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Thursday, December 11, 2014

FIRST IMPRESSIONS: Marvel Contest of Champions for Android

Marvel's latest 3D fighting game Contest of Champions finally lands on Android, and I got the chance to play for a bit. Okay, maybe not just a bit. Okay, I admit I've played this game practically the whole day, and I'd like to share my thoughts on what must be a godsend for Marvelites itching to have a mobile game with the same caliber as DC's mobile port of Injustice: Gods Among Us.


MOBILE FIGHTING AT ITS SUPERHEROIC


Marvel Contest of Champions uses the familiar swipe-based gameplay used in some mobile fighters, more popularly in DC's Injustice: Gods Among Us. You tap the right side of the screen for a light attack, swipe right for a medium attack, or tap and hold right for a special strong attack. You can also block or dodge by tapping and swiping the left side of the screen. Easy to learn, difficult to master, but once you get the hang of it you'll be kicking and punching dudes senseless in no time.


Each character (or Champion as the game calls them) has their own unique special moves that you can access when your energy meter fills up to maximum by attacking or getting hit. Deadpool can slice you up or get a comedic cutscene before he blows your brains out, or Rightclops Cyclops can unleash the whole fury of the punch dimension into your solar plexus.



Fights can get a bit repetitive though, since some characters have virtually identical movesets, in which case the Champion that's been upgraded more will prevail. But though the beat-em-ups blend into each other, there's one thing I like about the game that stands out.


A COMIC BOOK GAME


Marvel Contest of Champions looks and sounds fantastic. I love the beefy look of the characters that make them look larger-than-life. The stages you fight in are even ripped straight from the comic book page (like Asgard's treasure room and Avengers Tower), and the game is chock full of little details that breathes life to the world you’re fighting in. The Eye of Agamotto stares at you while you fight your battle in the astral plane, and you can take in the majestic views of the Savage Land while Master Mold looms in the distance. It's enough to make any Marvel fan weep.


Of course, this ain't a comic book game if there isn't a story to go with it. Here, you gain the role of the Summoner, chosen by the Collector to represent Earth and battle Kang the Conqueror in a cosmic game of chess, using Earth's mightiest heroes and villains as your Champions. Having played some of the levels, the story so far is simple yet interesting, and gives you a good reason to punch other heroes or villains in the face with minimum setup. Bravo!

But while the game looks and feels good, there's one thing that's keeping it from greatness...


NOT SO FREE-TO-PLAY



Marvel Contest of Champions is free-to-play…to a point. The game suffers from a lot of the same complaints gamers have with "freemium" games, like the fact that early into the game you'll find yourself tediously grinding for consumables because half your team's dead or their level's too low, in which case you'll be forced to wait four your energy to recharge...or pay out the nose with real-world currency to get them sooner.


So instead of getting to play the game as often as you want, you'll spend time waiting for your energy to recharge so you could go on missions, or wait for your Champions to regain their stamina to fight in Versus mode, or wait for daily Crystals where you may or may not get consumables or new Champions. That's a lot of waiting.

Not to mention the fact that you can't just buy your favorite Marvel characters as Champions...Hero Crystals give you a chance at a random hero! Frustrating when you get the same character as last time, but uber satisfying when you get someone new.


Oh, and have I mentioned you need to be connected to the internet to play? Oh yeah, you really want me to play this game a lot, I can tell.

THE VERDICT


I admit, I'm just sticking with the game because it looks amazing and I'm simple enough to please that beating Captain America senseless with an a-hole Cyclops multiple times is my idea of fun, freemium pay wall be damned. From what I've seen so far, it's safe to say that Marvel Contest of Champions is a simple yet fun mobile fighting game that captures the essence of superhero comic book battles better than most.

Marvel Contest of Champions is now available for free on Android and iOS devices. Who's your favorite hero to use? How's the game treating you so far? Drop me a comment below and let's talk about it. Thanks for reading!

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