Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Match-3 Meets Matt Murdock: Marvel Puzzle Quest Ryview

Marvel Puzzle Quest, by D3PA.

If you like Match-3 games and shooting people with lasers, this game is for you.

I was a bit hesitant to get into this game because of its Match-3 nature, but I found myself pleasantly surprised by the gameplay. Every color you match gets collected into your teams pool, which you can then use to charge powers corresponding to those colors. Hawkeye may have a purple power, whereas Iron man has a red power, a yellow power, and a blue power. Pretty cool mechanic that forces you to orient you strategy towards those colors.

Each character also has a certain amount of damage they do for each color. And the damage your team does is based on the max damage that one of your characters can do. Not only that, but the symbol on each tile corresponds to its best champion, and whoever you lead with during a move is the one who takes damage for the team.

If this all sounds pretty awesome, it is. But the major flaw in the game is that NONE OF THIS IS EXPLAINED!!1!

Here, have a picture [2]

For having a long (and tedious) railroaded intro, the game does very little to explain how it actually works. It would be a great tutorial for people who have never played a Match-3 game before, but since this isn't 2002 most of us have. And basically nothing that makes this game so unique and fun is explained in that tutorial. Most of my knowledge about the game has come from the forums, which are thankfully quite vibrant.

Now, setting aside the absolutely horrid tutorial, the game itself is quite fun. There is a little bit of a story (although it's not particularly worth your time to read it...) and there are rotating events that keep rewards flowing and maintain a nice mixture of buffed characters (usually 3 or 4 are superpowered during an event, a nice touch).

The leveling and roster system can get heartbreaking at times, but after getting over the initial shock of not being able to recruit everyone it works pretty well. You have a small number of hero slots, and in order to level up characters you have to get duplicate "covers" for them, which will improve their powers and allow you to spend ISO-8 to upgrade their damage and health. Also not explained in game is that you can't max out most champions powers. Most characters have 3 powers that each individually can get up to level 5, but you can't exceed at total of 13 for any given character.

And those finite slots can be upgraded with premium currency, but it's a slow haul. For characters you don't have space for, you get 14 days to recruit them before they're gone for good. Lots of lower level characters will come back easier for cheap random recruitment, but the higher level characters are tough to part with. You really need to consider how much you like each character, and that can get a little rough.

Seriously, I can't think of anything witty to say about these...[3]

The energy system in this game has ups and downs as well. It's based on health, which recharges over time or can be healed fully by rechargeable health packs. This has the double edged effect of letting you play for hours without needing to stop. It's great if you hate energy based games that make you stop after 10 minutes of play each hour, but it's awful for having a life. And since there are competitions against other players during events, having the option of semi infinite play can be a real headache.

That being said, I have not felt particular pressure to spend money on it. It would be a quick way to boost ahead, but the events have a fairly good system of pitting you against actual peers to in general you shouldn't feel too overwhelmed by pay-to-win gamers.

Overall, I'm enjoying the game, and I think any Match-3 or marvel fan would as well. It's a fun game to play every once in awhile, and if you choose one event in a week or 2 to really dedicate time to, you can get some nice rewards and then forget about the game for months at a time. So I'd say try it out, kill some bad dudes, and enjoy yourself.

Let me know what you think in the comments!

Until next time,


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