Also On: Android
Publisher: Netmarble Games
Developer: Netmarble Games
I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that Marvel Future Fight, released last week on iOS and Android platforms, is the best Marvel related mobile title since Marvel Puzzle Quest. Yes, it’s a free-to-play title with a number of IAP hooks built in, but even if you’re hesitant to drop a dime on the game, I think you’ll find the free options surprisingly fun and addictive.
I say surprising because the last couple Marvel entries on iOS haven’t really lit my world on fire. Contest of Champions was a poor attempt at a Marvel themed fighter, and negative word of mouth killed any interest I would have had in Marvel Mighty Heroes. But Future Fight managed to get its hooks in early, with it’s RPG mechanics, character building, and resource collecting that can be a bit grindy, but not enough so that I’ll find myself growing bored with the game anytime soon.
The basics of Marvel Future Fight have you putting together a three man team comprised of starting heroes and villains from various parts of the Marvel Universe. While the MCU influence here is strong, you’ll get access to some pretty eclectic selections, like MODOK, Angela, Black Bolt, and Iron Fist, along with your more standard selection of Captain America, Iron Man, Black Widow and other notable Avengers. There’s a bunch of characters available within the game, even though it’ll take you quite some time to unlock them all.
You’ll take this team on various story focused missions to begin with, centering around an end of the world plot that features heroes and villains pulled from various alternate universes, with missions resulting in boss fights with those same heroes and villains. In between the story elements and the boss fights, you’ll have some actual levels to traverse, minions to thwomp, and items necessary for character progression to collect.
The stages are never particularly complex, they generally consist of a couple zones that funnel into encounters with five or six enemies, where upon defeat you’ll move to the next zone, knock out a few pockets of enemies, and then finally move to the final area where the boss awaits. Movement is handled in two ways, one by simply tapping where you want to go, the other by using a virtual joystick positioned in the left-bottom portion of the screen. I actually found myself preferring the joystick, simply because tapping for movement and then tapping to attack felt a little awkward and cumbersome.
Attacking is carried out by a primary attack button you tap, with your character automatically targeting a nearby enemy. You can easily switch between nearby foes however, by flicking the virtual joystick in a direction that faces the enemy you want to hit. Every character has two additional skills as well, which are both on short cooldown timers. These add more powerful attacks to your arsenal, and you’ll generally want to use them whenever they become available.
You can also opt to switch between your three team members at any time, and can do so as many times as you’d like. You’re also able to take a random player’s lead character into battle, but they can only be used once for about 10 seconds before they retreat. Typically you’ll make use of this function on boss battles only. You can also add friends across a variety of platforms, which also give you some bonuses in the form of SHIELD tokens used as an alternate currency for opening up random chests.
Which brings us to the in-app purchase portion of Marvel Future Fight. Using real world cash, you can purchase crystals, which are the primary in-game currency used in Future Fight. Crystals can be spent on a number of different things, but you’ll likely primarily spend them on Dimension Chests. These chests will randomly offer up Hero Biometrics, which can lead to unlocking new characters, or ISO-8 of varying rarity, which can be equipped to heroes to enhance various abilities. Crystals can also be used to purchase energy, consumed when attempting missions, and gold, used for upgrading skills and gear.
Buying crystals, starting at the lowest bundle, will run you $2.99 for 165 crystals. A single Dimension Chest will run 175 crystals. A ten-pack of Dimension Chests cost 1,575 crystals. There are higher crystal packs in larger dollar bundles that’ll net you some sort of minor discount, but I was a bit annoyed with the thought that the basic crystal pack was just shy of what you’d need for single Dimension Chest. Thankfully, the game does grant one free Dimension Chest per day. You can also earn crystals while playing, but they come in at a pretty slow rate.
On the plus side, you’ll rarely feel the urge to spend crystals on anything else. Energy is often readily available early on, as basic missions only cost 4 energy to complete, and every time you gain a new level that energy supply will replenish. Over time, as you progress further, this will obviously change, but with the achievement system also bestowing a number of energy awards, I rarely found myself dealing with any down time in Marvel Future Fight. The only real problem, from a resource perspective, comes from gold. As characters advance in level their skills can cost a lot, much more than most missions seem to grant. This could, and probably should, be rebalanced at some point, but it’s more of a nuisance than anything overly problematic.
I’m pretty impressed with how fun and engaging Marvel Future Fight is, and I think if you garner any enjoyment from the Marvel Universe, you’ll like enjoy this well-built free-to-play title. It’s quickly become the default thing to play on my iPad, quickly replacing Final Fantasy: Record Keeper. I’m looking forward to the content being expanded on, unlocking additional heroes and villains, and hopefully seeing some special events for Marvel Future Fight down the road.