I love Star Wars and Marvel about equally, but I could just never get into Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes. It’s one of the most popular gacha games out there on mobile, but between the fairly shallow gameplay and poor graphics, it just never got its hooks into me. I’ve been spoiled by similar games such as Marvel: Avengers Alliance and Avengers Alliance 2. The original MAA was crazy P2W and the sequel overcorrected, being too generous for its own good, but both games were fun turn-based titles on mobile that offered a bit more depth than I was used to.
Well, those games are now gone. But! There’s a new game by Foxnext called Marvel Strike Force that just may fill that void. The game is essentially a carbon copy of Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes, but it’s much more of a looker. I’ve been pining for another turn-based Marvel title, so despite my reservations about Galaxy of Heroes, I’ve just decided beggars can’t be choosers and I’ve been playing MSF here and there over the past few weeks. I still have most of the same issues, but it’s not too bad.
The improved visuals really do make a difference. The battle environments and characters look great and the combat animations can be really neat, especially when you land a killing blow with a critical hit. Some moves even get neat cutaways with special animations. Spider-Man’s ultimate move is a neat looking attack that stuns an enemy, but if you take someone out with it, it sometimes cuts away to an animation where he yanks the enemy upwards with his webbing and swings into them with a web kick. There are tons of satisfying little touches like that in combat.
There’s a good amount of content available at launch, but it’s obviously not going to be as robust as something like SWGoH given its years of support. The game features three campaigns (Heroes, Villains, and Nexus), two arena modes (Arena and Blitz), raids you can participate in with your guild, special events, and challenges. There’s plenty to do.
However, the roster, at least right now, is fairly lacking. Marvel isn’t an IP like Star Wars where there are only so many main characters you can work with before you have to look into different versions of those characters or minions such as individual Stormtroopers and the like. I don’t mind fielding a team full of Hand ninjas led by Elektra, but the Marvel bench is incredibly deep, so I’m not sure why MSF launched with such a dearth of standout characters. Even if we’re just talking about MCU characters, MSF doesn’t even have Star Lord and Groot right now. What? The hero/villain to minion ratio needs to be improved, and quickly. On the plus side, the game includes mutants! We’ve only got Wolverine so far, but I’m excited to see the roster filled out with the rest of the X-Men.
The grind is also real in Marvel Strike Force. Just eyeballing things, but prices for those willing to monetize appear to be steeper than you’d find in SWGoH and the grind to unlock characters is absolutely brutal. If you want to farm missions for shards you only have a certain amount of attempts per day (or you can spend currency to refresh), but you’re also not guaranteed shard drops for an attempt. I’ve run into situations where I’ve farmed one mission 10 times and didn’t get a single character shard. The game could stand to be a bit more generous.
Like most of these mobile games, it’s going to be a matter of how much you can deal with the way it gates you and tries to get you to monetize. The gameplay is indeed fun, even if it is a bit shallow, so if you can deal with how stingy it seems to be, you’ll probably have a good time with it. Personally, I do my daily tasks and contribute to my Alliance’s raid and then I basically set the game down for the day. The draws for me are the turn-based combat and collecting Marvel characters. If that’s enough for you, I’d suggest checking it out on iOS and Android.