Marvel walks a fun line with their psuedo-fighter, and it keeps you coming back for more.
When I initially sat down to write about Marvel: Contest of Champions I hadn't been playing for particularly long but I was already hooked. The access to a gorgeous and easy to play fighting game was the first draw, but I'm also a major Marvel fangirl. So, 30 days later, these are my thoughts on whether this game will keep you enjoying it after the first few days.
The first big question was whether this game was enjoyable even without In-App Purchases (or IAP for short). While Marvel: Contest of Champions does have some IAP, it's not a game that requires you to constantly purchase new booster packs in order to enjoy the experience. After a full month of grinding and playing in Versus modes, I never wound up spending any cash to pick up in game boosts. That's because this game finds a really good way to reward you with in-game items if you're able to rely on some basic skills to win fights. Between the various modes of play you'll quickly and easily earn just about everything that you need to keep moving forward. IAPs in this game are largely about shortcuts, making ti so you can avoid things that feel like grinding.
Purchasing more units would make it easier to snag those high level crystals and thus higher level champions, but I never found it was necessary in order to succeed. In fact I was only ever even reminded of those IAPs when I tried to grab a crystal that I just didn't have the units for. Is it slower going this way? Absolutely. I grind through each level until I've gotten a completion award for it. By doing that my ISO-8 is always overflowing, and it's easy to stay on top of character upgrades. The biggest bottleneck that I ran into was when I desperately needed catalysts but was unable to find them anywhere. Once you get used to jumping between campaign quests, battle quests, and versus modes — and grabbing the different loot that you get from each of these, you won't really need to spend your hard earned money.
While an easy way to share the game — and hook my friends — never really showed up, it was easy to play across multiple devices. Depending on the day I was playing on one of three different phones, plus a tablet and the game synced perfectly across all of these without any issues. If I switched from one to another, the game would just reload itself and I was good to go. It means you need an internet connection, but that's a reasonable trade-off for what you're getting in this situation.
After I got a variant Deadpool this way, I make sure to check on my mail every day when I open up the game.
I play Marvel: Contest of Champions for an hour or two each day at most — spread out across the entire day of course — and there is still a ton of content that I've barely touched. The battle quests are timed, so every week or so there is a new one to play through. These have proven to be an excellent distraction from the main campaign and the surest way to pick up gold and loot each day. The battle quests are also occasionally themed, like Deadpool for Valentine's Day. Each battle quest event is also accompanied by a specific crystal that you can buy for the chance of an awesome special character. These have kept me distracted enough that I'm still not even close to finishing the campaign missions.
One of the things that I didn't check often enough when I got started was the mail being sent to me by the game team. For the most part it's just info about current events, new features being added, and special events going on. However, every now and then they will also send you some sweet perks. These include everything from high level ISO-8 and catalysts, to 2-Star champions. After I got a variant Deadpool this way, I make sure to check on my mail every day when I open up the game.
I still don't really interact much with the other people in my Alliance, but that's because I prefer my gaming to be a solitary experience. Thankfully it isn't held against me, and I can still rack up Alliance points with a tap. I've gotten tons of rewards for Alliance missions that I didn't even realize I was accumulating points towards, which is always awesome. Checking in just once a day and helping people requesting aid has gotten me several Alliance crystals as well. There are still new Alliance modes out on the horizon too, and they look pretty interesting as well. Especially since a huge update dropped today adding Alliance Wars to the Alliance quest tab.
All in all, after a month's worth of play I'm still really enjoying the game. The regular tweaks on content mean that it hasn't gotten boring at all, and since I'm cool with grinding through a game I haven't devolved to picking up units in the game. There are plenty of free games out there that I enjoy and return to on a regular basis, and Marvel: Contest of Champions has definitely joined those ranks. It's different than a console fighting game, but that's what makes it more enjoyable on a mobile platform.