Marvel has had plenty of titles when it comes to smartphone games. One quick search on the Play Store with the keyword ‘Marvel’ will throw up at least six official titles. Among all those titles, you’ll find common elements like leveling up your heroes, spending in game currencies to unlock gear and abilities, and in-app purchases to help with everything in general. Hence, you cannot blame us if we approached Marvel Strike Force expecting repetition. We got what we were expecting and yet it wasn’t an entirely boring experience.
Marvel Strike Force – Gameplay
If you’ve played any turn-based combat games, you know what you are getting into with Marvel Strike Force. You start off with Spiderman, and unlock Luke Cage and a S.H.I.E.L.D medic and unlock more heroes as you progress through the game’s first campaign, Heroes Assemble. Each level plays out similarly. The story in Marvel Strike Force starts off with an inter-dimensional threat which has several villains cooperating, from Kingpin to Hydra, to bring about an invasion that our heroes must stop – an invasion of corrupted versions of the very same heroes from an alternate dimension.
The roster and the ropes
You have hero characters and villain characters available to build your squad from the roster before each mission. Different missions can have restrictions of their own. For instance, on Hero missions, you cannot recruit villains like Crossbones or Elektra to fight for you. Certain missions require you to focus on taking out particular enemy units first. The turn based gameplay manages to stay interesting with a tried and tested formula. For instance, it is a good idea to use the Taunt ability with Luke Cage early on so that he takes all the damage (Tanks everywhere!) while your other squad members finish off the enemies one by one. You will also find your squad members teaming up randomly to perform some really cool attacks and finishers. The camera goes into dynamic mode for special situations which makes these moves look even cooler.
Marvel Strike Force doesn’t overwhelm you with an insane roster like the one in Marvel Future Fight. While we haven’t been able to finish the entire game, our guesses are that more heroes will be added as you finish campaigns, or as Infinity War approaches and even after that. You also get timed events that give you special rewards – we got Elektra and Crossbones added to our roster through a couple of these.
The gear and the grind
The roster itself offers a lot to do. For instance, you can spend in-game gold to level up your players – which is something you have to do every now and then if you intend to keep winning those missions. You can also equip gear that you unlock with each mission. The gear varies between relevant and absolutely random. For instance, Spiderman gets to equip a web-shooter to increase his stats, but there’s also a super-general S.T.R.I.K.E tactics manual that almost anyone can equip. You can unlock each of these gears and equipment by unlocking Orbs (lootboxes) that the game generates, or as in app purchases. Replaying certain missions also give you the chance to unlock gear – so the grind element is quite significant here. But that is not where its significance ends. You will reach a point in the game where you cannot win matches with your current squad maxed out without IAPs. At that point, grinding for characters that you haven’t been able to unlock yet is your only (free) option. You could technically pay for power cores and use them to unlock orbs or characters and gear directly. You can even pay to replay levels more often – which is restricted to five replays per 7 hours usually.
Campaigns and autoplay
The primary campaign is six chapters long, with each chapter coming with 9 missions. There are at least three additional campaigns – Villains United, Nexus and Cosmic Conflicts with another upcoming campaign Mystic Forces Rising. So, as you can tell, there’s a lot of content to go through here. And if playing through all of these missions one by one gets boring, you can opt for the auto-mode in each mission, and even speed it up to 3x, to have the turns made for you. But don’t expect any of that dynamic camera magic with that. Also, keep in mind that the auto-mode doesn’t understand contextual missions. So unless you specifically target particular enemies, it will just pick the default option and go with it. The game also offers an auto-win option for certain missions after you’ve reached certain levels – a thoughtful for players going after those grinds.
While at certain points you may feel like you’ve reached a cap in terms of how far you can go without paying for IAPs, but trust us, stick to the grind and you’ll soon have new game modes unlocked that will help you progress in the main campaign. For instance, the challenge mode gives your rewards like Orb fragments which help you unlock new heroes. The XP itself will level you, and your heroes, up – making them stronger and making current missions easier to clear.
The Mad Titan
One of the best things about playing the game right now is that you get to play the ‘The Mad Titan’ limited time event – which is different from Infinity War – where you have to take Thanos’ help to fight against Ultimus, while making sure you don’t let Thanos take over. You get to play some really cool and relevant characters right now like Star Lord (he dances on the battleground here too!), Gamora, Thanos himself and more. Give this game a shot.
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Crash..boom..crash!!! That's the sound of an extraterrestrial cyborg being knocked down mid flight. He is still not completely functional, and while he fixes himself, you might find him engulfed in humanity's most addictive invention - what you call "gaming". After all, its the only thing that simulates his dimension so well. Please note - Do not engage, not unless you come bearing food.