We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
Games software Reviews
15,670 Reviews

Double Dragon (iOS) review


Manufacturer: Aksys Games

Our Rating: We rate this 3 out of 5

This iOS port of the genre-defining Double Dragon shines with its redone visuals, but suffers from a clunky and imprecise control scheme.

If you were a kid in the late Eighties you probably remember Double Dragon as a fixture of arcades and corner shops, and the recipient of numerous console and computer ports. It is arguably the most famous side-scrolling brawler of all-time, introducing genre staples like co-op play and the ability to pick up power-augmenting weapons to pummel the enemy.

Double Dragon on the iOS is a completely new version, featuring all-new graphics, a re-jigged story and intermission sequences, and a brand new game engine. Well, it’s new to us anyway -- it’s actually an enhanced port of a version originally made for the Zeebo, an obscure and inexpensive console aimed at the Latin American market.

Double Dragon gameplay

The revamped visuals look fantastic. The characters are smoothly animated, there’s an abundance of detail in the environments, and the game sports a gritty -- yet colourful and distinct -- look that fits the story’s lawless, post-apocalyptic feel. The addition of special skills and a combo system also adds a new level of depth to the gameplay, so even to a veteran it still feels surprisingly fresh.

Simulated D-pad-and-button controls are an irritatingly prevalent feature of iOS games, but there’s really no other option for a traditional brawler like this. The lack of tactile precision can be a pain -- you’ll sometimes need to carefully position your character to hit enemies on certain planes, pick up objects, and dodge attacks, all of which are made harder than they should be. A simplified control option offers a partial compromise, but it restricts some of the more complex fighting skills and detracts from the variety.

Double Dragon gameplay

As such, I can’t recommend using it, because Double Dragon offers a decent amount of content for this platform at this price. The standard game modes offer limited continues, so you’ll need to run through and practice a few times before you’re able to clear the game completely. There are many playable characters to unlock and secret skills to uncover, too, and it has full Game Center support so there are also plenty of achievements to earn, some considerably more difficult than others.

Whether Double Dragon is worth your time entirely depends on how much you’re willing to put up with non-tactile controls in a game involving lots of button pressing. The action is undeniably solid, the graphics and music are excellent, and the numerous unlockables and modes will keep you coming back - but it’s all for nothing if you can’t get past that initial control barrier first.

Next page: Our expert verdict

See Also:

More Game Reviews 

Games Advisor

Double Dragon (iOS) Expert Verdict »

Double Dragon is available for the iPhone.
  • Overall: We give this item 6 of 10 overall

A solid port of a genuine classic.

  • Dragon, Fly! Free review

    Dragon, Fly! Free

    Dragon, Fly! is a delightfully simple, yet incredibly addictive, arcade game for Android tablets and smartphones.

  • Bit.Trip Flux review

    Bit.Trip Flux

    Developer Gaijin Games' excellent rhythm-based Bit.Trip series comes full circle with this stellar WiiWare send-off.

  • Afro Samurai review

    Afro Samurai

    It'd be easy to write off Afro Samurai as another cheap cash-in on a successful franchise. The Spike TV animated show is a cult hit and we all know what happens when you try to tie in a video game to an established IP, right? Wrong. Afro Samurai is bloody, beautiful and entertaining.

  • Dragon Ball: Origins review

    Dragon Ball: Origins

    Dragon Ball: Origins for Nintendo DS is the best Dragon Ball game I've seen in a long time.

  • Dragon Age: Origins review

    Dragon Age: Origins

    Dragon Age: Origins has plenty to live up to, but Bioware has once again struck RPG gold. A strategy-RPG featuring deep character customisation, moral decision-making, party combat and mature sub-plots.

IDG UK Sites

Best camera phone of 2015: iPhone 6 Plus vs LG G4 vs Galaxy S6 vs One M9 vs Nexus 6

IDG UK Sites

In defence of BlackBerrys

IDG UK Sites

Why we should reserve judgement on Apple ditching Helvetica in OS X/iOS for the Apple Watch's San...

IDG UK Sites

Retina 3.3GHz iMac 27in preview: Apple cuts £400 of price of Retina iMac with new model