To nobody’s surprise, Captain America—the world’s first avenger—has a tie-in game on every console associated with the blockbuster movie that just hit the big screens. Is it time to don the blue suit and take on the evil forces of Hydra?
Captain America: Super Soldier acts as a side story to the main movie. Instead of directly going after Red Skull, you’re going after his minions and underlings. It’s a good move on the developer’s part, as nowadays movie tie-in games seem to focus more on their own story, rather than the short one the movie is conveying. It works for the most part, as dialogue scenes are voiced, and it generally helps to get to know the Captain a bit more during his heroic adventures in the 1940’s.
Much like Thor on the DS, Captain America is a 2D side-scroller/platformer that has you moving at a steady pace from room to room. Instead of an entirely open level, each part of the level is sectioned off into smaller rooms that usually requires the Cap to dispatch all of the enemies and use his shield in some form to solve an environmental puzzle. The platforming is fairly decent as far as scaling the level goes, but be prepared to suffer some unfair deaths jumping over gaps.
The enemies, however, are what make this experience feel cheap and unfair, and bring the overall experience to a frustrating halt. As Captain America, you’re expected to kick all kinds of ass, yet these enemies jump on the screen, surround the Cap, and juggle you between their punches leaving you almost entirely defenseless. It’s one thing when a game is challenging, but another when you’re being unfairly tossed around between enemies, only to see your health bar quickly deplete.
Throughout each level, there are various medals to find, dossiers to pick up, hostages to free, and vials to acquire. Finding these requires a bit of searching, but the payoff is usually worth it, as the vials raise your health, and freeing hostages unlocks some sweet, new costumes for the Cap.
To break up some monotony—though not by much—there are running segments that play much like the addicting Canabalt app. You’re constantly being thrust forward, dodging gaps, jumping over obstacles, kicking down enemies, and collecting medals. It’s a fun diversion, but the odd jump mechanics, mixed in with the delayed kick attacks, will cost you many frustrating retries.
The overall aesthetics of the game are somewhat muddled, which at this point is almost inexcusable. Many games have proved by now that they can look great, despite the systems limitations, yet Captain America seems to be going for the bare minimum.
Captain America on the DS isn’t your top notch, go-to, superhero game that many Cap fans were hoping for; the cheap enemies will make you want to throw your DS across the room. Spare yourself the frustration, and buy another Captain America movie ticket instead.