Iron Man, Spider-Man and a host of Marvel favourites do battle in this Wii U scrapper. Superhero or superzero? Read on...
Published on Jan 25, 2013
Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and Loki. With such a badass mix of superheroes gracing Ubisoft’s Marvel Comics fighter, what could go wrong?
It’s a philosophy that worked wonders for the box-office breaking Avenger’s Assemble film, after all. Pack in the heroes, make some stuff blow up, rake in the cash.
For your money, there’s plenty of action here. The 2.5D fighting is delivered in the form of a slew of game modes, from the standard campaign though to local multiplayer, challenges, tournaments and the arcade mode.
It’s all fairly standard fighting game fare, but at least there’s plenty to choose from.
The scrapping itself is what sets Battle For Earth apart from other titles in the genre.
Though action is viewed from behind the player in a 2.5D plane, moves themselves are basic, with button combinations few and largely irrelevant.
The game’s main ‘hooks’ are its super moves and ultra powers.
Using the Gamepad (which can be used to play the entire game solo), supers are chosen by tracing a shape on the touchscreen and your two tag-team characters can be switched instantly with a button press.
The game tells you to use a stylus, but holding the pen at the same time as pressing the face buttons was more fiddly than a fiddler’s concerto.
We quickly dropped the stylus in favour of sliding our thumb or forefinger in the bottom right corner of the screen, which was quick and enabled us to get back to the buttons without too much hassle between supers.
Comboing supers builds up your Ultra bar, which when filled unleashes a furious signature move, like Iron Man letting rip a flurry of missiles while flying towards Loki and smashing him into the air, or Magneto firing off a ball of magnetic-y rage….before flying towards (insert opponent here) and smashing him into the air.
The action can also be controlled by Wii Remote and Nunchuk.
The Wii Remote was unimpressive, shunting supers onto the d-pad and turning fights into a senseless waggle fest, with us often just kicking an opponent into the air, spamming a 22 hit combo and repeating ad nauseum until K.O.
Ubisoft have clearly tried to build a system that can be transplanted across both Wii Remote and Gamepad, but the result is a scheme that feels slightly at odds on either. We slightly preferred the Gamepad as it was less tiring and base than spamming motion, with touch features working well enough.
Battle For Player 1
What with Wii U’s focus on a single-player tablet controller, it’s a problem that will face every fighting title on the system – even the mighty Smash Bros. will have to overcome the disparity between the control schemes.
That solution could be Pro Controller support – which is disappointingly missing here.
This is not a game aimed at fighting aficionados – those trained in the ways of Street Fighter or even Tekken will find the scrapping basic, gimmicky and unrefined.
But this isn’t who this game is aimed at. It’s a superhero tie-in for the kind of people who still wear Spider-Man pyjamas (i.e. children, or perhaps the dangerously comic-book obsessed man-children).
Seeing Genius Billionaire Playboy Philanthropist Tony Stark suited up and smashing seven shades out of Doctor Strange is always a joy, no matter how old you are, and the game’s 20 character roster pulling in heroes from across Avengers, Spider-Man and X-Men will satisfy Marvel fans.
With the range of modes, there's plenty of content (even if it’s supremely easy) and fighting does work okay, albeit in a strangely compromised control scheme.
If you can live with the controls, there might be enough content here to justify a purchase on the cheap if you’re an absolute Marvel obsessive. But fans of fighters will be left sorely disappointed.
Turns out Battle For Earth is more Spider-Man 3 than Avengers Assemble.
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5.4 / 10
Plenty of Marvel-ous promise let down by not so super control schemes and some dull graphics. Too basic to recommend.