Superheroes have long been a fixture in video games. You could even argue that many video game protagonists are, in fact, superheroes, albeit in most cases without the cape and spandex costume. I mean, who but a superhero could survive against a horde of enemies? Who else could make that impossible jump? Who could thwart the villain’s master plan?
Today, though, I’m gonna focus a bit on the more traditional superheroes — specifically, those from the comics. Licensed comic heroes have a history in games almost as long as there have been video games. I first learned to triangle jump in Sunsoft’s NES Batman game. Some of these have been very well received – Spider-Man 2 is arguably one of the best open world games of its generation, and Rocksteady’s Batman Arkham games are modern masterpieces. Some have been largely forgettable movie tie-ins and licensed shovelware. Some are infamously bad — Superman 64, anyone?
Let’s take a look at some perhaps lesser known indie games featuring comic heroes!
#ZenStudios’ work on #PinballFX2 is a fantastic example of modernizing the classic game for the digital age. Their tables are designed from the ground up to take advantage of the simulated nature of the game. The simulated physics are great, but not always in play — some tables will reverse gravity, change the behavior of the ball, and more. There are also fantastic 3D characters that will interact with the tables as well.
To date, Zen have created a whole slate of Marvel-themed tables, featuring characters such as Spider-Man, Wolverine, and Deadpool. There are currently 23 unique Marvel tables available, with the most recent additions being the "Women of Power" two-pack, featuring Black Widow, Ms. Marvel, and Squirrel Girl. One of my favorite tables is "Infinity Gauntlet," where Silver Surfer battles against Thanos, and the balls can take on the aspects of each of the Infinity Gems!
Pinball FX2 is available on most major platforms including consoles, PC, and mobile.
Originally released in 2013, #MarvelHeroes is an MMO developed by #GazillionEntertainment. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Marvel Heroes features Diablo-like gameplay, as Gazillion CEO David Brevik was one of the leads on #DiabloII.
Marvel Heroes currently has 60 playable characters, chosen from the pantheon of Marvel’s heroes and villains, each with a variety of costumes available, allowing you to customize your appearance to match your favorite period in the comics. There are also a number of non-playable Team-Up characters who can join your cause, with more of each being added continually.
In addition to the new characters being added, Marvel Heroes has gone through a number of revamps and rebranding over the years since its release, to tune and refine the gameplay and systems and add new missions and game modes. They’ve recently released their “biggest systems update ever,” resulting in a massive overhaul of how the game works.
Of course, we can’t forget DC, the other half of the "Big Two" comic publishers, and rival to Marvel. Since DC is owned by Warner Bros., most of their game adaptations are big budget affairs published by WB. However, there have been a few smaller games over the years as well – did you know there’s a #DoodleJump game featuring Batman?
So there you have it, a few indies to feature comic heroes. Which have you played?
Which indie developers would you like to see take the reins in a comic adaptation?