App Reviewed on: iPhone 5
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For several months now I’ve been seeing little Facebook updates about friends and their Avengers Alliance progress. I had about gotten to the point where I was going to see what all the fuss was about when I found out it was coming to iOS, so naturally I decided to check out the more portable version instead.
The Earth is in danger (again) from some sort of enigmatic presence. Also super villains. As a new S.H.I.E.L.D. recruit, players must team up with a host of notable Marvel heroes as they try to thwart nefarious plots and figure out just what in the heck is going on. The majority of these missions involve turn-based battles with various baddies, but it’s also possible to send characters off on side missions (over a set period of real time, of course) for extra cash and experience. Players can also train their heroes when they’ve acquired enough experience in order to access new abilities that can make a huge difference in a fight.
Avengers Alliance uses a fairly simplistic 2D animation style, but the illustrations are detailed enough and the movements varied enough for it to work really well. There’s also a surprising amount of complexity to the underlying RPG mechanics with an assortment of fighting styles (Blaster, Infiltrator, Generalist, etc) that are weak/strong against each other, as well as a bunch of attack and support abilities to make use of. Being able to send heroes off on missions for several minutes to 24 hours is also a fantastic way to make use of time spent away from the game.
I ran into a fairly major issue with Avengers Alliance pretty early on, though. Specifically, because there’s so much importance placed on allies (i.e. friends), I hit a wall. I needed to complete a specific quest that required a new aircraft and flight crew--for sending heroes out on side missions--but the only way I could acquire a crew was to either pay a gold to fill each slot or recruit friends. Problem is, I had used up most of my gold already, and I’d just started so had no friends to recruit yet. So my only choice was to wait and hope someone would accept my invitations. I got through it, but it was a pretty severe stumbling block. I also find the lack of cross-platform integration (no Facebook-to-iOS play here) to be a huge omission.
I did enjoy my time with Avengers Alliance, but it required a bit more patience than most freemium titles I’m used to because of all the down time. However, it’s still an entertaining game about recruiting a bunch of superheroes and fighting lots of supervillains, and who doesn’t enjoy stuff like that?