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Friday, October 26, 2012

Review: Marvel: War of Heroes (iPad/iPhone)

Marvel has been a pretty hot property for a while now, and that popularity has only increased since the successful Avengers movie released over the summer. One such title that just released recently was Marvel: War of Heroes for mobile devices.


For those familiar with arguably most popular title, Rage of Bahamut, this is going to feel like very familiar territory. If you are unfamiliar with that title and curious, essentially it is a collectible card game based on swords and sorcery fantasy creatures and settings. I wrote up a review here, if you are curious what I thought about it.

It is pertinent information, because this new game is very, very similar to Rage of Bahamut. I have heard some people refer to it as RoB with a new coat of paint, and while that is close, it is not entirely accurate. When you first start playing Marvel: War of Heroes, you are guided through a tutorial that attempts to start you off on some sort of a storyline while giving you access to a handful of adequate cards. As you gain levels, make friends and accomplish missions, you ear stat points that can put into attack, defense and energy. 

Energy is used up during the mission portion. You tap the screen to attack the generic enemy, you lose a few predetermined energy points, you earn some experience and silver, and if you string enough attacks together without interruption you can earn an item. This item can range from a semi-random card to a resource. There are six colors of resource (for example, six colors of Storm's cape) that you can find, and if you grab them all, you unlock a special card for your deck.

Attack and defense come into play when you are trying to collect these treasures. You can attack another player and attempt to steal their treasure, as well as gain silver and mastery points for your cards. Every card comes with attack power, defense power and a cost. Usually the more powerful cards have a higher cost, and you can attack or defend with up to five cards at a time. How many or what combinations of cards you use depends on the total attack and defense points at your disposal.

All of this will feel very familiar to RoB fans, and so will a few of the other mechanics. You use lesser common and uncommon cards to boost the levels of your better cards, and this costs silver. If you have two of the same card, you can usually fuse them to create a stronger version of your card.  This also has a silver cost. This fusion process is very similar to, but handled just a bit differently, than in RoB. There is also something called 'mastery' on each card, and that max value varies depending on the card you are using. Mastery goes up as part of random mission rewards, through use as having it flagged as your primary card, and by having the card in your attack deck when it is successful. Once you max out mastery, your card unlocks some bonus attack and damage points. These last couple of elements are a bit different than what you get in Rage of Bahamut, but otherwise the rest of the format is very similar.

With games like this, Mobage is hoping to entice players into buying packs of cards for actual money. This probably happens quite a bit, but I am reporting it as someone who has not spent a dime on War of Heroes (the same can be said of Rage of Bahamut, which I am level 82 in now). I know some people are very skeptical of this model, and believe that you can only get really good cards through buying, but I have had some pretty good luck. My son and daughter also have accounts on their iDevices and I have been the most fortunate, getting an SS Rare Incredible Rage Hulk from one of the special booster packs that are part of the welcome aboard process. My son pulled an S Rare Doctor Strange card from one of his early super packs. The best card my daughter pulled was a Rare Jigsaw that was not nearly as good - definitely drawing the short straw on that one.


While I am a big fan of swords and sorcery fantasy, I have to admit that it is fun seeing favorite Marvel characters being used instead. There is some strategy involved with how you want to build your decks as some cards fall into different categories, and other cards have skills that can boost specific types of cards creating a synergy that may give you the edge during a player versus player match.

There are some things missing from Rage of Bahamut that I wish were present in Marvel: War of Heroes, such as the Bazaar for trading for specific cards.  You can trade with your friends, but the ability to search for what you want is pretty limited, as is only being allowed to trade with friends on there. Also, one of my favorite aspects to RoB has been the various events they have done every couple of weeks or so since I started playing, and while I am sure War of Heroes will have those eventually as well, I have not heard of anything announced as of yet.

Other shortcomings worth noting - there is no sound or music to this can so far as I can tell. I have seen it run on an iPhone 4, iPad 3 and iPad 1 with no audio of any kind. Also, so far the game appears to be an iPhone download, which means you can scale it larger on an iPad, but there is a loss of clarity. Rage of Bahamut has both an iPhone and iPad specific application, and the iPad one is much cleaner looking in layout, and you can appreciate the art as it looks crisper as well.

All of that being said, I have enjoyed Marvel: War of Heroes so far and fully intend to keep playing. As is often the case with games like this, using a referral link to play helps not only you, but the person who gave you their referral code. In this instance it unlocks a rather nice Black Widow card that is more than a little helpful to kick things off with, and if you decide to play - go ahead and use my referral code to get a quick start on things:

muu267365  (not that this is case sensitive)

Review: Marvel: War of Heroes (iPad/iPhone)
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