I don’t get to play many mobile games, and those that I do are highly replayable and more often than not are paid apps. Free to play games on mobile devices have me in a ‘alright, let’s see how greedy this game is’ mentality when I play them. That’s why when I come across excellent free to play games like Marvel’s Spider-Man Unlimited I find myself hooked. A few months back, Marvel released ‘Mighty Heroes’, a brawling game with synchronous co-op. It was ok, but it left a distinctive taste in my mouth that it lacked any real strategy. Unlimited had strategy, but lacked the rest of the Marvel universe. Mighty Heroes had the universe, but lacked strategy. Contest of Champions, a fighting game, was good but the story was really really bad. I think Future Fight might be a trinity for me: good gameplay, big universe and a story that isn’t horrible. But how greedy is it?
Like most Marvel games, it uses a fictional element called ISO-8, as well as Gems and Gold (why do heroes need gold? Who knows!) all as currency as well as some new concepts: DNA patterns and SHIELD currency. And of course, as with all mobile games these days, energy that dictates how long you can play the game for. Now with five plus different forms of currency in the game used to increase the effectiveness, level, power and gear of your characters, it seems like this should be a pretty prime target for greed. The thing is, much like my beloved Warframe, it seems (at least with three days of playing under my belt) the game replaces greed with grind. Paying for things simply saves you time and unlocking for free is just a slow grind. And much like Warframe, the gameplay is good enough to keep that grind from feeling like a slog.
Since we have the whole ‘is this game greedy’ question answered, how about ‘why should I play this?’. Of course, being free is a good reason. Having a roster of more than 20 Marvel characters isn’t shabby either. Lots of options for upgrading (although you almost need to upgrade uniformly, rather than having an RPG like progression of Ultimate Alliance). Costumes so far are limited to tying into the new “Avengers” movie but has obvious paths for all the other characters available. Much like Contest of Champions, the graphics are beautiful and there are options to balance out pretty vs power consumption.
So why might someone avoid this game? Well it does have the much maligned feature of ‘energy’. Limiting people from playing your game makes zero sense to me, but I suppose it is a gate that encourages spending in game currency to keep playing. The characters progress very incrementally, so people who like big flashy level ups aren’t going to be happy. The story isn’t horrible, but it’s not great either. Unlocking characters seems to take a tremendous amount of time (because of random number generation, not that they’re difficult to unlock). The game crashes often (but only so far at the end of levels and you still get your rewards before it crashes so it’s just annoying) and the explanation of features could be a little better. But for a free game that tries hard to not be greedy, it’s worth trying out to see if you like it or not for yourself.