Batman: Arkham Origins goes free-to-play in iOS and Android game

Batman: Arkham Origins is coming to iOS and Android. However, don't expect the same open-world adventure you'll find on consoles. This is a new action game from NetherRealm Studios, developer of Batman: Arkham City Lockdown. Unlike Blackgate on 3DS and Vita, Origins for mobile does not add to the Arkhamverse canon. Instead, it takes the same premise of the console game and translates it for a mobile-specific experience. Like in the main game, Black Mask has tasked a number of assassins to take down a younger, less experienced Batman. It's up to the Dark Knight to patrol the city, fight baddies, and get rid of the bounty on his head.

This is how you explore Gotham

When players start the game, they'll have to select a loadout for Batman. There will be quite a number of suits to choose from, each with their own stats. Players will also be able to customize Batman through an XP system that increases his health, defense, offense, etc. He'll also be able to upgrade and select various power-ups. Once Batman is customized, you'll jump into a heatmap of Gotham. The city is split into four sectors, each with varying levels of crime. Once you go deeper, you'll see random crimes-in-progress, each with different mission parameters and difficulty levels. For example, a 3-star mission may have thugs with added defense. A 5-star mission will likely have you going head-to-head with an assassin.

Swipe the screen!

In combat, players will be able to switch between offensive and defense stances. Each stance gives players access to different abilities that feature individual cooldown timers. In offensive mode, you'll be able to launch bats at opponents to distract them, while in defensive mode, you'll be able to heal yourself. The core combat has you tapping the screen to punch and kick, and pressing the block button (or using two fingers) to dodge incoming attacks. Occasionally, there will be on-screen QTEs, like swipes for attacks and quick button presses for dodges. Being a free-to-play game means that there are numerous currencies attached to the unlocks in the game. Buying new suits will require a boatload of in-game currency, and given how the difficulty scales, it's clear how the game will be monetized.

There are many, many suits to buy

Even if you're the type to avoid free-to-play games, there's reason to play this mobile spin-off. Playing the console game will let you unlock content in the mobile game. In fact, you'll be able to earn mobile game currency by playing the console game and linking your WBID account. "We created an integrated gaming ecosystem between the Batman: Arkham Origins mobile and console games, which delivers rewards and unlocks that provide greater experiences for players," creative director Ed Boon said in the announcement. "The mobile game goes hand-in-hand with what is offered on the other platforms." The game will be available on iOS in the "console game launch window," while an Android version will follow in "the holiday timeframe."