Marvel has teamed up with the developer team known as DeNA to publish an arcade style beat ’em up game starring some of the most popular Marvel super heroes.
You might remember the developer team DeNA because they were in the news recently. It was announced that they were partnering up with Nintendo to release some original mobile games featuring 1st party Nintendo characters. It seems like there isn’t any exclusivity deals going on here because the team also seems to be working with Disney’s Marvel branch as well. This game feel very much like one of those old-school arcade games like The Simpsons and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
You start off by controlling the Hulk while some robots are attacking you. You are explained the basic controls of the game which consist of tapping on an enemy to focus on them, swiping the screen to jump/dodge and then tapping on an empty spot of the screen to tell your character to move there. If your super hero is near an enemy, then they will automatically start attacking them. This is quite handy because it can be hectic when you have a group of enemies on the screen. The smaller your device is the harder it will probably be to focus on a very specific enemy.
Marvel Mighty Heroes consists of three types of characters and enemies. As you can see, Scrappers beat the Blasters, Blasters beat the Bruisers and Bruisers beat the Scrappers. This style of gameplay is very similar to a lot of strategy games which use the paper, rock, scissors approach to balancing. I generally see this type of balancing used in quite a number of MMOs and while it might seem idea, it can be very tough to balance fairly. I’m not sure if there is a PvP element to this game so it might not even matter. Although, depending on how things pan out at the end-game, you could see everyone funneling into one specific type of hero simply because they are the best/safest to play.
At the end of certain levels in Marvel Mighty Heroes, you can unlock a character to add to your roster. When I finished the little tutorial I unlocked Captain America and he was added to my team of three heroes. Heroes seem to be capped at 10 levels and they can have 2 boosts of varying types. Each of the heroes you unlock will be one of those three types of styles: Scrapper, Blaster or Bruiser. Each of the characters also have different stats and it seems like this will open up an ability for the developer to release a hero with a different costume and then give them better/worse stats than the original.
This also opens up the ability for the developers to sell characters for in-game currency as well. Gold looks to be DeNA’s in-game currency and it can be purchased with in-app purchases as well as grinding levels. I played for about 30-45 minutes and was able to get 50 gold, but it was also from some of the easier quests like dodge once or use a skill 10 times. These quests get expanded in the second tier to tasks like dodging 1000 times. I’m not sure how the developers are looking to balance out the grinding but as you can see, it is very easy for them to go over the line and it will just take time to see how grindy the game ends up being.
One of the things advertised about the game is the ability to invite your friends into the same level you are playing. This feature is actually very cool as it allows you to play co-op with up to three of your friends at the same time. The few events I have played so far consist of things like ‘protect X objects’ or ‘stay alive for Y minutes’ and ‘defeat such and such boss’. Each of these events have enemies spawning at timed intervals and you have to complete the goal without dying. For a game that you just pick up for 2 minutes here and 5 minutes there, it seems okay. However, if you sit down and play this for hours at a time then I can see this getting very boring unless the developers spice their goals up(which they very well might do).
This is the events screen and as you can see, you first start off with two different scenarios to pick from. To unlock the third one, you have to master the first two. Not too bad since these were easy but if you get stuck on one of the later ones then I could see this getting frustrating. Depending on how many completions you have to get in the later levels(as you can see these first ones only take 2), this is yet another way for DeNA to make the game incredibly grindy. Not that I mind though. I enjoy playing RPG games and grinding a level over and over for XP, money, items is something that I am used to. Not everyone is a fan of this type of gameplay though so be warned.
When I first saw the game, I thought it was going to be a single-player style game with the ability to bring in your friends for some co-op action. However, I was unable to find a level like that. I very well could have been looking in the wrong place though, so if I am missing where the regular single-player campaign is, please let me know. After you invite your friends, the game fills up the rest of your team with other people wanting to play that level at the same time.
This type of matchmaking is very cool early on when the levels are easy, but anyone who has played online games before, PUGs(aka Pick Up Groups) can easily ruin a game if the level gets too hard and the players are too absent-minded. At least they give you the ability to invite people. This feature could make the game very fun if they allow you to chat and add like-minded players to your friends list.
It seems like DPS(damage per second) is the name of the game in Marvel Mighty Heroes since the goal is mainly to kill things without being killed yourself. At the end of every event you are ranked against the rest of the party. the more damage you do, the more of a bonus you get. They even let you use more energy(yes, this game does have a stamina meter) to increase your damage. It typically takes one energy to play an event(at least early on) but you can expend two in order to do 1.5 times the damage or you can expend three in order to do 2 times the damage.
I like this element but in the end, I seems like it is only there to make people use up their energy quicker so that they have to wait or buy to play more. I don’t have anything against these types of freemium games in the Google Play Store, but I have become jaded about them. I have played plenty that were balanced more toward fun than toward making money. It’s just a very fine line that the developers have to walk down before it stops being fun. I haven’t played any of DeNA’s other mobile titles so I’ll have to give this one a chance before I can decide on how it is.
Have you had a chance to play Marvel Mighty Heroes? Did you think it was fun or were you instantly turned off by the in-app purchases? I enjoyed it for what it was at first, but the game is very dependent on a low ping in order to play fluidly. I generally don’t have a problem with these games with Comcast as an ISP but when I played it tonight it was struggling to play smoothly. Maybe the game just doesn’t play well on the LG G3, but I also saw reviews in the Google Play Store talking about slow WiFi routers making the game laggy. I’m curious to see what your experience with the game has been though so let me know in the comments section below.
[appbox googleplay com.dena.west.MarvelArena]
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