Mortal Kombat (PS Vita) Review

Around this time last year, the Mortal Kombat reboot had just released on consoles and received critical acclaim. Here we are a year later and the gore-filled fighter has found its way to Sony’s new handheld, the PlayStation Vita. Don’t be fooled by the smaller packaging; this game has it all and more. That’s right, it has even more content than the recently released Komplete Edition that just hit consoles. NetherRealm Studios hopes to provide the definitive portable Mortal Kombat experience for those looking to take their fatalities on-the-go. Has Mortal Kombat for the Vita successfully recreated the experience found on its console counterpart?

Let’s take a look at what’s HOT and what’s NOT.

HOT

Fresh New Kontent

NetherRealm Studios didn’t take the easy route when transition Mortal Kombat from the PlayStation 3 to the Vita. With the Komplete Edition having released not too long ago, they could have simply given the Vita the latest version with all of the DLC included. However, they went a step further and gave the Vita exclusive content. Before I get into that latest additions, let’s detail what the game already includes for those who skipped out on last year’s iconic fighter. Here’s what came back around: Ladder, Tag Ladder, Test Your Luck, Test Your Might, Test Your Sight, Test Your Strike, Story Mode, Challenge Tower, Versus (ad hoc/WiFi), Krypt and Nekropolis. That alone could have moved units, but lucky for us, it doesn’t.

Debuting in Mortal Kombat are two new mini-game modes: Test Your Balance and Test Your Slice. The first one requires the player to tilt the Vita left and right to maintain the on-screen character’s balance. It starts off simple enough, surviving for only ten seconds at a time, but the difficulty quickly increases when body parts start tossing themselves at the precariously perched player. Then there’s Test Your Slice. Fans of the popular app Fruit Ninja will recognize the new mini-game. Various body parts pop up onto the screen and they must be diced through screen swipes. Of course, simply swiping limbs would be too easy. Bombs start popping up on screen and can only be detonated by shaking the system. These new Tests are welcome additions as they provide a nice change of pace. It’s a good thing Mortal Kombat uses the Vita-unique features to craft more interesting modes.

Last year, many Mortal Kombat fans made their way through (or at least tried to finish) the 150-level challenge tower. Not enough of a challenge, you say? The Bonus Challenge Tower boasts 150 new challenges for players to overcome, and I believe these trials are more physically and mentally taxing than the original 150. Test Your Balance and Test Your Slice make their way into the new Challenge Tower, but they aren’t the most notable additions. In the first 20 challenges alone, players will tap incoming missiles, keep fighters afloat using projectiles, wipe constantly accumulating blood off the screen, play as Shao Kahn and perform a stage fatality on a teddy bear. They just get weirder and weirder as one challenge tasked the player with fighting Reptile as Raiden. The fight took a turn for the bizarre when Raiden’s head started inflating. A tap on his head brought it back to normal size, but it wasn’t long before it started expanding again. It definitely tests multitasking skills as you balance command inputs to defeat an aggressive attacker and making sure your head doesn’t pop. Even if you’ve played through the old Challenge Tower multiple times, this is one set of odd trials you’ll want to experience. In addition to everything listed above, new classic costumes (primarily from MK3) have made their way into the game. Even DLC characters Rain and Kenshi have been given alternative costumes.

A New Way To Play

Thanks to the Vita’s controller-styled button layout, Mortal Kombat plays just as well as the console version. Although the game welcomes the use of the D-pad or analog stick for command inputs, they aren’t the only options available. Taking advantage of the Vita’s touch screen, fatalities can now be entered by swiping the screen in the directions displayed for the finishing move. For example, Smoke’s Smoked Out fatality is performed by pressing back, forward, back, forward, square. To perform this same move using only the touch screen, the input would be the same but with swiping, and the final button (square) is no longer necessary.