Marvel comic book universe sure has come a long way since Iron Man 2008. That marked the debut movie for the Marvel Entertainment where they’ve covered complete production and naturally had all the freedom to create what they wanted. 10 years or so later, we’ve had a string of comic book movies that are all a part of that universe, which attracted audiences worldwide to those types of movies and inspired an endless stream of creativity.
During the last decade or so, many games also bear the signature of Marvel and use their characters, but Marvel Battle Lines is the first card game with such a unique gameplay style. Developed by the Nexon Company, who’s published almost 50 video game titles in during the last 10 years, the game was in soft launch stages until recently and now it is finally out.
Marvel Battle Lines story is set in present day, where we are brought it to a space station, under attack by Hydra Forces. It turns out Red Skull has found out the station that holds the Cosmic Cube, better known as the Tesseract from the movies. Iron Man, Captain America, Agent Coulson, Nick Fury, and others all rush in to defend the station and battle Red Skull. During the altercation, Cap and Skull have a close quarter combat and both dive in for the cube, and in that point it shatters, falling on earth in countless pieces.
People who obtain a small fragment of the cube become fused with its power. Just such fragment falls to the hands of a known criminal, Absorbing Man, who is immediately confronted by Iron Man on the street. You, the player, just happen to walk by and also pick up a cosmic fragment, and your first battle begins.
Iron Man gives you a glove which enables you to control the power now within you, as you battle the Absorbing man, easily defeating him. After seeing what you’ve done, Stark takes you to S.H.I.E.L.D. where agent Coulson trains you and you start building your own army, i.e. deck.
This game’s artwork is incredibly alluring and very true to the new generation of Marvel Comics. Everything happening, beginning from the cinematic to battles, is done in a motion comic style, with characters speaking with chat bubbles. This game is packed with comic book awesomeness, and the atmosphere immediately draws you in.
Character models i.e. drawings on the cards are very stylish and also look good when played on the board, with incredibly flashy animations and powerful moves.
The story and the appearance are one hell of a way to introduce us to this card game. But, I cannot say that without admitting that it has a unique take on the genre. In fact, the game is a mixture of the card and board/strategy genres, where you play your characters via cards in your hand, and place them on a 3×4 board.
the goal is to connect 3 characters together, in any line (vertically, horizontally, or diagonally) which results in them hitting the opponents leader (hero). When the opponent does that, he hits you (the player hero). The first one to go down loses.
Additionally, the cards (the heroes) also battle among themselves as they eliminate each other and take each other’s fields. All cards have an attack and health rating, which naturally defines their damage and hp. Cards also have a mana cost, or better said cosmic power cost. And, finally, cards with stronger heroes, like those from Marvel movies, have additional special abilities they activate upon summoning or in some other situations.
When not in combat, your home is apparently New York City, where you can select various buildings to access other game features. Avengers tower takes you to campaign mode, there’s the arena for PvP, and event portal like Halloween currently, and other buildings for missions, rewards, mail, friends, etc…
Also, when out of combat you can build up your decks. Each deck can contain 12 unique cards, but you can save up multiple decks to switch between easier.
In-game currency is divided between Gems and Gold Coins. Gold Coins are gained easier and are used to purchase most of the stuff in the game, while Gems are naturally a more exclusive currency gained rarely through missions, quests, and bought for real money.
As you progress, your main character (yourself that is) also gains experience and levels up, granting you additional bonuses. You are also presented with a number of challenges with an expiration date, which offer lucrative rewards but sometimes require gems to be accessed.
Marvel Battle Lines represents a unique take on the card game genre combined with turn-based strategy. If you are into that, it will certainly fall right in your alley. The game however also has some unique features and will provide a stimulation for veterans of the genre, as well as newcomers. Finally, the style and the flashy appearance will draw in any comic book fan and definitely delight everyone. Marvel Battle Lines definitely compliments the Marvel Universe, and in terms of gaming, it represents a good idea integrated into a simple but addictive concept.