Pacific Rim Crashes into the App Store [game review]

Godzilla has to be my all-time favorite monster! Nothing could be scarier than a massive, towering beast rising from the ocean to breath fire down on unfortunate subway commuters riding to work. I love the monster-on-monster battles, the military standoffs, and especially the fun of two obviously suited actors rolling around and crashing into miniature buildings. Pacific Rim ($4.99) is bringing giant monsters to the big screen this summer, and the small screen game version puts you in control of a Jaeger to battle them with!

Master your iPhone in one minute a day:

Sign up to iPhone Life's Tip of the Day Newsletter and we'll send you a tip each day to save time and get the most out of your iPhone or iPad.

Master your iPhone in one minute a day:

Sign up to iPhone Life's Tip of the Day Newsletter and we'll send you a tip each day to save time and get the most out of your iPhone or iPad.

Pacific Rim is more than a half-GB in size, so you probably want to grab it while connected to Wi-Fi. It ran without issue on my iPad mini. The game is a 3D fighting game (a la Infinity Blade), and does a decent job of presenting the scaled background and graphics to simulate a monster battle. The monsters are large, ugly, and clawed, so your Jaeger is armed with mega defenses, weapons and attacks. Your job is to fight an increasingly difficult selection of opponents, winning credits to upgrade your defenses and power-ups.

Control requires typical soft input selections. You tap left and right to dodge and center to block. Attacks are executed with finger slashes across the screen at various angles. You can execute special attacks, and procure enhanced power or weapons that fire into your opponent, all of which give you an edge to beat down the opponent monster's hitpoints indicated in the slider on the top. Beat it down enough, and hopefully you get the old-school fight game "finish him" prompt. 

You can't adjust the control points, so it's easier to play this kind of game on iPad using a sturdy stand, as you will be rapidly slashing and poking at your screen. The view is pretty static during your fights (third person, view from behind your fighter) interspersed with occasional cut scenes. It would have been cool to have other view angles available (ground level, overhead fly-by, or first person, for example), which would have sold the monster-sizing a little more convincingly. You fight one monster per round in serial fashion. Two against one would have been a cool challenge too (which is maybe included in higher levels I haven't yet seen?)...

Pacific Rim was developed by Reliance Games (makers of Real Steel, and After Earth movie themed games), and has a solid mix of features to keep you engaged. You can upgrade your striking weapons (i.e. blades to chainsaw edges) and add projectile weapons like dual mortar cannons. You also can visit the "black market" for additional power-ups or cheat... er, I mean "buy" credits to advance faster. Navigation screens feature character avatars from the movie. The game has a campaign mode that requires you to battle invading beasts in locations around the world and complete challenges to advance. Also included is a survival mode where the goal is to simply battle enemies.

The Verdict

Pacific Rim is a decent fighting game, with better than average sounds and graphics. The fighter enhancement features keep you coming back to advance. It could be a better game with a few more interesting features (like wireless head-to-head combat or others mentioned above), but it isn't likely to get many updates after the movie leaves theaters. IAPs are available, but probably not required to advance. If you love fighting oversized monsters (and who doesn't), you can grab this game on the App Store.


  • Decent game graphics and fighting physics;

  • Good player enhancement options.


  • Could use a few more interesting game features;

  • Not likely to get many updates;

  • Pricey.
Master your iPhone in one minute a day: Sign up here to get our FREE Tip of the Day delivered right to your inbox.
Nate Adcock's picture

Nate Adcock is a system and integration engineer with experience managing and administering a variety of computing environments. He has worked extensively with mobile gadgets of all shapes and sizes for many years. He is also a former military weather forecaster. Nate is a regular contributor for the and blogs and helps manage both websites. Read more from Nate at or e-mail him at