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Marvel Puzzle Quest Review: The Best There Is at What It Does

908 View2022-05-04
Marvel Puzzle Quest is one of those rare games where its utter success can be easily conveyed in numbers alone. For example, there’s the number eight-and-a-half. As in eight-and-a-half years, the amount of time this game has been out in the wild, and it’s still receiving regular updates. That’s got to put Marvel Puzzle Quest in the running for longest supported mobile game of all time, right behind Candy Crush.
That number not doing it for you? How about 251. That’s how many major updates there have been to Marvel Puzzle Quest as of the latest release on April 25, 2022. These updates include new modes, balance changes, events, and even major interface overhauls and improvements that have just made the game better and better with age.
Need something a little bigger? Let’s go with 264. That’s the total number of playable heroes and villains available in Marvel Puzzle Quest. It’s an astounding range of characters, covering the obvious film stars (Spider-Man, Iron Man, Hulk, and Captain America all have multiple iterations available) as well as some of the most obscure and interesting characters from the depths of Marvel Comics, such as the monster hunter Elsa Bloodstone or the Inhuman teleporting bulldog Lockjaw. 
If there’s a Marvel character you’re fond of, there’s a good chance Marvel Puzzle Quest either already has them or will add them eventually. And though the game technically has all the trappings of a gacha title, it has gone through numerous iterations of making rare characters easier to get. If you’re willing to put in some time and effort, even the elusive five-star heroes can be unlocked without spending a bunch of money. Marvel Puzzle Quest’s 265th character, Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness baddie Gargantos, will join the game next week.
Okay, I’m showing you lots of impressive numbers about the game, but what about my own connection to it? Here’s another number: 951. That’s how many days of my life total that I have logged in and played Marvel Puzzle Quest, according to the in-game daily supply drop counter. Players are given generous rewards for logging in and completing at least one mission every day, and though I’ve taken long breaks here and there, I always find myself drawn back. There’s very few games that I’ve returned to anywhere near this often, besides maybe Hearthstone and World of Warcraft.
The numbers don’t stop there. Try this one on for size: 3,076. Did you look at 951 days logged in and think to yourself, “Wait, 951 days across eight-and-a-half years isn’t actually that much!” Well, the real dedicated players who haven’t missed a single day have hit well over three thousand on that daily resupply list. They’re at a point where the game regularly offers them upgrade materials for five-star characters. Don’t mind me, I’m just a little jealous over how far behind the curve I am. 
What’s presumably kept so many people logging in—myself included—isn’t just the inclusion of a huge number of iconic heroes and villains. It’s also the rock-solid gameplay at the core of Marvel Puzzle Quest. Yes, it’s a match-three game, but it’s one that operates on a layer of really satisfying strategy. You build a team of three characters (aside from occasional restrictions, you can feel free to mix and match heroes and villains), and then take on an enemy team or waves of enemies. Each playable character has three powers, which are generally built up by matching gems of the correct color. While you can always just pick your party at random based on cool-sounding abilities, the real joy of Marvel Puzzle Quest is in pulling together a team of characters whose powers work together to overwhelm the enemy in powerful ways. 
Got a supervillain with an overpowered but expensive green ability? Maybe they’d make a good team with The Hulk, who can passively create green tiles each turn. Or how about pairing Carnage, who does damage to his own team every turn in exchange for creating attack tiles, with Medusa, who heals the team every time an attack tile is matched. Discovering and learning to exploit combos like this lends much more depth than you might expect to a game about matching a randomized stack of colored gems.
One last try to impress you with a number: twenty million. While we don’t know the exact number of daily players Marvel Puzzle Quest has, publisher D3 Go says that over twenty million players have at least tried the game over its lifespan. Just a few years ago, they gave that number as seventeen million in an interview. So while it’s pointless to guess at any specific numbers, there’s clearly been a regular influx of new players. And given how aggressive and consistent the pace of updates to the game has remained, there must be a reason for developer Demiurge and publisher D3 Go to continue supporting it. It doesn’t feel like the game is going away any time soon.
Oh, heck, one last number for the road, and it’s maybe the most important of the bunch: zero. As in zero dollars and zero cents, the amount of money it costs to download Marvel Puzzle Quest and play it and enjoy it. Don’t get me wrong, there’s obviously plenty of in-app purchases, and you could easily blow hundreds of dollars in one go if you really want to push yourself into the upper echelons of competitiveness as quickly as possible. But there’s also no real reason to do so, and no pressure from the game itself. Marvel Puzzle Quest is a free-to-play title that is blessedly liberated from the forced ad viewing or intrusive sales pitches for the latest paid bundle that dominate other similar titles. You absolutely can get a ton out of this game without having to pay anything in. I’d know—I have for 951 days. And I think I’m going to log in for day 952 right now.
• Other match-three games. Obviously Marvel Puzzle Quest has its own feel going on with the superhero theme and combat-based gameplay, but the core mechanics are all about how good it feels to match up tiles and get the result you want. It really captures that satisfaction, so graduating up to this from something like Homescapes or even Bejeweled makes a lot of sense.
• Marvel Comics. It goes without saying, but true comic nerds are going to find a lot to love here. The mainstream characters are front and center, but the game also goes deep into the lore and digs out fan favorites and strange obscurities. It’s clearly a labor of love from people who actually read and enjoy the comics these heroes and villains come from.
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