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Marvel Trading Card Game Package Art
1st Playable

Marvel Trading Card Game

A lot of non-gamers often reject gaming in favor of actually taking part in the real-life counterparts games represent. Why not actually go out and play tennis instead of turning on Wii? These same people, of course, are probably prone to be caught playing a game of Solitare on their computer. Why not just get out a deck of cards and lay it out yourself? Because the digital version is more convienent. This probably goes double for collectible card games, what with their expansive catalogs and expensive upkeep. Konami has just the ticket for TCG nerds, assuming that nerds enjoy comic book superheroes -- in busts Marvel Trading Card Game for DS.


Short of incredibly advanced Eye of Judgement-like technology, there isn't much that can be done with the visuals of a digital TCG. Holding the DS sideways seems to be quite popular these days, and it works quite well for Marvel TCG. The playfield is represented on the right with boring colored squares and rectangles, but the left is a handy full-screen version of whatever card happens to be highlighted. Hand-drawn cutscenes move the story forward; though the art isn't exemplary, it still feels like a comic book.


Geeks should be used to supplying their own sound effects and triumphant music in epic, imaginary battles, and they should keep doing it for Marvel TCG. With shortly-looped music tracks and scant sound effects, Marvel TCG doesn't give the player any reason to sacrifice battery life for audio fidelity.


Kiddos should be warned that Marvel TCG is geared at older players, what with a more dense and complex combat system than Pokémon or Konami's own Yu-Gi-Oh card games. Though favorites likes Spider-Man, the Hulk and The Fantastic Four appeal to a wide demographic, only the older, more jaded card players will be able to grasp the intricacies of the game. The game sports many tutorials, but they only succeed at telling the player how to play, rather than teaching them. Learning the rules is reliant on actually stepping into the fray and less to do with the lecture-like lessons the game provides.

Of course, diving in head-first into one of the two campaigns -- hero or villain -- will almost certainly result in an immediate drop in self-esteem for anyone unfamiliar with the rules. Those who are fans, though, might need a few games to break themselves in as well. Thanks to the small DS screens and a somewhat obscure interface, it's sometimes hard to tell what each icon does and when exactly it's appropriate to use it. It may take a while for even veterans to learn what time and what button to press to use an action card to boost a character's stats for an attack.

Thankfully, convienent stylus control is the spoonful of sugar helping the clumsy navigation go down. In developer 1st Playable's defense, it's hard to think of a more efficient way such a deep game could be represented on a handheld. The flaw seems to be inherent of the fact that this trading card game has been ported to DS in the first place.


Online play is really a savior for a game of this type. It offers the player something the real-world TCG doesn't: real opponents across the world to play, without ever having to leave the house. Things play out predictably, but that's not a bad thing. Players match up their accrued decks, whether it's in battles against strangers or known friends/enemies. Even for those with meddling Friend Codes in tow, online play should be a huge boon.


Marvel TCG does a nice job of bringing the battle home for fans, but won't pull many new devotees to the fold. But, as a game for those already familiar with it, Marvel TCG provides the convienence of portability, touch control and online play in a tight and relatively inexpensive package, considering the price of entry to attain all the resources available in the DS game; and really, that's all we can expect from a game that's based on muscle-bound heroes in spandex battling it out on a kitchen table.

final score 7.0/10

Staff Avatar Tristan Cooper
Staff Profile | Email
"Get out the umbrellas..."

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