Since its release in April 2015, I played Mortal Kombat X on my iPad 4, which is the mobile version of the fighting game on PlayStation, XBOX, and PC. With the help of Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, NetherRealm Studios, the direct successor to Midway Games, designed the tenth main installment of the renowned Mortal Kombat series. I personally played Mortal Kombat, Mortal Kombat II, and Mortal Kombat Deception on the original XBOX. I have been a fan of Mortal Kombat since 2011 when I played the 2004 Mortal Kombat Deception. As you can see, I am usually super late to video games. In terms of MKX, I followed the game prior to its release, and I have put in around one hundred hours into this mobile version of the game.
In my review, I will rate the game’s four aspects, story, gameplay, graphics, and player experience, out of ten points. One point means total failure while ten points is absolutely mind blowing, and average is six points. Please note, this mobile game is one of the few games worth playing on the iPad 4, so I view this game highly in comparison to the rest.
This stripped down version of MKX focused on collecting Kombatant cards, which are used for fighting 3v3 combat or 3v1 combat against a solo boss. Each Kombatant has three unique cards that boost health, attack, and energy stats while three classes of equipment cards can augment Kombatants with unique stats.
Story – 6
In the mobile version of Mortal Kombat X, there was no story. The game featured a challenge mode, a battle mode, and a multiplayer mode. The battle mode substituted as a story mode. In each fight with the player’s Kombatants and the AI’s Kombatant(s). The backgrounds mirrored the story of the console/PC version of the game.
Overall, the story appeared fairly non-existent, so I gave an average rating.
Gameplay – 7
On a touchscreen, the game was obviously bland. Outside of Kombat, the game primarily focused on collecting Kombatant cards, such as Sub-Zero, Scorpion, Sonya Blade, Kenshi, Johnny Cage, Kitana, and others. There are different versions of each card, such as “Cyromancer” Sub-Zero or “Grandmaster” Sub-Zero. Kombatant cards have tiers, such as bronze, silver, gold, and diamond, where gold is the highest among regular cards, but diamond is the new updated card tier, which can only be attained through card pack openings. There is no trading market for players, so it’s all about grinding through towers in Battle Mode and Multiplayer or spending real money to buy “Souls” (that look like green coins) to open more card packs.
Single touch to attack, two fingers held down to block, and swipe for some specials and completing combos. The Kombat is essentially screen mashing with some cautious tactics. With every match or duel, the player has the option of rotating out a Kombatant to regenerate health out of combat, which has a timer for every substitution. Each Kombatant has three specials depending on whether the Kombatant is at a certain level and at a certain amount of energy. The gold tier Kombatants featured a signature x-ray move on the third bar of power.
The gameplay seemed slightly above average.
Graphics – 6
With the Unreal Engine, the graphics looked excellent as it squeezed every drop of power from the mobile GPU. The gameplay worked smoothly, and the effects were simplistic due to the iPad 4’s processing power limitations. The Kombatant card art reflected the true greatness of the Kombatant in 2D while the in-Kombat render looked like an obvious downgrade from console or PC level graphics.
The average graphics lived up to expectations.
Player Experience – 7
The mobile version of MKX surprised me with its detail and the responsiveness of its developer. Mobile games usually have poorer experiences in comparison to the full version of the same game. The game is patched on a consistent basis for any bugs fixes and performance enhancements. The developers update the game regularly to have more content for the players. For example, the “Day of the Dead” special edition card of Kitana, rolled out for the Dia de la Muerte holiday. The developer released a variety of special edition cards, such as “Kold War” Sonya Blade, “Ronin” Kenshi, “Dark” Raiden, “Dark Empress” Kitana, “Undead Hunter” Johnny Cage, and “Klassic” Kano. I have only mentioned around half of what NetherRealm’s mobile development team released in special Challenge mode events.
The dedication of the developers showed their commitment to keep people playing on mobile. The last large update involved the entrance of the Elite Pack, which featured a chance to pull a Kombatant of the Diamond tier. Diamond tier represented the new high of Kombatant quality. I bought one or two of these Elite Packs and failed to pull a Diamond tier Kombatant.
The MKX Mobile’s player experience surpassed my expectations.
The Last Call – 6.5/10
Card collecting games usually do not appeal to me, but I made an exception for MKX Mobile because of its Mortal Kombat heritage. Being a fan of the franchise, I downloaded the app and played the game. The mobile version of MKX featured as an on-the-go supplement to the MKX on XBOX ONE or PlayStation 4 or PC. Personally, I got bored with the levelling up process of the cards to maximum level of fifty. I managed to level up three characters past forty-seven, and the process slowed to a slog afterward. After reaching level forty, the rate of progress declined significantly. The double XP period for the Christmas holiday expedited the levelling up progress, which I exploited. Recently, I succeeded at leveling “Ronin” Kenshi to level fifty with the “Level Up” cards that advance the card’s level by one per card. I expected some sort of achievement, but nothing greeted me. I suppose reaching the current level cap of fifty does not mean anything special. I enjoy the game, and I eagerly await the sequel to Mortal Kombat X.