GamesBeat

Marvel War of Heroes distills superhero combat into card-based digestible chunks (preview)

DeNA really loves its card-based games. Last week, the mobile social gaming giant unveiled a brand new digital trading card title based on Hasbro’s Transformers universe, and today it reveals yet another with Marvel War of Heroes.

Spanning almost the entirety of Marvel Comic’s vast catalogue of superheroes and supervillains, Marvel War of Heroes adopts a template similar to DeNA’s Rage of Bahamut, a Japanese-developed  role-playing battle card game which made a strong impact in the U.S. iTunes App Store. (Rage of Bahamut is still the No. 3 top-grossing iOS app, almost three months after its release). By going with DeNA, Marvel is clearly going after a proven piece of the nascent app market with a proven partner.

Only several pieces of art (as illustrated by various Marvel artists) were shown during the demo in lieu of any screenshots or video of actual gameplay. In the single-player campaign, you’ll follow an original quest-driven storyline from the point of view of multiple characters, including Spider-Man, Thor, and the Black Widow. Completing quests award you experience points, skills, items, and of course, new cards to add to your deck.

Building and customizing this deck to fit your needs is the key objective of the game, especially when it comes to competing against others in player-versus-player (PvP) and team-based matches. From the library of your digital card collection, you can categorize them into specialized teams based on their stats — offensive teams, defensive teams, all heroes, or all villains were given as examples — for use during battle.

Any leagues or organizations from the Marvel universe, such as SHIELD or The Avengers, also come into play in the form of statistical bonuses if the right amount of heroes or villains are in your hand. DeNA wants to give you enough flexibility to combine the right set of cards and skills to prepare for any challenges you might face online.

A streamlined battle system 

If you’re anything like me, competitive card games like the long-running Magic: The Gathering series, or even Pokémon, can appear somewhat intimidating with its long list of rules and mechanics. With Marvel War of Heroes, however, the battle system is designed for you to pick up and play in just a few minutes.

“The beauty of these mobile game experiences is that the card battle rules are actually not as complex as something like Magic: The Gathering,” said Allen Ma, senior producer at Ngmoco, to GamesBeat. “Battles don’t take 30 minutes like a Magic game would take…. However many attack points you have, if it’s higher than the defensive skill of your opponent’s hand, you’re going to win that match. So battles are really quick, and the whole goal is in one session, you can have five or six battles and feel really awesome, and then close the game and move on with your day.”

Gotta collect ‘em all

Marvel War of Heroes is launching with somewhere between 100 and 200 different cards, with more to be added on a regular basis. In addition to earning cards from playing the storyline, you also have a chance of winning rare cards for your deck by participating in promotional events that DeNA will host throughout the coming months. You can start doing that today over at the game’s official website, where those who register will be sent a code for a special card that won’t be found anywhere else in the game.

Other events like weekend-long PvP tournaments and team-based battles (where you can join a group of players to take down a super boss, like Galactus) can net you special edition cards. Even duplicate cards can be combined to create more powerful versions of themselves.

“You can think of them as like foil cards,” said Ma, “where they’re better than the things that you can get [by] just playing the game. And that’s a huge motivator to continue to get better and level up and collect more cards and optimize your team, so that you can continue playing with your friends and do the things that you want.”

Marvel War of Heroes is slated for a global release on iOS and Android devices this fall.

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