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"Are you sure it is a good day to Die Hard?" asks a terribly voiced Russian enemy as our hero perishes for the umpteenth time. The corny, self-aware line would almost make sense in the universe of Die Hard films, where cheesy one-liners are expected. But in the case of the A Good Day to Die Hard tie-in game for iPhone and iPad, it's just another example of an altogether laughable licensed title, one that's plagued with monotonous gameplay and horrid in-app purchase pandering.
Die Hard is an on-rails third-person shooter, featuring allusions to the auto-runner games already found so plentifully on the App Store. The gameplay is somewhat similar to that of Full Fat's Agent Dash, but the cartoony visuals and enjoyable mechanics are replaced by a tedious run through a bombed-out Pripyat. And no, you won't play as series hero John McClane; his son, Jack McClane, is the protagonist.
There are two other characters available, which are switched out as you run through a power-up, offering more advanced weaponry. Shooting bad dudes and collecting coins is fairly enjoyable at first, but the fun wears thin as you mow down the same enemies, their health points eventually growing to the point of frustration. “Congratulations, you're still alive,” says some faceless enemy, over and over.
Currency in Die Hard is divided into Rubles you collect on the ground, and Bucks, which are only acquired through leveling up or as in-app purchases. Both can be used to upgrade weapons, health, and the bullet-time-like Adrenaline power-up, but you have to use Bucks to purchase checkpoints as you unlock them. The last checkpoint costs 200 Bucks, but you only get 10 Bucks per level. You also have to use Bucks to continue your run after you die. All told, it ends up being a whole lot of grinding unless you're willing to open up your wallet to ease the pain.
The bottom line. While the “endless shooter” mechanics are nicely executed, Die Hard's increasingly boring gameplay and irritating checkpoints aren't worth the effort. "Yippee ki-lame," sadly.
iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch running iOS 5.0 or later
Somewhat interesting blend of shooting and auto-runner. Fans of the film might enjoy the concept.
Little variety leads to tedium. Horribly unbalanced in-game economy. Frustrating difficulty spike.