The whole free-to-play (F2P) video game debate has essentially formed three schools of thought around the concept that range from absolute disgust, to a full on embracing attitude of the new marketing strategy. Gamers either love F2P games and manage to get hours of enjoyment out of them without spending a penny, hate them and the concept altogether and discount any F2P game as being a worthy experience, or buy into the in-game purchases and spend shit tons of real world cash to accelerate the waiting game that almost always compliments free mobile titles.
I fall into the first category, and I’m not ashamed to admit that, because in today’s world there are more than a few F2P mobile titles that can keep you gaming on the cheap for months, if not years. In fact, I now have five F2P games on rotation that easily grant me an hour or two of addicting, yet simple and quick gameplay each and everyday. It’s hard to complain about that, and say what you will about my habits, but I do look forward to firing up the likes of Star Wars Commander, Boom Beach, CoD: Heroes, and SimCity BuildIt a few times throughout my day.
I have since added a new F2P game to the lineup, and I’m already finding it to be just as addictive, if not more so than the four games I rattled off above, even though its gameplay is the definition of braindead. The game I’m referring to is none other than Marvel Mighty Heroes, which released a few weeks ago and features gameplay that is very similar to an online horde mode in which each level of a specific mission requires you, and three other players to either defend, or survive against a timed wave of enemies, or to work together to take down a boss. The boss missions feel like mini-two-minute MMO raids, which this game does sort of feel like genre wise, albeit in a very condensed and dumbed down form.
The mind boggling aspect of my new addiction is that the gameplay is severely moronic, not in the sense that it is designed with flaws and is a bitch to play, but simply because it consists of nothing more than tapping and swiping on your touch enabled device, which quite frankly you don’t even have to do and can still earn points and rewards for each mission you complete. Each mission plays out on a small map and features yourself and three other superheroes. From there, waves of AI enemies will flood the map, which requires you to start tapping on them whack-a-mole style to take them out. Some heroes have superpowers that can be kicked off with another tap of an onscreen button, which even sometimes requires you to aim your tap, so I guess there is a bit of skill involved, but any living being with the ability to touch a screen could still earn Event Points–the game’s main scoring units that set your leaderboard tier rank and rewards–just by arbitrarily tapping anywhere on the screen.
Hell, if you really wanted to you could do nothing but stay out of harm’s way and still score EP to unlock various rewards like new heroes, upgrade canisters, Battle Energy, which is this game’s coin system that unlocks levels for you to play, and other buffs. I have earned so many BE canisters that I could play this game for hours on end without ever forking over real money, which could be one reason why this F2P title is so addicting; it actually makes it pretty easy for you to keep at it for long sessions without forcing you into buying in-game money.
Another reason why I’ve become so addicted to Marvel Mighty Heroes is simply because of its eye catching art style. I’m a sucker for the super deformed/chibi art form, which this game portrays perfectly in its miniature big head having versions of some of Marvel’s most iconic characters. Just having the opportunity to freely unlock potential new heroes, or new costumes for the heroes is worth firing the game up at least once a day to get your free spin in the game’s store, because these little dudes and dudettes are charming as all hell to look at and use in battle. I look forward to the moment when my 24 hour timer expires each day, which allows me to recruit a hero for free just to see if I am lucky enough to get a whole new hero to use, or a new costume variant that completely changes the look of an existing hero. Watching a crew of four chibi-sized Marvel heroes take on villains and other henchmen is just simply awesome and enjoyable, and it also helps that the sound effects given to each character also resemble what you’d expect to hear from them in an animated movie or cartoon series.
The whole tier-based Leaderboard system also contributes to the addictiveness of Marvel Mighty Heroes. By participating in the game’s week long campaigns that are made up of various defend, survive, and kill missions, you can earn EP that goes towards your week long total. Based on your total you will be placed into one of five tiers that range from Bronze to Vibranium. Everyday a cutoff line is set in each tier that will either keep you in your existing tier, drop you to a lower one, or promote you to a higher one depending on your EP total each day. When I first saw this setup I figured I’d never be able to move out of the Bronze tier, which would relegate me to receiving the worst rewards at the end of the week’s current campaign (you get serious payouts each week, making logging in each day worth it), but after playing for close to two weeks I’ve found that progressing tiers isn’t as demanding as I first thought. In fact, I’m now in the second highest tier class, which if I maintain until the end of this week’s campaign, I’ll get two new advanced heroes, and a ton of upgrade canisters for my heroes, as well as enough Battle Energy to keep me playing for free and unimpeded by mission costs for the foreseeable future.
Like all F2P games, Marvel Mighty Heroes does offer currency that can be used to fast track recruiting new heroes, or buying more Battle Energy to keep playing, but through quests, which are essentially achievements, you can earn cash for free to use in the game’s store, so with patience you can buy items from the store without dipping into your own wallet. But like I mentioned earlier, with all of the rewards you earn from playing, you really never have to worry about buying more BE to keep going, in fact, the BE canisters regenerate every 20 minutes, and you have 20 of them in total, so even with a little bit of patience you can log some serious gameplay with this title completely for free each day.
Marvel Mighty Heroes’ gameplay is completely rudimentary and brainless, but its other attributes such as its bitching super deformed visuals and reward system make it an addicting experience that is hard not to fire up at least a couple of times each day. The experience can be further enhanced thanks to the game’s on-line co-op, but it still provides enough entertainment to get a few missions in during lulls in your day by your lonesome. If you haven’t checked it out yet I highly encourage you to do so. Give it some time and I believe it may grow on you like it has with me, giving you yet another high-quality F2P mobile gaming experience at the tip of your fingers.
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