Psst. Hey, kid. Wanna be a superhero? Marvel: Avengers Alliance has long been a popular game choice for aspiring defenders of justice who maybe aren’t so keen about moving from their armchair and facing off against evil on cold, rainy days. The strategic role-playing game has finally hit Android, so hooray for buffing up the forces of good.
Now, here’s the problem: If you haven’t yet played Avengers Alliance, you might find the game a bit too slow and reliant on in-app purchases to engage you. And if you’re already a fan, you’re definitely going to be put off by the news that you can’t access your Facebook game through your Android device. If you’ve been playing Avengers Alliance since its conception in early 2012, that potentially means leaving behind a lot of progress (and money) for the sake of convenience and mobility.
Welcome to SHIELD
You play through Avengers Alliance as a rookie SHIELD recruit who’s granted a curiously huge amount of responsibility. Nick Fury calls on your skills following “The Pulse,” a strange worldwide EMP incident that renders most of the planet’s electronics useless. To make things even fishier, several villain organizations are seeking to obtain the curious “Iso-8” material that was left behind by the blast. Iso-8 is deadly, powerful, and it’s unlikely the worst villains in the Marvel universe would want to use it for breeding cuter, cuddlier kittens. You must team up with the Avengers (and maybe a few other Marvel heroes) to reclaim the alien isotope.
Avengers Alliance is a turn-based role-playing experience seasoned with a dash of strategy. You and your stable of unlocked Marvel heroes take turns exchanging blows with enemies on a mission-to-mission basis. Enemies attack in waves of three or less, so don’t breathe too deeply just because you took out two bioterrorists: More are certainly on the way.
Your avatar’s weapons include guns, knives, and other admittedly mundane fare, but your powered-up pals have their trademark weapons at their disposal. Iron Man shoots blasts from his palm; Black Widow does the martial arts thing; Hawkeye fires arrows; Thor has Mjolnir, and so on.
Slow and Steady
The battles in Avengers Alliance tend to plod. Everything is slow, including attack animations and battle speed. Even accessing menus and picking items you’ve won off the battlefield comes with a delay. Even old Super Nintendo RPGs move far more quickly, and are more exciting to participate in.
There’s an admittedly interesting Paper-Rock-Scissors element going on with the fighters, however. Most of the good guys and bad guys fall under a certain class that’s weak against another class, but strong against others. “Blasters” (projectile weapon specialists that include Iron Man, Cable, and Phoenix) do well against “Bruisers” (Hulk, Juggernaut, Thing). However, Blasters are also subject to additional damage from Tacticians (Hawkeye, Captain America, Cyclops). There’s nothing here that’s necessarily as exciting as a well-planned Pokemon battle, but it gives you something to think about.
Team Good Enough
Avengers Alliance is, in a word, okay. It’s not an offensive experience, but “average” isn’t necessarily a word you want to use to describe a game teeming with history’s coolest comic book heroes. Accessing those heroes, by the way, costs quite a bit. As you’d probably expect, Marvel’s best and brightest are locked behind high sums of premium currency – likely far more than you’re willing to grind for. This makes the inability to utilize your Facebook data all the more problematic.