Hulk Out with Avengers Initiative on Mobile Devices
I don’t know how many of you are aware of this, but we were *this* close to getting a AAA quality Avengers game from THQ. The news is pretty old, but for anyone who was looking forward to an experience close to the recent film, this was probably the closest chance you had. Until now!…kind of.
Just released earlier this month, Avengers Initiative ($6.99, iOS, Android) is one giant-raging Hulk away from being a total copy of Infinity Blade. But wait, that’s a good thing. With such a tested and well-acclaimed gameplay style, it easily translates into beating the snot out of recently escaped villains from the Vault.
The game starts you off as Hulk, tasked with subduing the escapees, such as Wendigo, Zzaxx, Abomination, the Kronan, and the Skrulls. Future updates for other playable Avengers (Iron Man, Thor, Captain America) are mentioned, but it’s still unclear whether or not they’re free.
As you travel around the Marvel universe rounding up these villains, you’ll have time to check out different paths throughout the world, because once you’re defeated, you’re starting right back at the beginning. It’s not easy being Hulk.
Combat is simple enough, performed by swipes on the touch-screen that can lead into multi-hit combos. With enough ‘rage’ Hulk can burst out some some of his gamma-powered moves to really show the enemies that “Hulk strongest there is”. Other aspects of combat are dodging by tapping the sides of the screen (allowing for counter-punches), and deflecting (swiping in the same or opposite direction of an enemy’s attack). I don’t know what to say other than that it works perfectly. Granted, sometimes the enemy attack animations are ridiculously slow, so I’d be mashing the screen to dodge and just hope that I was hitting it at the right time. The game really tries to force you to study enemy behavior so that you can come back and smash their faces in.
As per the Infinity Blade formula, you can upgrade and customize your very own Hulk as you progress through the game. This applies to stats such as health, damage, stamina, and rage. There are also a total of 6 powers to unlock and upgrade, strong enough to take down even the toughest enemies. All of this works well and is a great incentive to keep playing, but unlocking new Hulk outfits is extremely costly in terms of the in-game currency, ISO-8. You can always use real money to buy more and jump start your game, but come on…you don’t want to be *that* guy. I can’t say I wasn’t tempted a few times by the King Hulk, Gladiator Hulk, and Maestro Hulk outfits, but I’ll get my paws on them when I’ve earned them.
I suppose it has to be said that the game looks pretty good on a mobile device. At this point in mobile gaming it’s nothing overly impressive, but it’s enough to rival some of the top games on the market. It’s also packing some decent quality voice-acting to boot.
In addition to all of this is Marvel’s “XP” sytstem that’s located to such a tiny button in the pause menu that you could forget it was even there. “XP” is used for tracking your achievements and any bonus information on the Marvel Universe you may unlock throughout the game. In my experience, the entire XP interface was extremely slow, probably due to it only being accessible online. It would be nice if all that extra content you unlocked was on your own device, but what can you do.
Avengers Initiative is definitely a good start for modern Avengers games, and if $6.99 is a little too high for your taste then just sit back and wait for an App Store sale. Seriously, those things happen all the time for any reason whatsoever. Now excuse me while I go back to reading some more Red Hulk. For those of you who haven’t read Hulk in a while… yeah, that’s a thing. Check it out in one of our many (Red) Hulk trade paperbacks in store at the 4th Wall!