Big brand names are starting to become commonplace in the App Store, but adapting home console games for the mobile arena presents challenges, on both a technical and gameplay level.
Different developers have chosen different methods to face this conversion challenge. From identical ports such as BioShock and Skylanders trap time to complete redesigns such as Sim City, the results of bringing well-known games to the small screen have mixed success.
Enter then WWE 2k; the first mobile entry from the popular wrestling franchise by 2K Games.
The first thing to note is that it isn’t a complete conversion of the popular console version of the game, which has already been through several iterations, but rather a re-imagining for the mobile marketplace, although it does share many similarities with its large screen cousin.
The presentation of the game very much follows the lead of the other games in the WWE 2K series with large colourful recognisable characters, detailed superstar entrances and dynamic camera angles. Looking at still screen shots it would be easy to assume they were captured on an Xbox.
To tackle the mobile control challenge, a mobile specific control system has been introduced. There are no virtual control pads here. To move towards your opponent simply touch on him, when you are close to him you tap the screen to strike or pinch to start the simple swipe based grapple system, it’s also possible to perform offensive moves using the ropes and turnbuckle by using swipes.
It’s a good control system that whilst takes a while to get used to, and allows intuitive interactivity whilst doing a good job of hiding the fact that you don’t actually have total control over the directional movement of your character.
A version of the popular career mode is available and allows you to guide your chosen superstar or created character through a career with set goals and challenges for you to achieve. It’s this mode which provides some long-term interest to the game.
A multi-player mode is included but as of writing it has yet to work for me, and constantly drops out before the game starts, much to my frustration.
In order to squeeze the game onto a mobile device a number of compromises have been made. Whilst an impressive number of characters remain there is nothing like the offering of combatants found on the console version, the number of moves have also been reduced to a handful of strikes and grapples. There are also times where the normally fluid animation looks a little odd as blending animations have been stripped down.
Unlike other wrestling games, all matches are 1 Vs 1. There are no tag team matches included which is a bit of a loss, but cage and no DQ match types have survived the mobile transition to offer some variety. The inclusion of a create a wrestler mode is a nice touch but it is massively cut down in comparison to the home console versions.
Despite the restrictions on the mobile version of WWE 2K, it still offers a solid on-the-go wrestling game for fans of the genre.
The biggest problem 2K Games will face is the expectations of the audience who will be expecting a mobile version of the WWE 2K15 console game.
Ultimately this is the first mobile version of the franchise and provides a solid base to build on in future versions of the engine, now if they can just get the multiplayer working…