‘Batman: Arkham Origins’ goes mobile, focuses on punching everyone

batman arkham origins goes mobile focuses on punching everyone

Batman: Arkham Origins isn’t just a blockbuster video game coming to PC, PlayStation 3, Wii U, and Xbox 360 on October 25, 2013. It’s also the title of an upcoming mobile game from NetherRealm Studios – specifically the team behind Batman: Arkham City Lockdown – that will be coming out “soon.” Much like Lockdown, mobile Origins is a combat-driven game that is somewhat in the vein of the swipey combat of Infinity Blade and the studio’s mobile take on its DC frigher Injustice: Gods Among UsOrigins is geared toward a broader audience, however, with simpler, tap-based fighting mechanics and a business model built around offering the game as a free-to-play title.


A different kind of origin story. Origins begins with an intro cinematic that sets up the plot of its PC/console counterpart. A younger Batman who has been dishing out vigilante justice across Gotham City suddenly faces his greatest threat, when the villainous Black Mask offers a one-night-only, $50 million reward for a dead Dark Knight. Eight assassins step up to test the superhero’s might, including Deadshot, Copperhead, Electrocutioner, Bane, and others. The intro cinematic lays all of this out before throwing players into a tutorial.

The odd thing here is that the small-screen Arkham Origins isn’t a story-driven game. NetherRealm designed it like a proper arcade game, the sort that feeds you a chunk of setup story that really just serves as context for all of the punching and kicking you’ll be doing. This take on Arkham Origins features just four of the bigger game’s cast of assassins, but it is also built to be expanded upon.

batman screenGameplay

Pow! Bif! Bam! Arkham Origins is a fighting game at heart. Single taps on the screen dish out Bat-jabs to your opponent’s face while a quick triple-tap delivers a Bat-combo. Arrayed across the bottom of the screen is a series of special attack shortcuts, each of which is connected to its own minigame, as well as the block command and a button for switching stances. Batman can swap between the Assault and Guarded stances as situations demand, with the former doing bigger damage and the latter offering more protection along with a healing ability. All special abilities operate on a cooldown timer, and they grey out when they’re unavailable.

Regardless of the mission you’ve chosen to take on, combat flows in a similar way. Each fight is 1v1 althoughBatman alt costume most missions pit Bats against multiple enemies. You can always see the lineup of opponents you have ahead on an info bar situated in the top-right corner of the screen. Take one down, and the next in the lineup appears. Combat is a back and forth of attack and defend, which visual indicators on the screen letting you know when to block higher-damage attacks. Occasionally, a successful combo leads to a mini-quick time event of sorts, with arrow prompts indicating the directions that you should swipe in to keep the punches flowing.

The combo iconography takes some getting used to, based on our limited playtime. It’s not immediately clear, for example, whether a flashing arrow that lights up from left-to-right, right-to-left, top-to-bottom, or bottom-to-top (indicating the direction you’re supposed to swipe) is asking you to swipe once or repeatedly in the same direction. We’re told that there’s a gentler learning curve in the final game, along with multiple tutorials, but the screen is undeniably busy with information for you to keep track of as you play.

Touring Gotham. Mobile Arkham Origins‘ Gotham City breaks into four districts for you to accept missions in. Each one unlocks successively, as you proceed through the main missions; there are also optional missions, daily challenges, boss rematches, and the like to be found in each one. You don’t actually explore the city; rather, you zoom in on a district and tap the mission icon you’d like to tackle. All of these follow roughly the same pattern of pitting Batman against a lineup of bad guys, though the more advanced optional missions also bring some modifiers to the mix. Enemies might recharge health, or Batman’s own health might drain. These modifiers are meant to offer a greater challenge for those that seek bigger rewards.

There are two forms of currency that you’ll earn as you proceed through the game. Upgrade Points are the more easily obtainable of the two, and they’re spent on improving individual special attacks for each of Batman’s two stances as well as general “skills” (such as your overall armor or punch power). WayneTech Points are much less common, and are often tied to the most challenging objectives. Players also have the option of spending real-world money to buy them. Accrued WayneTech Points can be spent on things like pre-mission boosts that temporarily enhance Batman in one category or another.

Batman iosPresentation

Downscaled. Arkham Origins is a sharp-looking game in its mobile form. The NetherRealm team had access to all of the assets used to build the console/PC release, so we’re really just talking about slightly downscaled textures from their big screen counterparts. That’s not a bad thing though. Even at a glance, Batman: Arkham Origins makes a good case for you to check it out based on its graphics alone. It easily falls in alongside other mobile lookers like Infinity Blade. Those with souped-up A7 chips in their freshly purchased iPhone 5S will see the best of it, with the sliders turned up even further.


This mobile take on Batman: Arkham Origins seems poised to offer Bat-fans an eye candy-filled diversion for when they’re on the go. The fact that it’s free-to-play ought to encourage people to check it out, and it looks like there’s enough depth to steal away multiple hours once you get into it. We’re told that the game will be arriving “soon” – remember that the console/PC release is just two weeks away – as an iOS-exclusive.


Once the dust settles, 'Fallout 76' will be a nuclear wasteland worth exploring

The launch of Fallout 76 has been nothing short of apocalyptic, but that doesn’t mean the game is dead on arrival. Bethesda has a path forward, paved by The Elder Scrolls Online, another game that suffered a rocky start.
Product Review

'Marvel's Spider-Man' slings and swings its way to the top of the superhero heap

Insomniac's entry into the superhero genre has a big suit to fill, but ‘Marvel's Spider-Man’ is a phenomenal action game, a strong Spider-Man story, and an open-world game that has plenty to do without getting boring.

This list of PlayStation 4 exclusives puts its competitors to shame

The PlayStation 4's game library and incredible selection of exclusive games could make anyone with an Xbox One or Nintendo Switch think twice. Here's our list of the latest and greatest PS4 exclusives.

Joker from ‘Persona 5’ will take your heart in ‘Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’

Joker, the leader of the Phantom Thieves of Hearts from Persona 5, will arrive to Super Smash Bros. as its first DLC character. The announcement was a surprising one, because Persona 5 is a PlayStation 4 exclusive.

‘Magic: The Gathering’ enters esports relevance with $10 million prize pool

Wizards of the Coast is pushing Magic: The Gathering into esports relevance with a prize pool of $10 million across the tabletop version and Magic: The Gathering Arena. Will the game be able to compete with Hearthstone and Overwatch?

The best Nintendo Switch deals and bundles for December 2018

Looking to score Nintendo's latest hybrid console? We've smoked out the best Nintendo Switch deals right here, including discounts on stand-alone consoles, as well as bundles that feature games like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Folding canoes and ultra-fast water filters

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

Get some bang for your buck with these Nintendo Switch console deals at Walmart

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are in the past, but you can still get some bang for your buck on game consoles before the holiday season is done. Walmart has various Nintendo Switch bundles on sale right now.
Product Review

‘Just Cause 4’ is mindless fun that leaves little room for much else

Just Cause 4 revels in explosions and over-the-top action, but its world feels empty and hollow. With few new ideas and a stale open world, it's a fun but shallow piece of escapism.

‘CS:GO’ goes free-to-play and players are not happy about it

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO), has gone free-to-play this week in a controversial move. Players are angry that the problem of cheating will get much worse now that anyone can make a disposable account to play.

The most common Xbox One X problems, and how to fix them

The Xbox One X is a brilliant console, but it's not without its issues, ranging from simple annoyances to severe hardware problems. Here are common Xbox One X problems and how to fix them.

How to delete and reinstall games on your Xbox One

Removing and reinstalling games on the Xbox One's hard drive isn't difficult, but it's a process that not everyone is familiar with. Thankfully, our guide will run you through each step so you'll know precisely what to do.

‘Street Fighter V’ players will get bonuses if they allow in-game ads

Capcom will show in-game advertisements on Street Fighter V starting December 11. Players may choose to deactivate the ads, but they will miss out on some bonuses and content if they do so.

‘The Walking Dead: The Final Season’ returns with Episode 3 next month

Skybound Games revealed the release date for Episode 3: Broken Toys of Telltale Games' The Walking Dead: The Final Season. Clementine's story will be getting the ending that it deserves after all.