So, rather than groan and agonise and throw our eyes at the ceiling now that another movie tie-in game has landed in our universe, let's approach this game of the latest X-Men film from a slightly different angle.
It's well worth noting that this movie tie-in is brought to us by the team behind the excellent, hilarious, and Gold Award-winning He-Man: The Most Powerful Game in the Universe.
So, yes, we know the studio has pulled off that most difficult of tasks successfully in the past, i.e. adapting a film / TV franchise into a decent game. If anyone can do it again in the future, then, it's GlitchSoft.It's got claws
Going down the 16-bit-style platformer game route worked so well with He-Man that this road was a natural choice for Uncanny X-Men: Days of Future Past.
GlitchSoft has also taken the wise decision to lean more toward the original Marvel comic books in terms of styling, rather than plastering Hugh Jackman all over the place. Nothing against Hugh, but it'd be just fine if he got lost for a while right now.
So, you're eventually dropped into a contemporary yet classical side-scrolling platformer, with a dose of fighting DNA spliced in (we'll elaborate on that suspicious 'eventually' in a minute).
Left and right on-screen buttons transport you around, with a 'jump' button present for some additional height. Never a popular choice, sure, but the buttons are intelligent enough to usually figure out which one you were aiming for.
Combat is quite clever, though. At least, for the button mashing crowd. You use a single 'X' button to attack. Rather uniquely, though, it allows you to tap the sides of the button for a special move or to swipe across it for even more impressive combo attacks.
So, what begins as a boring button masher evolves quite quickly into a great workaround of the virtual button limitations. Incorporating gestures into button presses is something more developers should look into, because it works.
Back to the future past
One thought that keeps cropping up is whether we'd appreciate this game if it were unbranded. The X-Men themselves bring a lot of clout wherever they go. Beneath the comic book character visuals, though, the game wears a little thin.
For one thing, it continually seems to be loading. Every time you go through a door or out of a building, it's loading again. This breaks the momentum on a regular basis, but no more so than the long, slow floaty physics of the jumping mechanism. Jump, and you find yourself hanging in the air way too long, with the enemy you were chasing long gone by the time you actually get there.
Uncanny X-Men: Days of Future Past can't afford this frustration, as it's only just clinging onto its entertainment value at the best of times. That said, anyone who can persevere long enough to get into the storyline (based on the popular Sentinel Uprising legacy - just like the movie) will likely find it within her heart to forgive the game's pace problems and focus more on its action.
For a film / franchise tie-in, Uncanny X-Men: Days of Future Past is a success. For a standalone platformer, stripped of Wolverine's coolness, it rates at about average. Given that it's a huge half-gig download, this makes it one primarily for ardent X-Men fans.