeless as say, Street Fighter II, which despite its age, still holds up as a solid fighter. While opinions vary, and yours may be different, Mortal Kombat always felt like the inferior game as far as fighting mechanics went. What kept us coming back was the ability to rip the other guy's head off.
The onscreen buttons are totally customizable, which makes for a great gameplay option. Aside from the visual update, it feels true to the original and fans will appreciate that. The addition of the "S" button makes those controls more tolerable.
Fighting system feels very dated. If you aren't already a Mortal Kombat mega-fan, there's nothing here for you. The controls, despite their customizability and the developer's best efforts to accommodate the player (which was an excellent design choice), are still frustrating in a game that requires the quicker, more precise action of a fighter.
While this may be something that a die-hard fan of the series will love, we don't see it reaching far beyond that crowd. There are plenty of other games out there that are currently available at much better prices (such as those that make up EA's 99-cent sale for the holidays). We say pass.
You may want to check out some of our choices for best iPhone games of 2010 though.
2 stars out of 5