Marvel Battle Lines

App review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
Marvel Battle Lines App Poster Image
Comic book card game has action in heroic proportions.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Ease of Play

Gameplay is a hybrid between tic-tac-toe and a collectible card game. Mechanics are extremely easy to pick up and play, though real strategy comes in learning the abilities of the cards and when best to use them.

Violence

Characters can use basic or special attacks against opposing characters. These moves and their resulting damage are animated with special effects, flashes of light, etc., but there's never any blood or injury shown on-screen.

Sex

Some characters, particularly female characters, are shown in some revealing costumes.

Language

"Damn" occasionally shows up in dialogue.

Consumerism

Game features heroes, villains of Marvel Comics, which appear in various comic books, movies, television shows, toys, collectibles. Strong push to spend money on in-game currency or items via in-game store specials and pop-up notifications. But game can be played without spending money, and items can be earned through play.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Marvel Battle Lines is a free-to-play action/card game for iOS and Android devices. Players collect virtual cards featuring characters and items from the Marvel Comics stable, building decks to use in battle. The game's mechanics are easy to pick up and play, while also encouraging strategy when it comes to building decks and using cards. While it's possible to make good progress in the game without spending any actual money, there's still a strong push to convince players to buy blind card packs, in-game currency, and individual cards. The word "damn" pops up in dialogue a couple of times, but a bigger concern for parents might be the rare offensive nicknames chosen by other players, which may occasionally slip past the publisher's filters.

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What's it about?

MARVEL BATTLE LINES puts the powers and abilities of the Marvel Comics heroes and villains in the palm of your hand. The adventure begins when a superpowered face-off in an orbiting S.H.I.E.L.D. space station results in the shattering of a Cosmic Cube. Shards of the extremely powerful artifact wind up scattering throughout the globe ... including one that lands in a very special civilian's hands: yours. You quickly discover you have the ability to use the remaining shards to tap into the powers and abilities of others in the Marvel Universe, summoning them when needed. Now it's your job to collect what you can of the remaining cosmic shards and build your own superpowered teams capable of driving back the forces of evil. The fate of the world, and of the entire Marvel Universe, lies with you. Are you up to the challenge?

Is it any good?

What do you get when you mix the timeless gameplay of tic-tac-toe, a collectible card game, and the massive stable of characters from the Marvel Universe? The answer is Marvel Battle Lines, an action-packed, free-to-play mobile offering that's incredibly fun. Players build decks of 12 cards each and battle on a 3x4 grid. Each turn, players can use any action cards and then either summon a character or move an existing character. Moving into another opposing character initiates a quick combat, comparing attacks and hit points. The ultimate goal is to create a "battle line" by filling in a row of your characters horizontally, vertically, or diagonally. Doing so triggers a massive team attack that whittles away the opponent's life.

The basics of the game are easy to learn, but like many collectible card games, it's the strategy involved that keeps things interesting. It's a lot of fun just trying out different card combinations, and comic fans get the added bonus of coming up with uniquely themed decks. Maybe you want to play S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, or maybe you want to see how crazy a team-up between Doctor Octopus and Ghost Rider might work. Whatever you can imagine, Marvel Battle Lines has you covered. The game's also one of the best-looking Marvel mobile games around, with the cards sporting some amazing artwork. Plus, each card comes with some stats and trivia on each character, giving even more reason to try to constantly add to your virtual collection. And the whole thing comes wrapped in a surprisingly fun story, written by fantasy/sci-fi author Alex Irvine. Marvel Battle Lines is a complete comic book experience with the superpower to entertain.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about superheroes. If you could have any superpower, what would it be and how would you use it? Would you be a superhero or a supervillain?

  • What has more benefits: paying for content, or grinding (playing the game) to earn the same content? What are some ways to manage budgeting for virtual purchases to make sure they don't get out of hand?

App details

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For kids who love comic books

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