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Posted by Raine Hutchens on Oct 12, 2012

Review – HeroClix TabApp (iPad)

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Product Information

MSRP: Free, Character Packs $14.99

Developer: Icarus Studios

Publisher: Wiz Kids

Platforms: iOS

ESRB Rating: 9+

Genre: Action/Adventure

I didn’t really get into the HeroClix tabletop miniatures game until this year, and I’m really glad I did. I got wrapped up in The Dark Knight HeroClix and then dabbled in The Lord of the Rings as well as the Gears of War Clix that came out a while back. While I’m no expert on the game, I do enjoy playing it with friends. It’s a cool way to live out battles as your favorite heroes and villains from different comics, games, and stories. Earlier this year I got to preview the HeroClix TabApp at Gen Con, and I was impressed with what I saw. Now that I’ve had a chance to play it for myself I can say that it’s a lot of fun and it’ll surprise many other players out there.

Story and Visuals

The HeroClix TabApp is a unique game in that each character’s scenarios differ depending on who you play as. There are two different character packs out right now, each with 3 characters. You can get the Marvel Heroes pack that has Captain America, Thor, and Iron Man, or you can grab the X-Men pack that has Wolverine, Iceman, and Cyclops. Each character has a scenario that is played out through different stages. Through these stages you’ll learn a bit about each character and why they’re in the game. Whether you’re fending off baddies to help save a city, or trying your best to shutdown a villain, the stories are quite intriguing for the little game. Between each scenario there are cutscenes that play out, detailing a bit more about each level. They’re presented comic-book-style, so it helps bring in the feel of actually playing the heroes.

As far as visuals go, the app looks great. There are cool animations that come from your character’s skills and abilities. Instead of normal HeroClix games where your character moves, the scenery moves around you in the TabApp. A lot of players don’t like this and complain about your character being stationary. For a mobile video game, though, I think it works and makes sense. Your character will move down corridors, climb stairs, and enter rooms all through a scenery change on the app. The backgrounds are rendered to look much like the maps in the tabletop game, so there’s an attempt at a throwback to it. Enemies are detailed, and look much like those in the actual game. As for your characters, however, older players may find them not to their liking. The sculpts have been “dumbed down” a bit, looking more like something from a child’s game. I think that Icarus Studios was going for a game that’s more geared for kids, so it works. For the more adult players, however, you may be steered away.

Gameplay

The game plays out smooth and it’s quite responsive. You’ll tap enemies for melee combat, swipe for special attacks, and abilities. The HUD is simple enough to use, and you can tap in certain locations to perform your abilities instead of swiping. The characters are quite powerful and though there are times where a plethora of enemies will come from nowhere, I never really felt overwhelmed. There’s a sort of strategy to implement when going through levels, though. You need to be able to manage your damage and abilities to stay alive. Just like in the tabletop game, characters in the TabApp take damage in the form of clicks. Once you run out of clicks you’re knocked out and have to start over.

There are different stages to choose from with each character you play as, so there’s plenty of gameplay to spend your time on. Each stage has a rating on it for when you beat it, and completing one unlocks the next one. When you sit down to play the game you place your character on the designated spot on the tablet, and the app uses pressure technology to pick up on who you’re playing. It’s really streamlined and straightforward. The game starts quick and it’s nice to sit down and play when you’ve got a few minutes to kill.

Like I mentioned previously, a lot of players have issues with the character not being moved. In all honesty, you don’t really interact with the Clix at all once you place it – the game does everything. It sort of takes away the entire feel with playing HeroClix. You won’t be able to move the character to seek cover, get out of the way of attacks, or anything of the sort. Hardcore players will see this is a total letdown.

Conclusion

I’m a fan of HeroClix, and that’s that. I’m not a hardcore player and maybe that’s why I don’t have any real issues with the game. I think that, for what it is, it’s fun and intuitive. Long-time players, as well as older players, will probably not like this game for what it offers. I do think, however, that it’s a great game for your kids or younger gamers. I really do think the developers were making this game for that target audience simply by looking at the figure sculpts. I played the game, I had fun, and I know down the line my son will enjoy it as well. The app is free, and though it’s only on iOS right now it’ll be on Android soon enough. The figure packs aren’t too expensive, and you get what you pay for. If you’re looking for an accurate digital representation of the HeroClix tabletop game, check out HeroClix Online. If you’re looking for a cheeky, fun little game you can enjoy with your kids, this is right up your alley.

The Good

  • fun and great time-killer
  • cool visuals and transitions
  • intuitive and easy to learn
  • great for kids

The Bad

  • doesn’t play out like the tabletop game
  • a turn-off to veteran players
  • some stories can be short
  • doesn’t make use of tabletop game mechanics

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