Avengers: Age of Ultron opens tomorrow in the US. It has been three long years since we've seen Marvel's squad of superheroes team up against a common foe, and fans are hyped! What better way get even more hyped before the film (or keep the hype going after it ends) than a game featuring not only all of the Avengers, but also loads more Marvel characters all teaming up to save the world?
Today Netmarble released just such a game on mobile: Marvel Future Fight. The game lets players collect and build up a team of good and bad guys from the Marvel movies and comics and then put them to work stopping an interdimensional threat. Most excitingly, Marvel Future Fight actually looks and plays really well – it's practically a successor to the Marvel Ultimate Alliance series.
Heroes and villains team up against a common threat
Marvel Future Fight features a story penned by Peter David, co-creator of Spider-Man 2099 and a prolific comics author. The narrative comes to life between levels through pictures of characters talking to each other – not the most exciting way to tell a story. And yet, the writing is actually quite clever! David nails the banter and humor we expect our heroes to rely on when the chips are down, and even jokes about the robotic villain Ultron's origin having been changed in the latest Avengers movie.
The premise revolves around a mysterious apocalypse that has all but destroyed the future world. To save humankind from disaster, a dying Nick Fury sends the female robot Jocasta back in time to warn the Avengers. She must help them – and the player – build a team of heroes and villains strong enough to stop the dimension-hopping villains and save the world!
Heroes on a mission
Players start out with a team of three popular Avengers: Iron Man, Captain America (my fave), and Black Widow. You'll take these heroes (and eventually others) out on a sprawling main campaign consisting of nine chapters, each with multiple missions to play through. Being a free to play game, it costs energy to go on these missions – you know the drill.
Once in battle, you have the choice of two control schemes: 1-Touch or Pad. The 1-Touch style lets you tap anywhere on screen to move there, and tap enemies to attack them. Pad adds a virtual stick on the left and an attack button on the right. Both styles have on-screen buttons for each character's special moves, like Captain America's shield throw and Hawkeye's arrow barrage. I prefer the Pad style.
Running through short levels and pounding on bad guys proves quite fun. You can switch between your trio of heroes at any time. Each mission culminates in a boss, the first of which is (naturally) Ultron. You'll want to call in Striker (helper) characters to help deal with these stronger foes.
Collect them all
At launch, Marvel Future Fight has over 30 characters to collect, including the standard movie Avengers, Spider-Man and some of his friends and enemies, Thor's foes Loki and Malekith, and many more. You can unlock a character by finding a sufficient number of "Biometrics" for that character. These can be won from completing missions or by spending premium currency on Dimensions Chests, which award random prizes.
Marvel Future Fight has many of the trappings of the free to play format, such as the annoying energy mechanic. And eventually the missions start to get pretty hard, which will necessitate either some grinding or the purchase of premium currency.
Still, the game looks great, with faithful renditions of movie costumes for the characters who appear in films and comic costumes for those who haven't. The familiar action-RPG gameplay and strong writing help make Future Fight a fight worth having for Marvel fans.