Gamezebo goes hands-on with Marvel: Avengers Alliance

Superheroes and video games seem like they should be a sure fire combination, but over the years the pairing has resulted in a spotty track record at best. That’s why, when Disney announced that Playdom was working on a new Facebook game based on the Marvel Universe, we approached the idea with idea with reserved skepticism. The action-packed superhero genre? On Facebook? How on earth could they make a game like that? As it turns out, the answer is “incredibly well.”

Playdom has recently granted Gamezebo an early hands-on look at the upcoming Marvel: Avengers Alliance, and to say that we’re impressed would be something of an understatement. Rather than a title that simply tries to cash-in on the popularity of the upcoming Avengers movie, they’ve created an accessible, casual RPG that hits all the right buttons for comic book fans and Facebook role players alike.

 Avengers Alliance

The premise of the game begins simply enough, at least by grandiose superhero standards. You’re a new agent in S.H.I.E.L.D. – the Marvel Universe equivalent to the MI-6 or the CIA, but based out of a flying aircraft carrier – and your story begins as you finish up your final training exercise and are quickly deployed to the field to help Iron Man with an emergency situation.

Waitaminnit… Did I just say “story”?

Unlike most Facebook games, Marvel: Avengers Alliance offers up a fairly substantial storyline that progresses players from one mission to the next. It’s not exactly Shakespeare – heck, it’s not even Chuck Austen – but as far as Facebook games go, it’s a refreshing change from the overly simple pretenses you’re typically given before being thrust into a fight.

 Avengers Alliance

The core of the gameplay is a pretty straightforward affair. Players will form a team consisting of their S.H.I.E.L.D. agent and two superheroes. As play goes on, you’ll be able to purchase more superheroes using “Command Points,” which can be bought with premium currency or earned during the course of regular play (though from what we can tell in our brief experience, this second method is incredibly slow going and based largely on luck). Each hero will start with a single attack in their arsenal, and as you win battles and earn XP, you’ll be able to level up your team members and send them off individually for training to unlock different attacks.

The gameplay is easy to pick up, but it also has a nice layer of depth to it. There’s a rock-paper-scissors element to who has the upper hand in combat, not unlike what you might find in Pokemon. Different attacks can cause different status effects as well, so while an attack with a katana might be weak, it can cause bleeding which will hurt the enemy turn after turn. It’s the sort of system that’s simple enough for anybody to learn, but deep enough to really get its claws into you.

 Avengers Alliance

Supporting the main play are neat elements like sending certain teammates off on solo missions, and researching new tech to open up new gear in the store. There’s also a player vs player element to the game, but from what we can tell it’s doesn’t appear to offer real time multiplayer, instead opting for a bot that takes control of an opponent’s team.

While the game isn’t completely finished yet, it seems pretty clear that Playdom has a winner on their hands. Will everything we loved about Marvel: Avengers Alliance still be around when the game goes public? Be sure to follow the game right here on Gamezebo to read our full review when it’s released to find out!

New heroes join the fight

by Andrew Webster

Marvel Avengers Alliance will let you create your own formidable team of Marvel super-heroes, and developer Playdom isn’t skimping when it comes to choice. Today an additional 10 heroes were announced, including the likes of Cyclops and the Human Torch, bringing the total up to 19 so far.

The other new heroes are The Invisible Woman, The Thing, Mr. Fantastic, Colossus, Kitty Pride, Nightcrawler, Phoenix, and Storm. They join the likes of previously announced heroes like Wolverine and Spider-Man, and Playdom says even more heroes will be revealed before the game launches.

Marvel Avengers Alliance

Marvel Avengers Alliance

We still don’t have an official release date for Marvel Avengers Alliance, but the game is expected to launch on Facebook during the first quarter of this year.

Playdom tackles the world of Marvel in upcoming Facebook game

by Andrew Webster

We already knew that Playdom was working on games based on Disney properties, but we never expected this. The developer has announced a brand-new Facebook action role playing game based on the Marvel comic book universe, set to launch early this year.

Marvel Avengers Alliance will feature dozens of playable characters, including iconic Marvel heroes like Spider-Man, Wolverine, and Captain America. It’s described as a “combat role playing game experience” that lets players assemble a team of heroes, who can then be further customized by unlocking new abilities and attackes. There’s also a competitive multiplayer player versus player element to the experience.

Marvel Avengers Alliance

Marvel Avengers Alliance

Here’s a description of the game world, straight from Disney:

Marvel: Avengers Alliance takes place in the wake of a galaxy-wide disaster, known as ‘the Pulse,’ exposing Manhattan to attack from Marvel’s most formidable villains. Players are recruited as an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., the secret espionage and peace-keeping organization of the Marvel Universe, to assemble and lead teams of superheroes with a mission to keep New York City safe from the clutches of villains.”

This will be the first Marvel-branded game on Facebook and it’s expected to launch sometime during the first quarter of 2012. Stay tuned to Gamezebo and “Like” the game’s Facebook page for further updates.