Heroes and villains clash in Marvel vs. Capcom 2

Marvel vs. Capcom 2 is a new iOS port of Capcom’s classic 12 year old fighting game Marvel vs. Capcom. The game showed up at No. 10 on the top paid iPhone and iPad charts earlier this week, and is currently available at a sale price of $2.99 in celebration of the recent Avengers movie. On May 6, the price will go back up to $4.99. The game is available as a Universal download from the App Store.

Marvel vs. Capcom 2 is a tag-team fighting game in which two teams of three combatants (drawn from Marvel comics and Capcom’s back catalog of video game characters) face off against each other, battling one-on-one with occasional assistance from their other teammates. Victory is achieved by defeating all three of the opponent’s team members, or by having the highest total life remaining when the match’s time limit expires.

As in Capcom’s popular Street Fighter series, which forms the basis for the game’s mechanics, each character has access to a number of special moves. In the original arcade and console versions of the game, these were performed by moving the directional controls in a particular combination and then pressing one or more buttons, but this iOS port introduces a “flick” button — a virtual switch which may be tapped or flicked in one of four directions to more easily perform the special moves on the touchscreen controls. A second “flick” button allows players to call on their teammates to tag in or perform “assist” moves, which vary by character.

As players successfully complete matches, they earn “points” which may be used in the in-game shop to unlock new characters, color schemes and art galleries. These points may only be earned through play and may not be acquired via in-app purchase.

The game also features a multiplayer feature where two players, each with a copy of the game on their device, can compete against one another wirelessly. This only uses Bluetooth, however — there is no means of playing the game via the Internet using Game Center or other networks.

Since Marvel vs. Capcom 2 makes extensive use of pixel-art visuals and was originally designed for standard-definition displays, a lot of the game’s art looks extremely pixelated, particularly on the large screen of the iPad. While this is authentic to the original game, a lot of App Store reviewers have criticized it for this reason. Indeed, while it would have been a massive job to create new “HD” sprites for the characters, all of whom have many frames of animation, it would have taken relatively little effort for Capcom to at least update the interface to high-resolution. As such, it leaves the interface looking a little messy, with the few interface elements which are in higher resolution clashing immensely with the other, more pixelated features.

While touchscreen controls lack the tactile feedback necessary for truly accurate play in a fighting game, Marvel vs. Capcom 2 does a surprisingly good job of letting players feel like they are in control of their character. The on-screen buttons can be customized to the player’s own requirements, and the “flick” buttons prevent a lot of frustration. Ultimately, though, most fans of Marvel vs. Capcom 2 — a fairly complex, hardcore fighting game by all accounts — will likely prefer to return to a version with physical controls once the novelty of playing on a mobile device wears off.

At the time of writing, Marvel vs. Capcom 2 is the No. 10 top paid app, the No. 19 top grossing app, the No. 17 top paid iPad app and the No. 66 top grossing iPad app. Follow its progress through the App Store charts with AppData, our tracking service for iOS and social games and developers.