Better late than never.
Match three puzzle games are nothing new, in fact even Marvel Puzzle Quest is nothing new. Some may be wondering why is this site is so late with a review for a game that launched in 2013. Even the other console versions came out last year, so why did it take so long for the game to hit Xbox One? That remains a mystery, but what isn’t, is that this entry is just as entertaining as it was everywhere else.
The concept is familiar to anyone who has played a match three puzzle game. Players can slide one piece in order to create a line of similar gems. The goal is to plan good drops, and create combos. The catch with the Marvel aspect is each gem can activate special attacks for one of the chosen characters, and thus attack the opponent. Again, nothing revolutionary, but fans of Marvel will certainly enjoy the massive roster, along with plenty of unlockable characters.
Platforms: XB1, PS4, PC, 360, PS3
Price I’d Pay: $14.99
The story follows the Dark Reign line of comics, hence the name. There is actually a decent amount of dialogue, and fans of Marvel comics are sure to enjoy the plethora of characters involved. Playing specific story missions also unlocks more characters to play with, but the leveling is definitely off. I had overpowered some characters early on, which meant going back and grinding earlier levels in order to progress the campaign. It is a slight flaw in the design; thankfully the core mechanics are enjoyable enough that replaying missions isn’t entirely a chore.
Puzzle Quest games always have an adversary to trade attacks with. Here there are plenty of boss battles with familiar Marvel villains. What is shocking is that these are not the hardest fights in the game. Instead, facing off against nameless thugs provides more of a challenge due to their moves that require players to essentially defuse bombs. This removes a lot of the strategy of the game, and instead becomes about removing the gems from the board before they deal massive damage. These battles are frustrating, and the only downside of the entire campaign.
In addition to the campaign, there is also a one-on-one competitive mode that can be played online. While matches are not abundant, they are certainly a blast once I managed to get into one. Taking on another human being is much more stimulating than the computer, but also a lot more stressful. Carefully planning moves, and knowing when and what to drop are vital. I definitely suggest plenty of practice before hopping online.
Dark Reign contains all of the content found in the game since its release in 2013. Every character, side mission, quest, and more are here. Unlocking them is easily the best part of the game, and the character select screen is ripe with fun and surprise.
Marvel Puzzle Quest: Dark Reign for Xbox One may be late to the party, but there has never been a better time to jump in. For players who have already treaded these waters, there isn’t much here for a revisit, but if this is your first time, it is well worth the investment. With tons to unlock and great core game play, this is one puzzle game I can see myself sinking plenty of time into before all is said and done.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.