Marvel: Avengers Alliance

Facebook has evolved from just a basic way of keeping in touch, sharing photos and links and creepily stalking friends and exes. Now, you can waste even more time playing games. They come in every shade of nerd – from farm/castle/city simulators, to crazy side scrolling adventures and everything in between. For the most part, they’re fun, but not for very long. The need to get your friends involved or having to spend your hard earned money to get ahead has always made me drop them after a week or two of playing.

With the hype of the movie at a near deafening crescendo, Marvel has released their very first game to add into the hundreds of thousands of other Facebook games.. and it’s really good. I have to say that I squealed with excitement when I first was able to download it when it was initially released and I have been playing it ever since.

Here’s the breakdown.

OVERVIEW

Choose Your Team!

Basically, you take on the role of a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent (one you can customize) and have to team up with various members of the Avengers to defend Earth from the big, bad and extremely ugly. You start out working with a few of the more popular members of the Marvel team, but as you progress through the story, you’re able to unlock more. Within the Avengers, there are Blasters (Iron Man, Ms. Marvel), Scrappers (Iron Fist, Daredevil), Infiltrators (Black Widow, Invisible Woman), Tacticians (Captain America, Cyclops) and Bruisers (She-Hulk, Thor) – each class offering advantages to combat. With your agent, you can upgrade their weapons and armor and in addition (along with the members of the team), you can equip ISO-crystals which give bonuses to statistics.

GAME PLAY

Choose Your Mission!

The game is divided into chapters, each having six missions to complete. Within each mission, there are several battles that need to be won before you can take on the boss. Each battle has a ‘threat’ level ranging from low to high. There are also mini bosses that you can do battle with or options to send out members of your team to receive special items. Once you’ve completed a mission, you’re given an overall score and award ‘stars’ as well as a potential to win Command Points (which you use to buy new heroes).
You can play through the missions as many times as you want to get a 5-Star rating, after which you will be given a reward.

There are also ‘Tasks’ which aren’t necessary to progress, but will give you XP rewards if they are completed. Usually, they involve using a character X number of times, or helping them achieve a certain level.

S.H.I.E.L.D. Flight Deck

The Flight Deck allows you to send members off on special assignment to a variety of locations. Each location has a time allotted to them that your teammate won’t be able to be used in your missions, but the advantage to having them gone is that you will be awarded experience and money.

When PVP is unlocked, you can battle against other players. Here, you’re awarded a minimal amount of experience, but usually they come up as a ‘task’ (Win 5 PVP battles) from which you will be granted even more.

There are also options to Research new equipment, weapons and other supplies (with the use of SHIELD points). These points are gained through visiting the game of friends or gifting. You can get them in other ways, but it will likely slow down your game progression if you have absolutely no one else playing with you. Thankfully, even if its just you and one other person, there is a 50 gifts a day limit, so it’s easy to send each other everything you could need to help you through the managerial aspect of the game.

REVIEW

It's Hammer Time!

The graphic are great, each mission has it’s own map which are easy to navigate with a simple point and click of the mouse. During combat, there is movement to each of the characters when they punch, kick and blast their way through the enemies. Missions can get a little repetitive if you’re looking to get that 5-Star rating on each one – the perks are nice, but not totally necessary.

The learning curve is minimal, especially if you’ve bothered to play any other of the Facebook games out there. What’s fun, is that you can assemble your own team of characters and customize them however you like. The challenge comes with the team management, choosing which to have with you, and which to send away to earn money and experience. You also have to be wary of your resources, not wanting to spend all of your SHIELD points on research while having none left to train up your teammates.

It’s the most interactive Facebook game that I have ever played and easily the most enjoyable. You don’t need to rely on your own money or your friends to save the day – it helps, but you can do it all on your own. Marvel has set the bar high for all the other game developers and it’ll be interesting to see if DC follows in their footsteps and tries to take the social media empire by storm.

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