Free-to-play games often look appealing, but it’s difficult to know at a glance whether the business model is insidious and fun ruining, or reasonable and worth pumping a few bucks into. With Freemium Field Test, we’ll take a recent free-to-play iOS game, put it through its paces, and let you know if it’s really worth your time (and money).

DC Comics is on an impressive stretch of adaptations of its top heroes: Wonder Woman is the best part of the current DC cinematic universe to date, while Injustice 2 for consoles is even better than the excellent original. The glossy, heroes-and-villains fighting game builds off of NetherRealm Studios’ Mortal Kombat game engine with even bigger special moves than before and an even more fascinating story mode. 

And just like with the first game, Injustice 2 has also made a big splash on the App Store. The free-to-play mobile version of Injustice 2 isn’t exactly like its $60 console counterpart, but it maintains quite a lot of the experience while delivering some seriously impressive graphics and quite of bit of gameplay to enjoy.

The pitch 

Marvel Contest of Champions felt like a response to the original Injustice, as I wrote back in 2015, and it’s not all that surprising to see Injustice 2 take a couple of cues in return. Like the first Injustice for mobile, you’ll mostly battle in teams of three as you switch between heroes and villains like Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and The Joker in head-to-head combat.

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For a free iOS game, Injustice 2 is remarkably close to the console experience.

This time around, however, the combat feels a lot more fluid and is very similar to what we’ve seen in Marvel’s fighter. It’s streamlined and straightforward, yet feels robust and flexible enough to come reasonably close to the full console experience. Simple taps deliver basic melee attacks, while forward swipes do aggressive attacks and upward, downward, and backward swipes perform other distinctive maneuvers. You can even toss a projectile with a backward swipe followed by a tap.

Beyond all of those options, which can be chained together to create combos, you can also use the block button, as well as trigger multiple mini-combos with the tap of a button. And if you take enough damage, you can unleash a cinematic special move that really showcases the abilities of the fighter in question. They’re all big, brash, and wonderfully ridiculous.

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Each fighter has unique combos and special moves to give them an edge in combat.

The end result is a game that not only looks more like the controller-based console game, but also feels a bit more like it, making Injustice 2 a surprisingly satisfying mobile fighter. Thankfully, it doesn’t feel anywhere near as dumbed-down as NetherRealm’s previous mobile translation, Mortal Kombat X. There’s still enough depth to the action to make you feel like you’re actually doing something, rather than just randomly tapping and seeing results.

And it even includes the story mode from the console games, albeit in bite-sized chunks: you can play the first part of it now, with more promised over time, but it’s there complete with the lavish narrative cut-scenes between the one-on-one fights. Otherwise, you’ll probably spend your time in the three-on-three campaign mode, but when the going gets tough… well, NetherRealm probably hopes you’ll go to the in-game store.



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