An MMO based on the Marvel Universe was always to be expected, surely. Given the immense popularity of the genre and the company, the two seem to be a match made in heaven. Marvel Super Hero Squad Online might be aimed at a young audience, but with the upcoming Marvel Heroes still far off, it’s still worth a shot.
The first thing to point out about Marvel Super Hero Squad Online is that the game is free-to-play and is based primarily in your browser. There is an initial download of game files required but after that you can play the entire game within the one window. The primary goal of the game is to build up a squad of Marvel heroes in order to complete missions and defeat villains. A simple premise but it has a lot of neat touches. The sheer number of heroes at your disposal is quite impressive. Captain America, Iron Man and Spider-Man are all givens, but lesser known heroes such as Vision, Wasp and Scarlet Spider also make appearances. Several characters also have different fan pleasing versions or costumes, such as Ultimate Spider-Man’s Miles Morales and a Bucky version of Captain America. The game is also receiving constant updates with new heroes to add to the ‘collect ‘em all’ feel. The only downside is that some heroes are tied into the subscription based ‘Jr. S.H.I.E.L.D Agent ’ account, meaning that you must pay to access some heroes like Deadpool and Nick Fury.
The main portion of the game is based within the missions. Your selected hero is added into a group with three other players with a goal to defeat the villain of the mission as well as groups of smaller enemies. Villains appearing in missions include Magneto, Red Skull and Kingpin which is another great mix from across the Marvel universe. Combat is very simplistic, being little more than clicking on an enemy and watching your character pull a combo on them. Character-unique special moves (a Spider Swing from Spider-Man for example) can also be used if your character has a power star. Your characters will level up and deal more damage accordingly – adding longevity to the game. Again, missions and challenges are added frequently with each one offering a slightly different scenario.
To add to the mountain of content already available in the game, there’s also a heavily addictive card game complete with booster packs and online play. Each playable card is based on a Marvel character and has an attack type and a block type. You can use that card to block the type listed and it can be blocked by any cards your opponent has that match. It’s incredibly addictive to build and maintain a deck to take online against the world. For a mode that could just be a simple time sink, it’s surprisingly strategic as you try to balance your deck against the various types you come across. This mode also features quests similar to the main game’s missions, where you’ll duel against various characters with a story to tie it together.
Stylistically, the game looks fantastic. Due to its target audience, the game is very colourful and suits the Marvel universe perfectly. It’s the perfect tool to introduce a completely new generation to classic characters. Each character also comes with its own voice acting which is fairly impressive considering the number of characters. They’re not all fantastic but there are a couple of familiar voices on the cast, including Robert Englund, Ron Pearlman and Tara Strong.
This game is no doubt incredibly different to what Marvel fans would want in an MMO but that’s not to say it’s a bad game. In fact, considering it is in no way made for a fan of my age, I had a lot of fun with the game. It was never going to be as deep as the likes of World of Warcraft but it’s a great game to load up and have a couple of minutes fun with. In particular, the card game and collect ‘em all approach to squad building will have players coming back time and time again.