Now, I love me my comic books, I also love me my fighting games, what I absolutely adore (asides from my wife) are comic book fighting games. Marvel Vs Capcom: Clash of Super Heroes? Love it. Marvel Super Heroes? Love it. Mortal Kombat Vs. DC Universe? Love it. The daddy of them all, Injustice: Gods Among Us? You’ve guessed it, love it.
Such games can actually sway me into purchasing the console it is played on if I don’t already have it. I was late to the Sega Dreamcast and purchased it mainly for the Marvel Vs. Capcom titles, oh and Shenmue of course…
Mobile gaming is the latest arena that these games are battling on with the epic Injustice: Gods Among Us being released on iOS and Android back in 2013. It is one of the few mobile titles that I still play regularly. Regular readers will know that I unashamedly gushed over the game in the past.
However, Marvel wanted in on the game, and late last year, they and developer’s Kambam have gifted us with Marvel Contest of Champions.
Everybody was Super Hero Fighting
Contest of Champions is hugely similar to the mobile version of Injustice, which is no bad thing as that game was, and still, is awesome. It also seems to be ever so slightly loosely based on the 1982 limited comic book series Marvel Super Hero Contest of Champions by Mark Gruenwald, John Romita Jr., and Bob Layton. This is a book I’ve read but don’t recall a single detail so I’m going to have to dig it out of the garage for a flick through.
One of the first thing that hits you are the presentation and graphics, whilst Injustice was dark and broody, Champions is colourful and brash in a way that only Marvel Super Hero games know how. This is no bad thing as the graphical detail is beyond anything you typically see for such types of games on mobile platforms, Injustice included. The character models are pretty good, even if there is a certain amount of reused animation between similar characters. The audio isn’t great, there’s not much variation in music and characters are burdened with generic shouts and groans. Some character specific calls would have been nice, but hey, it’s a free game, so you can’t have everything.
Much like Injustice before it, in Champions you tap the screen to perform light attacks, swipe to perform heavier attacks, and there is a gauge to build up so you can unleash your special moves. The special moves are nice, but they lack the impact or gravitas of those seen in Injustice.
Players start with a couple of characters, but as you play you quickly begin to add more to your roster, and what a line up it is. Sure, you get the big name heroes like Spider-Man, Iron Man, and the Incredible Hulk but they’ve also thrown in people like Black Bolt (Inhumans), Iron Fist, and Ronan the Accuser. A clear nod to future Marvel movie projects. This is fan service and then some…
Each character is assigned to a particular class (Cosmic, Skill, Tech, Mutant, Science, or Mystic), and classes essentially related to the characters powers, for example, Cyclops is a mutant, so guess which class he is in? Dr. Strange is the Sorcerer Supreme which places him in the Science class… Well, it would do if he had trained at Hogwarts, or something…
You’re the Best Around (nearly)
As well as the main quest, where you work your way through the story map, players can also jump online for a bit of one on one or take part in some of the many 3 on 3 time limited arenas where you can earn gold, crystals, ISO-8 (of course) and other doohickeys to level up your characters, or to trade in for a chance to win higher starred characters. It should be noted that this isn’t true online multiplayer, you’re simply playing against computer controlled of other player’s characters, something I found out when I found that I was able to pause such a game and come back to it much later without the other player getting irate…
Of course, being a free-to-play game you can, instead of grinding, throw money at your tablet or phone and buy your way through the game. Yup, the dreaded micro/mega-transactions. Having said that, the game is more generous than most in rewarding you goodies, but, like most, the demands get more steep the further you get in the game. However, this is now standard for modern mobile games, can you imagine if Snake on your old Nokia charged you for having longer snakes?
Sadly, where Champions falls down before the might of Injustice is in the need for a constant internet connection. Who does it think it is? Original Xbox One announcement? With Injustice, you can play off-line and sync up later. This really lets it down and will hopefully be addressed at some point. In the meantime you can go online to trash talk other players via the chat forum thingy, but be warned, there are some horrid little scrotes on there. While we’re at it, which character you win seems to be completely random and annoying. In Injustice you can buy them with coins or whatnot, here I’ve “won” Gamora and The Scarlet Witch several times over. It’s just as well that duplicates are traded in for gold and the like.
It’s the Eye of the Agamotto, it’s the Thrill of the Fight
If you’re a fan of Marvel and mobile fighting games then downloading this and investing some time in it is a no brainer (just make sure you have a constant internet connection.) Is this game better than Injustice: Gods Among Us, its closest competitor? No, I don’t think so. Is it worse? This I also don’t think so. The two games are very similar in the main with different additions which suit the particular title. If you were only allowed to download one or the other then it boils down to which universe you prefer, Marvel or DC.
This is a (Hulk) smash(ing) game and will certainly keep you occupied for some time.