Recently, I had a chance to meet up with Jay Minn, Director of Games at The Amazing Society to get an overview of the upcoming MMO, Marvel Super Hero Squad. While perhaps not a traditional MMO, I would argue that it just sneaks by under the definition with the one to four person cooperative play throwing the only monkey wrench into the plan.
There is no doubt that this game was created with younger players as their target audience, but for those of you who are fans of Marvel Comics this game will certainly have at least some appeal to you. If you aren’t a fan, there still are many element of this game that make it worth your consideration.
While this wasn’t a playable demonstration, Jay pointed out some of the current game highlights and features:
Super Hero Squad will be a browser based game, which is always appealing to me. I like to have the option to take a quick sneak into a game during “work” hours. Why wait to get home to play?
You start the game with four characters ,and there will be a basic pool to choose from. As you progress through the game you will have the option to buy, build, unlock or play others for new characters. Each character will possess their own unique abilities and custom animations.
Gameplay will be fairly straight forward with standard movement and the use right and left click for your variety of attacks. Players will choose from combination moves, energy stored special moves, and an “ultra move”. These ultra moves will be tailored to the character in play. An example shown during the demo was Cyclops’ signature optic blast. You will also able to “Hot Swap” characters on the fly. This option is great for both movement through the game as well as combat. Running from roof to roof as Wolverine and can’t quite make it to the next roof in a single jump? No worries. Hot Swap to Spiderman to take advantage of his double jump ability and clear that building. Having something massive in the way as Spiderman, swap to the Hulk and move along. These are just a few of the many examples players may come across. Using this method a player will have to use some strategy to excel at the game. Keeping in mind I use the term strategy loosely. There’s not much strategy behind “HULK SMASH”.
The current plan will have players starting off in New York City. There will plenty of familiar llandmarks for players to explore, including The Daily Bugle, Oscorp, and Aunt May’s home. Missions in the game are geared to be around twenty minutes are so in length. The goal isn’t to have a grindfest, rather just jump in, play a little and have fun. Players will receive their missions via the Daily Bugle headlines. Pick up your copy of the Bugle and read something to the effect “Doctor Octopus Robs Oscorp”. Suit up your hero, head to Oscorp and start your mission. There are plans to add more familiar locales outside the scope of New York. The Marvel Universe consists of a myriad of locations to choose from and there promises to some less conventional locales.
Like many of the same age appropriate games, communication will initially be set to emote chat. There will be standard emotes for all the characters to allow players to communicate as well as three emotes based on the characters. Full chat can also be enabled by the game admin. Gotta love those parental controls.
Within the game there is support for the Marvel Super Hero Squad Collectible Card Game. This game is designed to enhance the online game. No doubt there will be certain amount of codes and items available through the purchase of these cards to apply towards your in game characters. The details are unclear at the moment, but it certainly seems to be a trend that is arising in MMOs. With luck it will only be vanity items, that don’t have a major impact on game play. There is also an in game version available. Players are allotted forty points to battle with. The first one to zero loses. The in game card game will serve as a tutorial for the CCG as well. You can choose from:
- Simple Deck Maker - the game chooses for you
- Custom Deck Maker -you choose your own.
For players looking for more traditional MMO trappings, the game also boasts a housing system. You will start off with two rooms to customize with the ability to expand up to thirteen rooms. Added to your customized rooms, each character you have control off will have their own themed dorm room. For example the Hulk’s room was decorated in purple and green, at this point it appears that the dorms will be dictated by the character and not the players. I’ll guess we’ll have to settle for thirteen rooms to control rather than thirty.
Jay expressed one of the key elements in the game are the fun details. The game creators have a tremendous love of the characters. As mentioned before, the game certainly is aimed towards youngsters, but there is plenty of fun to be appreciated by the older crowd. The folks who have been around these characters for decades. There is a certain style to the graphics of the game, which are simple yet detailed. Not so much detailed in classic sense of the word, but detailed as in the items and costumes of the characters. In addition to the appearance of the characters there is a tremendous amount of detail given toward the character’s movements and demeanor.
Marvel Super Hero Squad looks to be a promising departure from the norm of MMOs. For any Marvel fan it is a must to check to out. Plus it’s a great way to start building those future gamers in your family.