The age of superheroes and supervillains is upon us. Comic book characters, both big and small, are no longer confined to, well, comic book pages. With the billion-dollar franchise Marvel Cinematic Universe leading the way, these fictional characters have invaded Hollywood like we have not seen before. And as such, mobile games based on comic book characters are more popular than ever. But as always, not every title is worth your time. Here are 10 mobile games based on Marvel and DC Comics that are definitely worth checking. (Note: Not arranged in a particular order, lest fanboys react aggressively.)
Marvel: Future Fight
Marvel: Future Fight is a slugfest at its core. Sure, there’s a narrative which you can progress through via the game’s Story Missions. But for the most part, you will spend the majority of your time beating characters down to a pulp with supreme button-mashing techniques – both superheroes and supervillains alike. There are more than 100 Marvel characters available in the game, which includes the likes of Iron Man, Captain America, Spider-Man, Ghost Rider, Star-Lord, Thanos, and Red Skull. All characters are segregated into four categories which usually represents their fighting style in the comics.
The good news is, your team, which consists of three characters, can be a mix of heroes and villains. So you could, say, team-up rivals Doctor Strange and Baron Mordo. There are enough characters to accommodate whatever strategy you have in mind. All characters come with RPG-like stats which can be boosted via gear upgrades. So there’s more to the gameplay than simply picking the coolest-looking of all. In Marvel: Future Fight, you could easily get lost mixing and matching character combinations and upgrading stats to build your very own perfect team to plow through missions.
Batman v Superman Who Will Win
No, this game isn’t going to make you sit through 2 hours of slow-paced progression just to see who will win in a mega-fight between Batman and Superman. You know, like how director Zack Snyder made us sit through last year’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Only to see the titular fight end in the most ridiculous way possible. Batman v Superman Who Will Win has none of that. In fact, the game doesn’t bear many similarities to the movie aside from the titular superheroes and the soundtrack. Which is a good thing.
The gameplay is an auto-runner where you pick between Batman and Superman and endlessly run on their respective home turfs, Gotham City and Metropolis. As is the norm in runner mobile games, items – which come in the form of the movie logo – are scattered throughout the three-lane “track,” waiting to be picked up. The further you run and the more items you collect, the more bragging rights you have to whoever’s willing to listen. Collected items, in turn, can be used to upgrade things in the game. Like the potency of power-ups similarly picked up along the way. Perhaps the biggest treat is the Batmobile, which Batman would bust out of the Bat Cave when you boost his “headstart” parameter.
Marvel Puzzle Quest
Tired of seeing jewels and candies in Bejeweled and Candy Crush Saga? How about Marvel characters in a match-three puzzle game for a change? Marvel Puzzle Quest, despite the “puzzle” in the name, is a hybrid game which combines the puzzle and RPG genres in one game. In the game, you are pitted against superheroes, supervillains, and generic cannon-fodders in between. Opposing sides are comprised of three team members, similar to Marvel: Future Fight, and each unit comes with a health bar. Naturally, whoever takes out all opposing team members first comes out as the winner.
However, unlike Marvel: Future Fight, there’s no button-mashing involved. No, instead of punching and kicking everyone in sight, you deplete health bars by – you guessed it – solving puzzles. Every time you match three or more similarly colored stones, the character you’re currently up against will take damage. It’s a simple premise, really. Until you include the RPG mechanics. Marvel Puzzle Quest also has a progression system where characters level up using points received in matches. Additional special attacks are also acquired the same way. And of course, additional characters can be had in-game via rewards.
Batman: Arkham Origins
Batman: Arkham Origins is a spinoff in the critically acclaimed Batman: Arkham series, considered by many as one of the best superhero games every made. This game should not be confused with the action-adventure stealth game of the same name, released on last-gen consoles. Basically, Batman: Arkham Origins, the mobile version, is the stripped down version of the console version. Although it features the same premise, the game doesn’t focus much on the story.
Instead, the game places more emphasis on beat ‘em up gameplay where you swipe, tap, and dance your way through victory against a collection of infamous Batman villains like Bane and Deathstroke. While fighting, Batman can assume different stances which affect his performance. For example, the “Guarded” stance allows Batman to play defensively and take less damage. In-game currency is earned, which can be used to further turn the Caped Crusader even more dangerous. Aside from special abilities and auto-buffs, different variations of Batsuits can also be purchased, arguably the highlights in the game.
Spider-Man Unlimited is an endless runner developed by Gameloft, the same team behind the tie-in video game The Amazing Spider-Man 2, one of the best movie-based mobile games around. The obvious difference between the two is that you’re not limited to the Peter Parker version of Spider-Man in Spider-Man Unlimited. In this game, you can control the many alternate versions of the web-crawler that have appeared in comic books, such as the Miles Morales and Ben Reilly Spider-Mans, as well as the badass Spider-Armor. They need to be unlocked first, though.
Unlike most runner games, Spider-Man Unlimited offers a story or campaign mode where you accomplish set tasks, instead of simply running endlessly to rack up the highest score possible. In some levels, you will be required to simply collect specific items, while in others your goal is to take out the boss. Aesthetics-wise, the game feels like it’s been ripped right out of comic book pages, with gorgeous cel-shaded graphics. If you like Batman v Superman Who Will Win but felt it’s terribly short on usable characters, then this Marvel counterpart is for you. Well, unless you’re a DC fanboy who has a particular distaste for anything related to Marvel.
DC Legends is the DC equivalent of Marvel: Future Fight, except the former is more attuned to RPG gameplay than the button-mashing nature of the latter. In DC Legends, your task is to defend Earth from invading aliens. But to do so, you need to ally yourself with both superheroes and supervillains, which is something you don’t see every day. There are a lot of playable characters to choose from. You have absolute freedom on which character you’re going to roll with.
You could go the typical route and employ the services of Justice League fixtures such as the holy trinity of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. Or you could be quirky and flank Batman with his equally famous enemies like The Joker and Harley Quinn. Anything that you deem as an efficient clear-out team, go with it. Enemies come in waves, so you need to prepare for lengthy battles instead of just short-term engagements. Thankfully, each of the characters come equipped with their signature abilities to make things easier.
Batman: The Telltale Series
Batman: The Telltale Series is perhaps the most different mobile game in this list. For one, it was released in episodes, although you can grab all five episodes now if your wallet allows it. It’s not entirely necessary to purchase all episodes in one go, though. This game is better played slowly, contrary to the faster pace in more action-oriented games, which makes up the majority of this list. As the title suggests, you control Batman in this game – both as the billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne and as The Dark Knight.
Batman: The Telltale Series puts heavy emphasis on storytelling, again unlike the other games in this list. Instead of straight up beating down enemies with your Batarangs, you need to apply Batman’s full arsenal of stealth tactics to efficiently finish scenarios. Or, talk yourself out of trouble if you’re suited up as Bruce Wayne. There are not much controls and navigation in the game aside from choosing options and reacting to onscreen prompts. But be careful; your actions early in the game could affect future scenarios. It’s a gameplay staple for games developed by Telltale Games.
Mix+Smash: Marvel Mashers
At first glance, Mix+Smash: Marvel Mashers seems like your typical one-on-one brawler game where you control Marvel superheroes against supervillains. You know, like in Batman: Arkham Origins, but with Marvel characters. And for the most part, the game brings just that. But if you look really close… Is that Spider-Man with Captain America’s adamantium shield and Hulk’s green-skinned physique?! Yep, such an abomination exists in this game where you could mix-and-match not only superhero powers but their actual looks as well. Now THAT is fun.
The superhero models in the game are far from their comic book counterparts in terms of body proportion. Everyone in the game looks like they spent several years working out to have Hulk’s body. The game has a simple premise: experiment with superhero combinations, and then smash everyone on the other side of the screen. The gameplay would have been a lot more fun if it contained more superheroes or even supervillains to choose body parts from (it sounds weird when you say it like that, though). But hey, at least you can finally give birth to the ultimate superhero with Thor’s body, War Machine’s big guns, Captain America’s adamantium shield, and, uh, Groot’s left arm.
Injustice: Gods Among Us
Arguably the best-looking in this list in terms of graphics, Injustice: Gods Among Us is the mobile version of the original fighting game available on last-gen and current-gen consoles. Obviously, mobile devices and their restrictive touchscreens aren’t meant for the original button-mashing gameplay. So, for the mobile version, the gameplay has been overhauled into a collectible card-based system. However, the gameplay isn’t the kind of snore-fest usually associated with collectible card games. You still need to perform a bit of swiping and tapping to pull off gorgeous special attacks.
The mobile version of Injustice: Gods Among Us retains the original game’s aesthetics down to the last detail. So Batman and Nightwing are still as badass as ever. Although it features a collectible card-based system, character progression is present in the game, which is typically associated with RPGs. Your deck of superheroes and supervillains are upgradable and can be customized to your playing style. The only “downside” is that, compared to the other mobile games in this list, Injustice: Gods Among Us is a little light in the roster department.
Marvel: Contest of Champions
Finally, we have Marvel: Contest of Champions, considered as the Marvel version of Injustice: Gods Among Us due to the similar visual design and overall gameplay. Like the latter, the game makes uses of 3D models instead of cel-shaded ones to bring Marvel superheroes and supervillains to life. Touchscreen controls are primarily used during fights to deploy normal melee attacks as well special moves unique to each character.
At first, you can only have a couple of characters at your disposal. But as you progress through the game and earn XP, you can expand your roster. There are a lot of characters in the game, and all are separated into classes, much like in Marvel: Future Fight. Furthermore, some characters, like Captain America and Daredevil, are available in more than one variation. Although you have total freedom in pairing whoever you want, the game offers bonuses for specific team-ups, which are subtle nods to character relationships in the comic books. For example, Black Bolt and Cyclops, both leaders of superhero teams (Inhumans and X-Men, respectively), “Synergize” together, as the game puts it.
We would have included mobile games based on Dark Horse Comics and Image Comics properties, too. But aside from The Walking Dead: Season One, also a product of Telltale Games, there’s not much else worth considering. So we just focused on Marvel and DC.