When it comes to movie tie-ins, very few games manage to break free from their often less-than-stellar source material to become something actually worthwhile. Thor: God of Thunder for the Nintendo 3DS marks Marvel's newest contribution to the ever-growing genre of games based on movies based on comics, and I found myself surprised by how much polish it came packing. Unfortunately, even despite developer Red Fly Studio's spit shine, Thor 3DS didn't turn out nearly as godly as it should have.
A basic brawler at heart, Thor has all the standard fare of the genre. With light and heavy melee attacks to switch between, as well as close and long-range offerings, it's an easy game to pick up and play. The touch screen offers even more combat options, with a few divine attacks (like summoning lightning or other forces of nature) rounding out the roster and providing some opportunity for cool combos and such (the lightning especially makes for a great finisher).
The ability to upgrade Thor's powers and unlock new movesets lends more complexity to this standard brawler than you'd expect. And yet, at the end of the day, it still manages to come off a tad boring due to its inherent repetition.
While there are plenty of attacks at your disposal, none of it really amounts to anything – you don't need to master these strategies to actually beat any of the enemies or bosses. Winning basically just amounts to harping on the same attacks over and over again, any variance in strategy stemming only from your own desire to change things up. This makes for a game that starts off fairly strong but only becomes more frustrating and monotonous the longer you play.
Therein lies Thor: God of Thunder's biggest problem. All the effort the developers sunk into capturing the grandeur of wielding the power of a god falls through the cracks in the face of highly repetitive enemies, uninspired locations and shoddy storytelling. The game doesn't last very long, only a handful of hours, but the recycled, forgettable fights still make it feel like it drags on forever.
The graphics don't help matters much – while not terrible, the levels look uninspired and all feel a little too similar to one another. The 3D effect looks nice, but adds nothing to the experience. The story, which could have been really strong if it had drawn on the mythology laid out in the comics, comes off as convoluted, with little character development or backstory to add any depth to the main cast.
Thor: God of Thunder for 3DS had a lot of potential, with the backbones of a great combat system in place and plenty of amazing mythology to draw from. Unfortunately, repetitive enemies, uninspired level design and terrible storytelling bring the whole experience down. Thor 3DS still offers a passable brawler for fans of the genre at its most basic, but if you’re looking for the next great portable game, you best look elsewhere.
The menus look sharp, but the still artwork does a "meh" job of telling the story. It doesn’t offend, but it won’t make a lasting impression either.
The graphics ultimately please, but don't have the detail of Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D or the charm of Star Fox 64 3D.
The music sets the tone for the action well, but supplies no sense of atmosphere. The sound bytes during gameplay get repetitive fast.
A decent, no-frills brawler thanks to the varied moveset at Thor’s disposal and some challenging bosses.
4.0 Lasting Appeal
Not a lot of new content to mess around with after you beat the game, which won't take long.
TOTAL SCORE 6.0 'OKAY'