Double Dragon Review (iOS)

Game Review: Double Dragon
Release: 3/3/2011
Genre: Beat ‘Em Up
Developer: Bow Mobile Corporation
Available Platforms: iOS
Players: 1-2
MSRP: $3.99
Rating: 9+
Website: Double Dragon

Billy and Jimmy Lee are back in the post-apocalyptic ruins of the New York City. When The Black Warriors kidnap Marian, they must traverse the city to take out the greatest crime syndicate. Using their arsenal of martial arts moves, they won’t stop at anything to save Marian from the grips of the grunts and slime of the city. Double Dragon has returned in a new title for iOS.

Double Dragon is the latest in the almost-forgotten concept of beat ’em ups. Billy and Jimmy are the available characters at the start, and the whole goal is to go from the left to the right punching and kicking any and all who oppose you. Players can unleash special moves to cause more damage, pick up items to attack and throw, and even unleash Limit Break attacks when your combo meter has filled up, going into a rage and attacking stronger and quicker.

The quest takes you over a half-dozen stages, complete with bonus stages in a challenge for points. Upon beating the game, you’ll unlock various characters you defeated throughout the course. Once unlocked, you can play as these characters that play different than the Double Dragons. Some are stronger, some have new moves, many are lacking the full range of moves that the titular characters have. There’s also a time-attack mode and a multiplayer mode, with time-attack extending your play for an extra challenge. We did not get a chance to test out the multiplayer mode.

Graphically, the game echoes some of the visual style of late 2D SNK fighting games. The short cutscenes give the bare amount of story, but come with incredible art that makes you wish a gallery mode was available. While the game can be beaten in less than an hour, that’s about the feel of an older beat ’em up, and the multitudes of characters unlockable encourage more runs through the game. Easily, the game encapsulates 1990s brawlers.

One game-breaking facet of the game is that it doesn’t save your progress if you go back to the menu, and only temporarily saves when you exit the app. Additionally, if you get interrupted with a notification and leave for it, when you come back, the audio’s missing. To compound the audio problem, you can’t change levels of the sound effects and music separately. Therefore, the blaring music must be heard if you want to hear sound effects; you can’t exactly rock your own soundtrack while hearing fists hit faces. Adding visual noise, the control pad and panel takes up easily 30% of the screen, and don’t wisely use the transparent control display that many retro-stylized games do.

Double Dragon pulls no punches in recovering the 1990s arcade vibe. Various small quirks can hamper the experience, but all-in-all, it’s a very successful modern interpretation of the title. For the $4 on the App Store, you can’t go to wrong if this is the era you thrived in.

-Great graphic style
-Good amount of replay value
-Minor audio issues


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