The barrage of mobile Marvel games keeps coming. A few days ago Disney released Avengers Alliance 2. A sequel to the turn based social media game where players assembled strategic teams of heroes and villains to poke each other until you inevitably ran out of game currency. It was probably the only time you ever dug through your Facebook friends list to see who could be bothered to gift you an extra minute or two of game time. For awhile it was comic book fan Candy Crush.
Published by Disney Interactive, this new Avengers Alliance has a distinct feel from its predecessor. Really only comic aficionados could get any enjoyment from the first game. Not that the fences were soo high but it felt like a Marvel skin on a Pokemon game. Once the initial enjoyment of pairing Spider-Man and Wolverine together in a quest to take down Sabertooth wore off attrition sets in and only die hard fans can find value in grinding everyday to earn enough shards, iso-8, or gold or whatever weird thing is suppose to pass for currency in the game to buy a new character. Turn based gaming is too much of an acquired taste for most. Avengers Alliance 2 fixes… well not too much really.
Avengers Alliance 2 focuses on the MCU team. While it might not ever be the Avengers team we see in comics going forward, it is one that casual fans will instantly recognize. Seeing the same five lead every little thing outside of comics might be tiring to the comic book faithful, but gaming has to appeal to a broader audience with familiarity so here we are. AA puts Cap, Hulk, Iron Man, Black Widow, Thor, and Hawkeye up against Thanos. Even though he has yet to be the focus of any MCU film, the pruned purple menace is embedded in the minds of the bigger movie audience. The face and the gauntlet might not be known by name, but they are now considered recognizable to most people. Yes, there will be other extended Marvel characters to be unlocked. Five minutes in and I got Danny Rand, cool. It’s still turned based gameplay in which fans of the original will be accustomed to. Pick a team. Pick a move. Hit the opponent. Wait to get hit five times. Repeat. The package its in is a lot prettier this time around. Avengers Alliance has a more 3D looking feel to it instead of the –paper stickers on a mat– look of the first game. Areas like Manhattan are shown as a city with streets not just brick wallpaper with a street sign. Small victories!
Mechanically the game works fine. Loading times are minimal, touch response is almost 1-to-1; meaning you won’t crack your screen from frustration trying to hit a tiny button on the corner of your iPhone. The problem is mobile gaming has yet to figure out that comic fans want better story and gamers want good end game. After a few rounds you don’t really feel the need to keep playing because there’s no light at the end of the carpel tunnel or really enough jazz to captivate in the hopes of a confrontation with Thanos later.
Marvel Avengers Alliance 2 mobile is available now for free on Android and iOS devices. It’s worth the price of admission and a few minutes of your time, but not much else. Thankfully my Facebook friends don’t have to know I’m playing this time around.
Speaking of Marvel missed potential. Their other recent mobile release Avengers Academy got an Awesome Mix. The game is another Marvel mobile endeavor that misses the mark but does bring a great voice cast together featuring the likes of John Cena as the Hulk. Today, players can add the Guardians of the Galaxy to their ever growing teenage hero roster. The in-game event consist of a mission where the team has escaped the clutches of Ronan the Accuser to crash land on the campus. Players will investigate to collect shards which unlock characters like Rocket Raccoon, Gamora, and the rest. Avengers Academy the mobile game is available for free download on Android and iOS.
It’s been some time now since the mega corporation known as Disney acquired Marvel. Even with over 7,500 characters to pull from, we have yet to see a great triple-A game come from that purchase. After all the MCU success, the Telltale Games partnership on the horizon, and assets of canceled games making their rounds on the internet perhaps it’s not too much to hope for that this will be the year Marvel’s game licensing gets its act together.