Avengers Academy First Look


Marvel’s roster of mobile games has grown once more with the release of MARVEL Avengers Academy, a freemium mobile app developed by game developer TinyCo. Marevl has published many great mobile games. I’m a long time Future Fight player, and have experience with both Spider-Man Unlimited (which I have written about many times before) and Contest of Champions. That being said, I definitely had to check out the latest entry into the Mobile Marvel world.

Avengers Academy is a touch screen “city-building,” or in this case academy-building, game set in a Marvel universe where many of the Avengers are teenagers and not yet down the path of full blown heroism. Iron Man’s introduced as a cocky, but charming, cocky genius, armed with only his jet boots and one repulsor gauntlet. Black Widow is as aloof and distrustful as she’s ever been, and Wasp is a peppy, young, mischievous designer. As the game progresses, players invite new students to attend the academy, while adding new buildings (Stark Tower, Pym’s Lab) and sending Avengers on various tasks. If you’ve ever played a city-building game like Family Guy: TQFS or The Simpsons Tapped Out, then you know the formula.

Let’s start with the good. The graphics and animations are vibrant and filled with energy, the character design is pretty spot on in the re-imagination of the Avengers we know and love as college students, and they must have had a decent budget because the game harbors an impressively star-studded voice acting cast. There’s Colton Haynes of Arrow fame as Thor, Dave Franco as Iron Man, Kiernan Shipka as Spider-Woman, Alexandra Daddario as Wasp, Rapper A$AP Rocky as Falcon, Quantico’s Priyanka Chopra as Ms. Marvel, JOHN CENA as the Hulk, Community’s Alison Brie as Black Widow, and more. In that regard, sound quality is high and it’s awesome hearing familiar voices –although Loki’s sound seems a little muffled compared to the others.

As you progress you can rank up characters (from 1 to 5 stars), and when they hit 3 stars and 5 stars they obtain more pieces of their superhero costumes (such as Iron Man completing his armor or Spider-Woman completing her All-New, All-Different ensemble). This is a creative way of ranking up, an improvement that not only gives the characters additional tasks they can do but also changes their aesthetics to their well-known costumes. Unlocking Wasp’s clothing shop Van Dyne allows for even further outfit customization, adding more actions and changing their looks more drastically.

Now for the not so good. The first thing is the most glaring omission the game seems to have. Where the heck is Peter Parker!? A game featuring college attending superheroes and the best, most famous young hero is absent? C’mon Marvel where is Spider-Man? In a game where the Avengers are young, brash, and filled with quips and teenage drama, Spider-Man would certainly excel and add for some funny banter. He definitely fits the aesthetic and his character design/costume progression would be a no-brainer (regular Pete with web-shooters, incomplete/unrefined Spider-Man costume, and finally the classic red and blues). Spider-Woman’s in the game so I certainly think Spider-Man should be too. I wouldn’t be surprised if he arrived in a later update.

The next issue is one that plagues many of these freemium games. There’s not much to do besides assigning people tasks and waiting for them to finish said tasks, and many of the characters/unlockables are hidden behind a paywall and require you to pay real money to get enough resources to unlock them. One of the early quests involves spending real money and another one is impossible to complete in the given time-frame without doing so. And unlike other games in the same genre, it certainly throws a bunch of long timers at you early on. For example, Wasp seems to constantly need to plan a party for 4 hours, and I kid you not, my Loki has been “mastering the dance floor” for about 16 hours in 2 hour segments each time, the guy’s a slow learner.

From what I’ve experienced there isn’t a combat feature aside from cut scenes, and there’s literally nothing to do except send the Avengers on quests that take anywhere from 1 minute to a gajillion hours if I remember those numbers correctly. There will be a dating feature that is currently locked (but with Valentine’s Day around the corner probably won’t stay locked for long) which will hopefully liven up what is currently a pretty boring game model. The game could use some new modes and some basic features I think it lacks such as deeper menus, or more explanations of what inventory items or costumes actually do.

All in all, Avengers Academy is a mobile game that’s nice to look at, has a solid roster of Avengers, and is great if you like the game style and Marvel franchise, but needs a bit more polish and content before I’d consider it “engaging,” or fun to play. It still provides the rewarding feeling one gets from upgrading their heroes or unlocking new stuff, so if that’s what you’re all about, then I’d say give it a shot!

But seriously TinyCo. Add Spider-Man.