In MMA (out now, $4.99), there are three different gameplay options- Career, Exhibition, and Challenges. In career mode, you design your own MMA fighter. You’re given the ability to name him and completely customize his looks. In addition to that, you also choose if he’s heavyweight, lightweight, or middleweight. After every fight in career mode, points are awarded based on how you fought that make you a better fighter (like health, stamina, speed etc.). In between fights, you are given the option to train to give you an extra opportunity to increase your stats through mini games.
The first training exercise is sparring, which is exactly like a normal fight, and will award points based on how you perform, which is helpful if you need a little extra practice before racing into the ring. The speed bad is a mini game where you must rotate between tapping two points making you hit the bag faster. The more times you tap the circles without ever missing a circle, the more points you’ll be awarded in speed. In the heavy bag mini game, it orders you to do certain on screen motions that make you hit the bag with a certain fighting move. The more correct consecutive moves you do, the more stamina points you get. Lastly, you can lift weights to increase your health. The goal is to tilt your device up/down in correlation with your character while you lift weights.
Now to the actual fights themselves. When you first start the career mode, you start at the lowest rank. As you beat other characters, you move up in rank, and they move down. If you lose enough fights, you’ll go down. The fights themselves are great. They’re challenging, exciting, and fast paced. In fights, you’re given two bars: health, and stamina. The more moves you use, the more your stamina goes down, but will increase after time. I personally love the addition of stamina into the game; it gives a great sense of realism. There are three rounds, each lasting a couple of minutes, but to be completely honest, you’re given a more than fair amount of time to either knock or be knocked out.
Exhibition matches are basically quick matches, allowing you to quickly choose your character, opponent, and arena. Challenges are a different form of gameplay, with tasks like “defeat ____ while playing as _____ in round 2”. Personally, I don’t like the restrictions challenges put on me, and would much rather just enjoy a regular fight without having to worry about fitting the criteria of what challenge requires.
The controls are definitely unique. Instead of your usual virtual joystick, you move your character using the accelerometer. The moves you use are executed through swipes, or taps, which is an amazing idea, and makes the fights much more engaging. Swipes can be used to “take down” opponents, put them into submissions, or switch positions. To block attacks, you simply place both fingers on the screen at the same time. If an opponent attempts to put you in a submission, two circles appear on the screen, and if you tap them, you defend the attack, and possibly deal some damage right back at them. The controls are simple, different, and easy to learn, and are definitely one of the good things that makes this game stand out from the others.
iFanzine Verdict: Overall, MMA is a great fighting game with great graphics. When you first download it, you’ll be addicted, and won’t stop playing until you finish. However, there’s little replay value, and will get old after a little while. Would I recommend it to a friend? Probably, because in the end, MMA is definitely worth a couple of hours of exciting and fun good-ol’ buttkicking.