Marvel Contest of Champions Review: A Superb, Simplified Slugfest

Superheroes could spend their time putting out fires or getting cats out of trees, but let’s face facts: we already have regular heroes to handle problems like these. When you add the word “super” to the front, there’s only one …

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Superheroes could spend their time putting out fires or getting cats out of trees, but let’s face facts: we already have regular heroes to handle problems like these. When you add the word “super” to the front, there’s only one thing these heroes should be doing — punching the bejeezus out of bad guys.

Or, in the case of Marvel Contest of Champions, punching the bejeezus out of other superheroes.

Following in the long tradition of superhero fighting games (and sharing a name with a similarly themed 1982 comic book limited series), Marvel Contest of Champions is a simplified twist on the genre — but that doesn’t make it any less fun.

marvel contest of champions

Having said that, if you’re coming to Contest of Champions looking for a Street Fighter level of complexity, you should probably stop reading now — this just isn’t the game for you. If, however, you can find pleasure in a simple flurry of swipes and the compulsive “gotta catch’em all” fever that building your own roster of Marvel Heroes can provide, then yes – Contest of Champions will be right up your alley.

Being in this latter camp, Contest of Champions managed to get its hooks into me fairly easily. The combat is simple to learn, with all fighters sharing the the same move set. You’ll swipe and tap to perform basic attacks, swipe backwards to dash away from your opponent, and hold your finger to the screen to block and/or power up a heavy attack.

As you deal and take damage, you’ll fill up a special meter that powers your character’s one unique move. Beyond this lone differentiation though, all of the characters play more or less exactly the same.

If you were looking to nitpick criticisms, this would be the one to make. But different move sets don’t necessarily equal fun gameplay, nor does fun gameplay necessitate different move sets. Case in point: Nidhogg.


Of course, without much to differentiate the characters besides their appearance and single special move, you might not feel the tug of “gotta catch’em all” that Kabam is hoping for. If you’re a diehard Marvel fan like me, you’ll probably be giddy at the possibility of trying to get Black Bolt or Deadpool on your team. If you’re a casual comics reader or just here for the fighting though, it’s hard to see why you’d care about using Cyclops over Wolverine (or, how dare you, Wolverine over Cyclops).

And since hero distribution occurs with gachapon-style randomness, it’s just as likely that you’ll get stuck with Vision for the fourth time. Yuck.


In a lot of ways, Marvel Contest of Champions feels like the antithesis of Marvel: Avengers Alliance. Whereas Avengers Alliance had pricey characters, unique abilities, and deep strategies, Contest of Champions gives out heroes like candy; but with virtually identical skillsets and button-mashy goodness.

It might sound strange to compare the two at all, but as the top dogs in the world of free-to-play Marvel games, it’s hard to not notice how perfectly they contrast. Marvel Contest of Champions is the arcade yin to Avengers Alliance’s strategic yang. If you’re what Stan Lee might call a “true believer,” you’ll be glad to have such two such wildly different games to choose from.


Marvel Contest of Champions isn’t for everybody. If you’re looking for complex moves or the kind of variety that wildly different fighters can provide, it will be too shallow to hold your interest for long. But if you’re just looking for something that’s fun and accessible, or have just been waiting for Marvel to give us an alternative to the DC-powered mobile version of Injustice: Gods Among Us, Contest of Champions is a super game to add to your collection.

Need some helping being a little more heroic? Be sure to check out our Marvel Contest of Champions Tips, Cheats and Strategies.

The good

  • Simple, accessible controls lead to fast-paced fun
  • Character models look fantastic
  • A huge roster of characters to collect

The bad

  • The game's simplicity will be a turn off for more hardcore fighting fans
  • While there's a huge variety of characters, they play exactly the same
80 out of 100
Jim Squires is the Editor-in-Chief of Gamezebo. Everything you see passes his eyes first, so we like to think of him as "the gatekeeper of cool stuff." He likes good games, great writing, and just can't say no to a hamburger. Also, he is not a bear.