Should you side with Poison Ivy to protect her plants from being used by the Church of Blood for nefarious concoctions, or should you help Batman keep Punchline and her gang from stealing WayneTech's gear? DC Heroes & Villains takes you on an insider tour of what goes on behind enemy lines, whether your definition of "enemy" is Nightwing or Lex Luthor. The match-3 RPG tells a compelling story about both sides working together to face a common threat, but is the narrative enough to carry the game through, or are you better off getting your DC fix elsewhere?Table of contents:
During the match-3 combat itself, the characters are portrayed in card portraits, but each time they unleash a skill, their abilities are animated slightly to showcase Batman whipping out his Batarangs or Killer Croc lobbing a container truck onto the opposing forces. The tiles offer satisfying effects as well each time you clear them, whether you're matching to fill up your energy bar or finding the best tiles to combine to generate a special tile.
Characters you pull from the gacha will have corresponding colours and each time you clear similarly coloured tiles on the board, you can charge up that character's energy bar until you can unleash a special attack. This is where your strategic prowess comes in, as you need to find the best combination of characters to add to your party to maximise your firepower. Do you make sure you have a character to represent each colour on the board, or do you instead focus on tanking, DPS, and debuffs to win?
After the game was officially launched, I was more than happy to give it another go, mainly because I love DC so much - and I really did feel like the beta version had a great deal of potential with just a little bit more polish. I'm happy to report that the official release does improve greatly upon the beta version, as the party requirements have been removed and the visuals are now way better, particularly with the previously lifeless tiles.
Also, while the beta version made the game incredibly limited, the energy system now doesn't feel as restrictive. It's still a drag to run out of energy, but the game is more generous now when it comes to login bonuses, free Battle Pass rewards, and its daily energy refresh. While the game's difficulty is still a bit of an issue (you'll have to grind previously three-starred missions to level up enough to progress to the next stage), it didn't feel as punishing as it did before.
For reference, I normally play the game as I start the day in the morning and again before I sleep at night, and the energy system feels adequate enough as a free-to-play player. I was also able to pull enough characters from the gacha to nab myself some really good ones, as opposed to the fragments the beta version used to offer.
For instance, when I finally scored Blue Beetle from his free banner, it was a complete game-changer. Suddenly, I could clear levels where the enemy's combat power was greater than mine, mainly because Jaime has a special skill that grants a barrier shield to all allies, boosting my survivability.
On the flip side, I did encounter a few bugs along the way, like the game crashing on me a few times, and some visual glitches on the character screen. I also don't enjoy the auto-play function of the game too much, as its match-3 battles become more of a I-just-want-to-get-this-over-with experience rather than a more intellectual one. Each character has his or her own passive and active skills that can really open up a bunch of strategies for you, but because there's an auto-play element, battles become a simple matter of toggling the auto-play button and choosing whoever's got the highest combat power.
Still, if you're looking for an entertaining time-waster where you don't have to exert too much of an effort to strategise, then this title is an incredibly enjoyable way to do just that.