Game Review Mobile
TAW Going Mobile: Marvel Puzzle Quest
Let’s face it, the match three puzzle games birthed from the barstool classic Bejewelled are never going away. Every gamer in the world has at one point or another had one of these on their mobile phone. Candy Crush:Saga at one point had 94 million active players a month. That’s one quarter the US population playing a Candy Land themed match three game that is the absolute definition of repetitive simplicity. The one thing that kept match threes held at bay was the fact that they overwhelmingly appealed to females. This gave rise to match threes specifically targeted toward male demographics. The first of note was Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords, by Infinity Interactive. The game’s developer then realized that almost any property could be tied to the formula with a match three battle mechanic and from there it was off to the races with D3 Publishing taking on any developer that could get rights to a property that would fit their model. In 2013, they struck paydirt with Demiurge Studios and the rights to the wildly popular Marvel Comics line-up with Marvel Puzzle Quest.
There is an old saying that if you are going to do the same old thing you better darn well be the best at doing it and that is exactly what MPQ manages to do. I has a much more intuitive and streamlined use of the match three battle system that restricted to match damage and power usage, without the complications found in spell and effect systems that are built into similar match three battle games. While this can for time to time lead to bad luck matches where a loss is more or less the result of the random tile generator never giving the player the tiles needed to activate their powers, the overall simplicity makes for an enjoyable gameplay experience that can be picked up and mastered quickly. With a well balanced team, players can take on higher level challenges with success. Where Marvel Puzzle Quest really shines, however, is in its integration of the Marvel universe and its complete lack of a barrier to entry. They game always ties in new playable characters, or covers, and events with upcoming Marvel events, such as a civil war team event to coincide with the Marvel Civil War movie release, complete with new Iron Man and Captain America covers to collect. This keeps the game fresh for older players while newer players can continue building from the library of over 130 covers from the comic books, graphic novels, animated series, and cinematic universe. The cost of roster slots for new covers also increases over time, keeping long time players from completely out pacing the game unless serious real world coin is involved. The game also offers a variety of ways to utilize micro transactions for those so inclined. Players can spend relatively low amounts of money to get 30 days of extra login gifts along with VIP awards for victorious battles, or they can spend a moderate amount to get in game currency for random covers or expansion slots (all of which can be earned for free over time with no ads), or a player can pay a king’s ransom to buy specific covers to complete their collections.
Marvel Puzzle Quest is a match three game. Plain and simple. However it is an extremely balanced and well done match three game that is simple and smooth enough that even those typically not inclined towards pop cap style puzzle games could likely find it an entertaining distraction, especially if they are fans of the Marvel universe. The inclusion of original cover art (this the term covers) for each playable character along with contemporary mini bios can also add to the enjoyment of the ubiquitous superhero action movies that flood the theaters every month. Even if match three isn’t your game, MPQ is worth a look.