WWE 2K Review (iOS)
It's easy to appreciate a game that knows its platform. Too often we get up-scaled or down-sized titles that fail to take advantage of the system they are on (see last gen Wii games).
To its credit, WWE 2K on iOS knows what works and doesn't work on a mobile device. In the long run, it's limiting for hardcore wrestling fans, but what little it does, it does well.
This game takes the basics of professional wrestling and dilutes them enough to work on even a very small screen. Strikes are done by tapping anywhere. Grapples are initiated with a "pinch." Even movement, which can be the bane of iPhone action games, is smoothly reduced to swipes and a lock-on target system. For me, it all works well enough, again considering the platform.
Of course, some things are left out. There are no refs, no matches that involve more than two wrestlers, and you can't leave the ring. And with the reduction in controls, gameplay can sometimes feel a little repetitive: punch, elbow drop, rinse, and repeat. Of course, you can make similar claims with the big budget console titles.
Looking at the core gameplay, however, I was impressed. It's simple, smooth, makes sense, and fits the limitations/strengths of the system.
Graphically, WWE 2K doesn't look bad either. There are plenty of instances of full motion video, especially in the entrances. The wrestlers, of which there are approximately 20, look like themselves. The crowd -- something not entirely necessary -- provides decent atmosphere.
Audio is good too, though there is no announcer. Sound effects and music, including lots of clips of signature tunes, are about what you'd expect.
Looking at signature matches, you have standard, cage, and no disqualification. It's enough to give you decent variety, but adding a few more wouldn't hurt. Even an arcade-like survival mode would help round things out.
Surprisingly, there is a career mode as well, though it's not as deep as one would hope. It's essentially a long ladder for your created wrestler; each victory earns you stat boosts and unlocks new cosmetic equipment. There's not much more to it, and it can start too feel like a grind with the lack of meaningful choices.
Speaking of created wrestlers, this is perhaps the most limiting part of the game. You start with three body types and customize from there, using a menu of choices at each step. It's a functional but extremely finite way to handle a create-a-player mode on the iPhone/iPad.
I was pleasantly surprised with WWE 2K. It's not especially deep, and really only fun in short bursts. However, it does fill a niche on my mobile devices, and does so very elegantly. It's an extremely polished and user-friendly mobile wrestling game.
Would this title be full price on the Vita or other handheld gaming device, you might expect at bit more. But at $7.99 on a mobile platform, I think WWE 2K is worth picking up.