If you haven’t heard of Marvel Battle Lines yet, I won’t hold it against you. You might not be a big fan of mobile games, puzzles or perhaps you live under a rock, but whatever the reason may be, Marvel Battle Lines is a new game that hasn’t yet released in North America from Nexon that combines Card Collecting and battling with Tic-Tac-Toe style rules. While the premise initially seemed confusing to me when they presented the battling format at the San Diego Comic Convention, I quickly took to the Australian Play Store so I could find out first hand what exactly the system was like. If you have been watching out for this game, our Marvel Battle Lines Preview will give you an idea of where it stands currently while also outlining where it might be able to improve. If you’re still a little confused and want to see the battle system in action, check out the entire tutorial in the video below.
There is much to say in favor of Marvel Battle Lines as it stands currently. The story in intriguing, as Red Skull and Captain America fight over the Cosmic Cube, it shatters, releasing cosmic fragments throughout the world. You as an innocent bystander absorb a fragment, which allows you to control it with the help of S.P.I.K.E., a glove developed by shield. From there a story unfolds with new characters from Absorbing Man to Hela pouncing in to cause Mayhem, while you build your deck and defend the world from certain doom. What surprised me early on, is how fresh the card combat system feels. Every card you place, every fragment on the field you obtain, holds a strategy behind it. Sometimes, in the heat of battle, the best course of action may be to sacrifice your hero, or in some cases, sacrifice yourself so that you can open up an avenue of attack on the next turn.
In that regard, Nexon has established a platform that I haven’t seen before, which quickly sets it apart from other puzzle style games like Marvel Puzzle Quest. Another very important distinction that Nexon appears to be banking on, is the fantastic art direction, which appears to have an Anime inspired bend to the beloved Marvel characters we’ve come to know. For most of the cards, I found myself thoroughly enjoying them, with very few designs that I disliked. Unlike many of the other games, however, the cards you obtain at this time, are really the only images available for that character. For example, there aren’t any alternate costumes, or comic covers to collect like we’ve seen in the past. For a collectible card came, players will primarily be looking to collect sets of cards, as many as they can get, and level up each cards power after retrieving enough of them.
There are also several different modes currently in game:
Special Ops is like a true puzzle that coincides with expert deck building. You start each level of SpecOps with your enemies’ cards already on the field, and you must defeat them with certain restrictions, like under a certain amount of moves or without getting attacked yourself. By completing these missions within the restrictions, you are graded on each level between 1 and 3 stars, obtaining rewards for the accumulated star levels. This is one of the most enjoyable modes, and has both Normal and Hard modes, and thus far new levels have been added with each game update.
The Quick Match modes are essentially PvP games where you fight in real-time against other players. This mode can be pretty tough as at times you may not find another player to battle, other players may drop out, or you may just be matched against a player with much better cards, so rankings really aren’t utilized here.
A.I. Battles allow you to play a regular match against a computer opponent, but you don’t receive rewards for it, apart from the daily.
The Challenge Mode allows you to defeat 5 opponents for new cards, but you can only play this mode once per day.
The newly added Arena Mode pits players against the decks of real player opponents as you increase in rank for exceptional awards. Currently the rewards revolve around crystal currency which is very rare unless purchased with real money through the store.
Lastly you have the Story Mode, which will take you through a story written by Alex Irvine, while introducing you to many different characters. Currently the story only appears to stop short, and isn’t completed yet, but it is definitely worth a play through.
Marvel Battle Lines makes Trading Card Puzzlers exciting again. It’s currently my most played new game, despite the fact that there really isn’t too much to do in its current iteration aside from competing in the arena modes and completing the dailies for new cards after you’ve reached the max level of 30. Nexon has done so much right with MBL. They don’t have an energy system, you can play as much as you want, the cards give you something to keep fighting for, and there are a lot of different strategies out there for potential decks. Where they fall flat currently is that the game has very limited windows to obtain rewards. Guilds don’t really serve much of a function aside from trading, which is hard to do when cards are somewhat scarce. Cooperative play, like the raid system utilized in Marvel Strike Force would certainly add a lot enjoyment for guilds as a whole. It is certainly obvious why the game hasn’t released in North America yet, it is clearly still a work in progress, but let me tell you, up front, Marvel Battle Lines is one to watch out for especially if you’re a Marvel Super Hero fan like I am.