For all the criticism Marvel gets for not having designed a flagship console gaming series, the comic book titan has more or less mastered app gaming. In the past two or three years we’ve seen Marvel partner with numerous established game developers to produce mobile titles that have been downloaded by droves of fans around the world.
Arguably the most successful of these mobile titles is Marvel: Contest Of Champions, a joint project between Marvel and Kabam that’s essentially become its own branch of Marvel entertainment. Designed as a 1-v-1 fighter experience with character collecting RPG elements, it’s become one of the largest and most popular games in app marketplaces. These are a few reasons why it’s been so successful.
1. It’s Spawning Its Own Comic
There was actually a Contest of Champions comic series running briefly back in the early-’80s, but currently Marvel has a new series that was inspired by the game. The game’s original storyline, although somewhat vague, is certainly an interesting concept: The Collector has basically enslaved Marvel heroes and villains to be pitted against one another in various arenas against teams assembled by super villains. It’s built for the game and makes for a good explanation of why heroes and villains fight alongside one another, but it’s also proven to be an intriguing setup for comics. Particularly in the spirit of the upcoming Captain America: Civil War film, the subject of battles between well-known makes a great deal of sense in 2016.
2. The Gameplay Works Easily
As popular as mobile gaming has become, there are still a lot of forms of gameplay that don’t necessarily translate well to small touchscreens. For instance, first-person shooters have often struggled in that a lot of them look great and provide plenty of excitement, but few can separate themselves from the pack with superior action. Similarly some other games that require a lot of consistent motion can wind up feeling a little bit hectic on a mobile device. Marvel: Contest Of Champions thrives through a tap-and swipe based combat system in a 1-v-1 environment reminiscent of the likes of Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat (or perhaps more relevant, DC’s Injustice: Gods Among Us). It’s a familiar format and one that works about as well on a touch screen as with a game controller.
3. It Stays Current
Maybe the best thing Marvel: Contest Of Champions has going for it is its ability to update with characters and subplots relevant to what’s going on in Marvel movies and television series. In doing so, it’s able to rope in characters that fans aren’t used to seeing in gaming. Consider the current example: Netflix has just introduced the second season of the Marvel Daredevil show, and sure enough popular characters from the show like Elektra and Daredevil were introduced in the game in the months leading up to the premiere. Betfair has jackpots online that contain a few depictions of Marvel characters, including a Daredevil game. The game shows the hero in his characteristic red suit and dark environment and amounts to a themed slot machine using various elements of the Daredevil comics on the reel. Aside from this, Daredevil and Elektra don’t appear to commonly in video games. For many players, Contest Of Champions was the f
irst game to really make use of them, because of its ability to stay current.
4. Achievement Is Heavily Incentivized
Marvel and Kabam certainly didn’t invent the idea of using achievements and goals to incentivize further gameplay. This is the main goal of a lot of mobile games whose developers hope to gain active and loyal player bases. But in Marvel: Contest of Champions it’s all handled with a certain degree of expertise that has contributed greatly to the game’s success. As mentioned, the game stays current and means more than just new characters. It also means new quests and missions to fulfill every few weeks or so. For instance it’s a virtual certainty that in the weeks leading up to Captain America: Civil War players will see new quests having to do with the relevant characters or storylines. In short, there’s usually something new to accomplish. Additionally, you can pretty much always improve your roster of superheroes the more you play (winning earns resources, resources improve champions and allow you to purchase new ones, and so on).
5. The Social Element Is Strong
As if connection to a new comic, consistent introductions of new characters and missions, and an appealing combat system weren’t enough, Marvel and Kabam have also designed a rather brilliant social side to this game. Players can play alone as long as they want, but they can also join up with alliances to enjoy additional gaming options (such as “wars” with other alliances) and earn more rewards. The alliances have become such a major part of the game that it’s become common for players to communicate via the LINE App, despite the built-in chatting systems in Marvel: Contest Of Champions.
Whether this app is for you or not depends on personal taste and interests. But considering all of these points it’s fair to say that this game excels because of a very comprehensive and intelligent design on the parts of Marvel and Kabam.