Captain America. Iron Man. Thor. Hulk. Their names alone are powerful enough to capture the eyes of countless nerds globally, but the ability to play as them, and for free, is a giant hook. Marvel: Avenger Alliance is a free flash game on Facebook using turn based RPG gameplay and is one of the most polarizing free games in the flash market today between being fanatically addicted to the radically unwilling to play.
The story in MAA follows the discovery of a new powersource, ISO-8. When ISO-8 hits New York City, both hero’s and villain’s are able to use it for their own means, and it’s up to the Avengers and their allies to stop the villain’s from taking over. The story doesn’t exactly try too hard to make itself distinctive from any other super hero team up game, but it does a good job of explaining the powerup system the game relies upon. As you play, you’ll research, receive gifts, or farm ISO-8 off of enemies to equip onto your heroes and power up different stats. You can replace an ISO-8 that you equip, but your previous ISO will be destroyed as a result. In addition to your powered up heroes, you’ll be making your own SHIELD agent to fight alongside them in battle. After picking from a set list of different faces and hair of men and women, your agent can also equip an array of numerous different weapons and gadgets to choose from, as well as different uniforms to change your heroes class to whatever you want. This works great as each agent is fundamentally different and unique to every players play style.
Your heroes stats won’t change beyond the ISO-8 you equip on them, but they do scale in power in comparison to your agents current level, which works great for when you recruit more heroes as you continue play. New heroes are recruited by using a command point currency system, which you obtain through random enemy drops or mission rewards. The command point system can become tedious and boring when you’re forced to farm more to get that next hero you want, but it also incorporates a type of Pokemon “Gotta catch em all!” attitude, making each hero recruited feel rewarding. Silver and shield points are used to buy new equipment and train your heroes to higher levels, both currencies are relatively easy to obtain. Silver and experience can be obtained through tasks like remote ops, where you’ll send your heroes on missions around the world for different lengths of time. Allying yourself with other players (people on your facebook friends list), also will provide you shield points and silver, along with other rewards like energy and challenge points. You can also send gifts to other players and receive in kind, but you’re limited to receiving 50 gifts a day at present. Ally’s also reward you with a once-per-day gift called “distress calls.” When used in battle, your ally’s SHIELD agent or hero will appear and attack your enemies for a free turn, meaning the way you power up and equip your SHIELD agent not only benefits yourself, but your friends as well. The premium currency in game is Gold, which although can be purchased in the typical “coining” method of flashgames today, can also be obtained by performing tasks such as getting 4-stars on a mission or leveling up. This is a giant leg up on your standard flash game, which typically only lets you get premium currency by purchasing with real life cash.
Battle in MAA is done entirely by turn-based RPG. Choose your heroes for battle, equip your agent, and you’re on your way. There are 6 different classes in MAA: Infiltrator, Tactician, Blaster, Bruiser, Scrapper, and generalist. Except for generalist, all classes have a strength and weakness to another class, translating into a rock-paper-scissors like gameplay aspect to playing. Generalists are the only class with no strengths or weaknesses to any other class, but in turn generally have lower stats  to compensate. Each hero feels overall unique and gives a strong sense of reward when you recruit them, but there is some overlap you’ll notice among their abilities and battle animations (Phoenix, Ms Marvel and Spider Woman being a prime example). New heroes are added relatively often, however, so keep checking in until your favorite marvel hero shows up!
Battle is broken up into 5 regular missions and 1 premium missions per chapter, with more chapters being added as the year continues. Each mission is comprised of blue (easy) battles, yellow (medium) battles, and red (hard) battles to complete, scoring you battle points to accumulate until you finish your mission play through. Your points will total up to a cumulative score where you’ll earn stars to get rewards and unlock higher difficulty as you play, bringing some replay value. Premium missions are special missions that can only be unlocked by recruiting specific characters, and their difficulty will scale to your current level, making them fun to replay. In addition, premium missions also give you the chance to unlock rare weapons and gadgets for your agent to use through the hero roulette reward system, where after each boss you beat you’ll have a chance to win a prize from a set pool. On top of that, most missions have “hero deploys” where you can put a hero aside for a set number of battles to win additional weapons and supplies.
Unfortunately, the hero roulette and hero deploys are where a lot of the games’ frustration comes from. Your chances for winning anything decent are incredibly low, meaning that most of the time you’ll be obtaining very underwhelming prizes such as first aid kits or grenades, items that can easily be obtained through purchase. Completionists may find themselves replaying the same missions over and over to find no real reward for a significant amount of time. Another major complaint in the game is the use of energy in order to battle. You can only do 6 straight battles uninterrupted before you have to wait to accumulate enough energy to play another battle, which typically takes an hour. For a free game, nobody likes to be told they’re not allowed to play for a while. This can be temporarily overcome by leveling up (which provides a full energy bar) or receiving energy gifts, but the sour taste is always there. PVP is also very underwhelming, as you can only fight 5 fights in a row before waiting 20 minutes before fighting again, with similar solutions to the energy portion. Unfortunately, PVP doesn’t feel rewarding at all when you could be at a very high level and still only earn up to 5 experience points per battle, where you may need a couple of thousand to actually level up. There are also numerous bugs that you can encounter in gameplay. One common bug is having one hero who can’t level up, leaving an underpowered hero while the rest of the game continues on.
Overall, Marvel’s Avenger Alliance still feels very solid for a free flash game and is recommended for anyone whose a Marvel and turn-based RPG fan. Geekcitadel gives Marvel Avengers Alliance a B. Assemble your own team and lead them to victory.