I'll admit that i was a little suspicious of Justice League: Earth's Final Defense when I went to download it for my iPhone, mostly because the game's official description includes lines like "The Cyborg appears and helps to the JLA members each event." Once I was assured that it was a legitimate product, though, I found that it's actually a fun little brawler -- especially if you're playing as Batman.More than anything else, it reminded me of X-Men Legends, but that might be a little misleading since that game was built around switching back and forth between multiple characters, and JL: EFD is more of a solo jam, but it's the same kind of 3D button-mashing brawler. And as someone who holds the devout view that video games hit their apex with Final Fight, I'm perfectly okay with that.

At the start of the game, you can choose between Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman as your character:

Flash and Green Lantern are also in there, but they have to be unlocked by paying 1500 points each, and the glacial rate at which points are collected (I think I got 26 for completing a level), is a pretty frustrating sign of how the game's set up to make you want to buy the points for actual money rather than putting in the time doing all the grinding. The same goes for costumes, everyone's decked out in their New 52 suits, but each character also has a "Classic" version and a random third costume, like Gotham By Gaslight Batman or, bizarrely enough, Straczynski-era Wonder Woman:

No word on whether wearing that JMS costume makes the game quit halfway through the level.

Despite being featured in the art, Aquaman was nowhere to be found when I was playing (not really a complaint), but Cyborg only shows up to tell you what's happening with the plot and what kind of enemies you're about to punch, and that feels like short-changing the character just a little.

Still, despite those frustrating touches and an occasionally awkward control scheme that'll occasionally leave you doing combos in mid-air while a bad guy casually saunters away to shoot you, it's a really fun game to play.

In terms of gameplay, the official description will tell you that "The heroes throw away and pursuit the enemies with combo action," so there's that. But there's a surprising depth to it in terms of how the characters are built. Each one has a different play style built around their specialty, and as I said above, Batman is unquestionably the best. While Superman has the ability to fly at about eight feet (able to leap medium-sized fences in a single bound!) and Wonder Woman trades a strong offense for a surprisingly fragile defense, Batman's abilities are all built around increasing your chances for a critical hit. Not only does that do more damage, but he has an ability where he regains health every time you get a critical hit.

In other words, this is a game where the harder Batman beats on criminals, the more health he gets. It's pretty awesome.

It's not that the other characters aren't fun to play, it's just that that idea is pretty fantastic.

It's a solid brawler, and for $2.99 (the price it was at when I downloaded it on Friday), it's actually a better experience than reading the comic it's based on.

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