Another Vita game, another port, another "why don't you just read what I said about the console version?" review. I could probably end this article here, but luckily for all of us, this Vita adaptation for Mortal Kombat understands and conforms to its platform more than the port for Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3. I also need to fill this page, or my superiors will start to get suspicious.
Similar to the Mortal Kombat Komplete Edition, this port contains a wealth of additional content beyond the original, even more than the Komplete Edition itself. (Doesn't that make it InKomplete?) One of the most noticeable differences is that the roster has been filled with Kratos and the four extra characters from the Komplete Edition: Skarlet, Rain, Freddy Krueger, and Kenshi. As an extra bonus, 16 additional costumes have been added, including numerous Klassic skins that have not been available until now.
With Mortal Kombat's character modeling on the more realistic side, rather than being cel-shaded, the reduction in graphics is understandable but still jarring. The quality of the environments and particle effects remain intact from the console version, so the jagged character models only look that much more pronounced. The damage effects in particular look plastered on, without any actual tears in the clothing. It's not that visible in the midst of quick combat, but viewing the damage models in the Nekropolis makes the blemish clear. However, the swiftness and polish of the core combat effectively diminishes these graphical sacrifices.
The other prominent addition is the inclusion of a second Challenge Tower based on the Vita's motion-based features. The 150 new challenges are a mixture of the usual, like defeating various tag teams with a single character (in this case, Shao Kahn), and touch-based objectives. Sometimes that means shaking the Vita to grab buffs that fall to the ground or swiping off blood that smears across the screen. Other times, it's completing the two new Test Your Balance and Test Your Slice mini-games; the former has you tilt the Vita so that the character remains balanced on a pole, while the latter is a Fruit Ninja clone where the fruit are replaced with decapitated heads. Though most of these new features are gimmicks, they're done well in the Mortal Kombat style.
The developers also make use of the Vita touchscreen by allowing players to merely swipe their fingers across the screen in the proper directions for a fatality instead of using the D-pad. Also, when the energy bar is full, they can tap on the icon for the X-ray attack to initiate it instead of pressing L+R. Neither of these shortcuts are huge game-changers, but they're nice options nonetheless.
Beyond that, players can also access a hidden augmented reality easter egg that uses the Vita's camera to place the background into a level inspired by Mortal Kombat II. Again, it's a neat feature but not anything ground-breaking.
Luckily, the online features help distinguish Mortal Kombat Vita from the rest of the Vita launch, just by virtue of having an online mode via Wi-Fi that works with hardly any lag at a constant 60 fps. A local ad-hoc connection works as well. The only mode that is absent is King of the Hill, which is very small price to pay.
Mortal Kombat Vita is mainly everything you would expect, replete with the full character roster and all of the standard versus, tag team, and multiplayer modes. The particular Vita-specific touches are rather one-note but they're fairly innocuous. In fact, with all the additions, it's the definitive version of Mortal Kombat. That's not bad for a handheld port.