UPDATE: OnLive set us straight on how your free LEGO Batman access will be distributed. A company spokesperson confirms that they're monitoring who accesses the mobile client and will be sending an e-mail notification within 24 hours to all qualifying users. At that point, the game should show up in your My Games list.
OnLive already made its mobile debut with a spectator-only Viewer app, but today the cloud gaming service brings its supporters what they've been waiting for: high-end gaming on the go, with touchscreen support on select titles no less.
The newly released app is currently available only for Android platforms, as the company is still awaiting Apple's certification for an iOS launch. Those who aren't able to connect a gamepad to their mobile device of choice will also be pleased to hear that 25 titles in the OnLive library have been updated with virtual touchscreen controls. It's certainly not an ideal way to play, but it's an option at least.
Android users who grab the app are also reportedly entitled to LEGO Batman for free, though I'm not exactly sure how that works. I found after downloading the app onto my ASUS Eee Pad Transformer that LEGO Batman hadn't been added to my games library and was still available as a full-priced purchase from the marketplace. The fine print in the OnLive e-mail announcement includes a link to a FAQ, but clicking it just leads to an error page. Soooo... yeah. One would think that'll have to be worked out fairly quickly. We've reached out to OnLive for further information, so stay tuned for the update.
As for the app itself, it's hardly a smooth experience right now, but it's definitely a great start. The video and audio both tend to skip and stutter, both in the app frontend and inside the games. The virtual touchscreen controls also consume a lot of real estate; LEGO Batman includes two virtual thumbsticks plus five good-sized action buttons. There's a toggle at the top of the screen to make the controls disappear during cutscenes, but you'll definitely find that your hands get in the way of what you're seeing during gameplay.
You're not necessarily restricted to touchscreen controls. OnLive also announced today the upcoming release of its Universal OnLive Wireless Controller, which is compatible with "many tablets and smartphones." There's no date listed for it yet, though it should be available "soon" at a price of $49.99.
In fairness, these impressions are based on a quick and dirty perusal of the app. Remember that it's day one and patches are sure to arrive to smooth out the experience. Besides, it's hard to complain about a few hiccups when the alternative to being able to play LA Noire with touchscreen controls on a tablet is not being able to do any of those things.