Fantastic Four E3 2005 Hands-On

We get our mitts on an E3 build of Fantastic Four.

Tim Story's upcoming Fantastic Four film has inspired a resurgence of interest in the world's most famous familial crime fighters. Mforma is working on an action platformer based on the Fantastic license, and it looks like it's deserving of that moniker. Using only primitives, and no sprites, Fantastic Four has a unique visual style--call it the mobile equivalent of cel-shading. The game lets you play as all four members of the Fantastic family, and it seems equally enjoyable with each character.

While prerendered sprites typically must be resized for each level of zoom, primitives can be manipulated much more freely. While you play, the camera zooms toward and away from your character, and to great effect. The game's art style perfectly matches that of the comic--both in-game and during the slide show-style cutscenes. The version of the game we played ran at a very impressive 25 frames per second. If you're not familiar with mobile, this frame rate might not sound so high, but it's actually about twice as fast as the average wireless game. Mforma assured us that, even on lower-end handsets, the game will run well. A soundtrack was present, but it was impossible to hear in our noisy setting.

We'd be hard pressed to name a mobile game with more varied gameplay than Fantastic Four. Each character has two special moves and several basic attacks. Additionally, the collection of blue crystals can trigger special gameplay sequences. At one point, Mr. Fantastic must complete platforming puzzles while rolled into a tight ball. Another section requires "the human torch" to fly around, avoiding the water that's cascading from the ceiling.

Fantastic Four seemed fun, fast, and very hard to put down. The game features several levels and boss fights, including a final confrontation with Dr. Doom himself. Look for the game to hit major carriers this summer.

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