He-Man: The Most Powerful Game in the Universe is a long title. In fact, it ranks up there with the Penny Arcade games as one of the most drawn-out game titles in existence, so from here on out, I’m just calling the game He-Man, because I doubt that I’ll ever meet another person who will call this by its full title.

But that’s okay.

He-Man is a surprisingly very fun game. For all its popularity in the 1980’s and even the resurgence in the 2000’s (and the cult following on Matty Collector), it’s never really gotten a decent video game. Or sure, there was the one for Intellivision/Atari 2600, and a Game Boy Advance title, but that was pretty much it. Shame too, considering the rich and creative universe this series has.

He-Man for iPad/iPhone is a very fun title. It plays similar to the old arcade classic Rastan, where the muscle-bound Eternian sets out to fight Skeletor, Hordak, and a handful of classic minions. Along the way, He-Man fights Horde Troopers, robots, skeletons, bat, sorcerers, and a few other beasties.

Graphically, the game looks great. It’s colorful, well animated, and varied with the environments. It looks very much like the old 1980’s TV show, and even pulls off some of the similar style humor. Corny, but it plays and fits in well. The music is also well suited for the game, again hearkening back to those old Filmation days, right down the the bonks, lasers, and Skeletor’s laugh.

There are also a lot of power-ups, everything from summoning an-At-Arms, Orko will lend a hand should you die, and upgrades to build up He-Man’s strength and health. A lot of the power-ups go back to the old toy ideas, such as “Thunder Punch” and the Battle Axe.

Controls are okay. Like Rastan, He-Man moves slowly and a bit sluggish. Touchpad controls are functional, though with any touch game, controls tend to get a little slippery at times due to lack of tactile controls, with jumping being the biggest flub. It’s manageable, but unfortunate when it happens.

Outside of the controls, there are two nagging issues. There is a lot of pushing to purchase crystals for power-ups. Seriously, does no one play games for the experience anymore? Crystals are not that hard to come by in the title, and while the amounts are ample, it just smacks of laziness on the gamer’s parts, and a cash grab on the developers. Another issue is the push notification “feature”. It seems like every time I power on my iPad, I have a slew of new messages from Skeletor trash talking me that I’m not good enough to beat him. Look, I will beat you on my own time, Skeletor. With the holidays coming up, the last thing I need is….

….

And I’m arguing with a man who has a skull for his head. Point is, the main villain does not need to invade my personal life with daily reminders that I still haven’t beaten him. It’s masochistic, is what it is. Is Mer-Man going to start reminding me of the importance of good dental hygiene? Well, he does sound like he’s gargling all the time.

But for .99 cents, you can’t beat the value. It’s 20+ levels with good graphics and music, playable controls, and it’s fun. It could use some control enhancements and less real-world trash talk, but for what it is, it’s a very polished trip down memory lane, and one of the best He-Man video games out there.

Recommended.

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