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– by Joseph Jammer Medina

Three years ago this week mobile video game publisher released Marvel’s Puzzle Quest (Shortened to MPQ) to raving reviews. The puzzle match 3 style of game play was nothing new to the now mobile game powerhouse, as they had previously published the hugely successful Puzzle Quest standalone series. D3 GO!, working with developers Demiurge Studios, found the perfect way to blend the Marvel lore with the exciting addicting game play of the puzzle quest series. Players could choose teams of three of their favorite Marvel characters and go up against an intelligent A.I. or other players. Over the years D3 GO! has made various tweaks listening to their fans and crafting a truly excellent puzzle game, that while it has some money required aspects makes sure to also not be a “pay to win” style of “freemium” game.

For those who are unaware of what a Freemium game is, it’s a common term for any game which is essentially free to play (meaning no initial purchase) but there are options while playing to use real life currency to potentially unlock certain aspects (sometimes this is the only way to unlock something or it simply speeds up a players progress to unlock it earlier). While celebrating their three years of Marvel’s Puzzle quest and the recent released Magic The Gathering Puzzle Quest, I was able to get some time with lead producer Josh Austin to discuss the two games, and get some demo time.

GAMEPLAY

Both games MPQ and MtGPQ work with the standard match three color type similar to the popular game Bejeweled. However D3 GO! adds some unique flavors to each game version that better suits the licensed property.

For Marvel, you take in a team of three characters each with their own unique special abilities which are triggered by the various colors getting matched up. For example, Spider-Man can web up and stun an opponent for a turn when enough Blue colored orbs are matched. This gives players the sense they actually controlling these famous Marvel characters and really engaging in a battle with their opponents, while also adding various levels of strategy to the game.

What three characters make the best team? Which character’s abilities complement each other best? Who are my opponents three characters, and which characters do I own which will work best against them? Demiurge and D3 GO! have made sure to pay attention to their players for both PvE (player vs A.I) and PvP (player vs player) feedback and have tweaked the game tremendously from launch to really give a fair and equal balanced playing field. For anyone that is a fan of the Marvel Universe and match three type games, I highly recommend Marvel Puzzle Quest.

Magic the Gathering Puzzle Quest (MtGPQ) plays similar to MPQ, as D3 GO! has really made sure to incorporate all of what they learned from MPQ into the new game. This time around they’ve taken it even a step further as Josh demonstrated to me how “summons” were incorporated. D3 GO! wanted to keep the feel of the popular card playing game while still giving it the classic Puzzle Quest feel. To do this, they created set characters called Plainswalkers (anyone who has played the console versions of the card game should be familiar with some of these characters).

The Plainswalkers each have their own unique abilities (similar to the Marvel Heroes) specific to their “color” orientation (Green characters tend to have more “earth” abilities, Red characters more fire based, etc). Along with their Plainswalker, the player will also have access to classic MtG cards which fill out the players deck. These cards require mana, similar to the actual card game. The difference here is, mana comes in the form of the orbs players will match (those match 3 combos). When enough mana is stored up, the card on the top of the players deck (decks are arranged by players and shuffled by the A.I. before each match up) will be summoned. These summoned creatures will serve as the way for players to combat their opponent and deal damage. Josh Austin displayed some basic game play using a higher leveled up Plainswalker blasting away an opponent with special abilities and strong creatures.

PLAY MODES

Both MPQ and MtGPQ showcase a story mode, where players’ battle against A.I. controlled opponents while progressing through various levels, with dialogue driven story. Don’t expect any fancy cut scenes, but via character avatars conversations take place setting up the next battle. While MtGPQ is still rolling out various story elements, they do have many of the card games expansions available with unique stories and cards. MPQ has a standard quest line, along with a few other play modes such as a dailyDeadpool quest which serves as an excellent way for players to obtain free in game currency and potential to unlock harder to get characters.  An upcoming Doctor Strange story quest will be released alongside the movie, as well as the first time the game will ever have two versions of the same character simultaneously released.

Both games also feature PvP, with new intuitive match making A.I. to help ensure the mode remains competitive without feeling impossible or too easy. Some unique characters and cards are completely exclusive to victory in the PvP world. While the game is free, and anyone can participate in PvP, there will be a slight advantage to those who have shelled out some real world cash to advance their characters. Still, with the right team and a little bit of luck from the board (how the orbs start off) any player can truly defeat any opponent.

In celebration of their third year anniversary Marvel Puzzle Quest will be unleashing a few new modes for players to partake in. One is called “BFF” mode which essentially will allow known “Friend” characters to obtain various buffs (increases to character stats) when teamed up together. Also coming soon is “Boss Rush”. This was a mode Josh was particularly excited to talk about, as it will involve players running a gauntlet against increasingly powerfully bosses from the game. So players will start off taking on one strong boss, then another, and slowly work their way to three bosses which will continue to grow in strength and rarity. The rewards of course for completing these modes/events will be well worth it, as unique and hard to find characters and in game currency will be plentiful!

FREEMIUM?

Yes both games MPQ and MtGPQ follow the freemium model, but D3 GO! takes extra attention to ensure that there is still a balance between players who want to remain completely Free to Play (meaning no real life currency is ever used) or those who don’t mind spending a little extra money to advance faster in the game. Josh himself has said on his completely free account he’s unlocked one of the strongest characters in MtGPQ through the free in game currency.

As an avid player of MPQ myself, I can attest that I’ve done extremely well in the game having almost entirely remained Free to Play. I did purchase a pack of gold coins during one of D3 Go! many sales (best time to purchase if you’re interested) as I truly wanted to give to the developer’s of this awesome game. I will stress that even without that purchase, you can definitely fully enjoy the game and get pretty far in it. The same can be said for MtGPQ, which I’ve only started to play but again have yet to find myself really at any disadvantage due to not spending money on the game.

 

So if you’re looking for a few fun games to help kill time, and love Marvel or Magic the Gathering then definitely download these free games available now for Android and IOS devices. Be sure to check out the developer’s website www.d3go.com to stay up to date on all the latest releases and information regarding these awesome titles! I want to take a bit of time to say thank you again to the D3 GO! team including Josh Austin and Also stay tuned for a special Marvel Puzzle Quest giveaway from brand new character “Gwenpool”! who currently is extremely rare to get in the game!

-Jeremy Scully

Follow me on twitter @LRM_JEREMY

Do you play either game? Who are some of your favorite characters? Anything you’d want the developers to know?! Sound off the comments below!

Joseph Jammer Medina is an author, podcaster, and editor-in-chief of LRM. A graduate of Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Television, Jammer's always had a craving for stories. From movies, television, and web content to books, anime, and manga, he's always been something of a story junkie.