While my interest in comic books has cooled down somewhat (no thanks to bad/subpar stories that Marvel has been putting out recently), I’ve managed to keep in touch with my beloved characters thanks to Playdom’s Avengers Alliance Facebook game. I’ve been playing this game for more than a year now and I’m still hooked enough to spend an hour everyday on this game.
The concept of the game is simple: you play the role of a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent and together with Nick Fury’s help you work with one or two of Marvel’s superheroes to complete missions. Missions always come in the form of a turn-based battle against generic badguys or named supervillains in the quest to fight against the effects of the Pulse and the proliferation of the material known as ISO-8.
The symbols for the character classes (clockwise from top-left): The red icon for Blasters, the blue icon for Bruisers, the Yellow icon for Scrappers, the purple icon for Infiltrators, and the green icon for Tacticians; the middle icon is for Generalists.
To allow your S.H.I.E.L.D. agent is able to fight alongside the heroes, you have access to different weapons and items that even up the battlefield. Meanwhile, your heroes can be either of the following classes:
Blasters (red icon) – These characters are strong against Bruisers but weak against Tacticians. They have the following abilities:
- All attacks against Bruisers are Critical hits
- Ignores Bruiser defenses
- Takes reduced damage from Bruiser attacks
Bruisers (blue icon) – These characters are strong against Scrappers but weak against Blasters. They have the following abilities:
- Gains Enraged status after attacking/getting attacked by Scrappers
- Enraged is a status that increases damage dealt and reduces damage received
- Can stack up to two times, but each only lasts 1 turn
Scrappers (yellow icon) – These characters are strong against Infiltrators but weak against Bruisers. They have het following abilities:
- Performs a follow up single-target attack after a single-target attack on an Infiltrator
- Takes reduced damage from Infiltrator attacks
- Gains Close Combat status after attacking/getting attacked by Infiltrators
- Close Combat is a status that grants a follow-up attack on the next single-target attack
- Attack has increased chance to hit and ignores most Avoidance abilities and statuses
- Lasts 1 turn
Infiltrators (purple icon) – These characters are strong against Tacticians but weak against Scrappers. They have the following abilities:
- Counter-attacks any attacks from a Tactician (whether single- or multi-target)
- Increased attack accuracy against Tacticians
- Gains Combat Reflexes status after attacking/getting attacked by Tacticians
- Combat Reflexes is a status that allows the character to counter after getting attacked
- Any counter attacks made have increased damage (30%) and are stealthy (do not trigger other counters or Protection abilities)
- Lasts 1 turn
Tacticians (green icon) – These characters are strong against Blasters but weak against Infiltrators. They have the following abilities:
- Gains another turn right after attacking a Blaster
- Takes reduced damage from Blaster attacks
Generalists (white icon) – These characters are balanced and have no strengths or weaknesses.
The pair of heroes and your S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent go through turn-based battles reminiscent of classic video game RPGs. Turns are determined in random order (as far as I can tell). See the order of the heroes in the image below (boxed in white)? Iron Man gets to go first, followed by Thor, followed by two Wrecker turns, your Agent, and back to Iron Man:
Aside from belonging to different character classes, each superhero has his/her own set of skills that you can use in combat. Take Hawkeye for example:
From left to the middle are Hawkeye’s character-specific skills: he’s got Sure Shot, Arrow Volley, Trick Arrow (still locked), Pinpoint Target. Starting from the middle to the right are actions that are common to each character: Recharge your stamina, access your Inventory, make a Distress Call, or purchase an item from the Combat Store.
There’s also a PVP mode where you get to fight against teams of other players from around the world. Currently, there’s a ranking system in place that allows you to see how you compare to the rest of the players. I’ve never managed to reach the top 10% – somehow, I always fall short.
When I started playing the game, there were only 28 superheroes available. But Playdom has been releasing new heroes every now and then – there are now a total of 35 playable superheroes (3 of them have limited availability; 2 are no longer available) to build your teams from. Given the two modes of play and the numerous superheroes and equipment available, the game has a lot of depth for a Facebook-only game. I’ve had my share of Facebook games and I can say that this is one of the best games available, especially for fans of the superhero genre. Give it a try!