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Marvel's Original Match-3 RPG
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Assemble a team of Marvel’s biggest super heroes and villains and battle with Puzzle Quest’s trademark match-3 and story-telling gameplay in a game that combines favorite Marvel characters with a deep RPG leveling, player vs. player, character upgrades, and more.

In the wake of the Iso-8 Outbreak, the super hero community struggles to recover. Taking advantage of the chaos, super villains take control of National Security. Dark Reign follows these events that twist the destinies of both the heroes and villains of the Marvel Universe forever.

During a fight, your goal is to down all of three opponents on the opposite team, not unlike Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, with your own roster of heroes/villains. Level them up with ISO-8 and power up their abilities with their respective comic book covers.

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Not to be confused with similar themed games such as Puzzle Quest, Jewel Quest, Puzzle & Dragons, or any other Marvel-affiliated video games.

A few real quick notes, due to the confusion that can arise such as naming the different abilities of characters.

There are 5 different ranks in the game, represented by the number of stars under a character. Each rank can be trained to a higher level than the previous one, with rank 1, or 1-star, having a cap of 50, and 2-star having a cap of 94, and further up. For each rank, a character of the same name, for example Magneto, can have two different move sets and looks. Magneto has a 2-star variant and a 3-star variant that both have different move sets, with rank-2 Magneto having better board-clearing abilities and rank-3 Magneto being more defensive. Because of this, Magneto might be described as having two moves that don't seem to relate to each other.

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Currently has a page for documenting cards and events. There are tier list constantly for both beginners and veteran players.


Tropes that apply to the gameplay:

  • Absurdly High Level Cap: Level 270 doesn't seem so high until you have to account for the amount of Level Grinding required to reach using absurd amounts of ISO-8.
    • The new level cap is 550, with an added twist that every level after 450 on a five-star character has to come from a five-star cover, which are absurdly rare in the first place.
  • Absurdly Low Level Cap: It's a shame that one-star comic book characters can only reach level 40-50 at the maximum. Even worse, they can't be upgraded into Champion like two-star characters.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: When you don't know where to make a match in a jumbled mess, the game highlights a potential match that you can make.
    • Any maxed-out character will have 13 levels in their 3 skills, aside from the rare characters who have two abilities (but those are all 1 star as of the latest versions), but they must be used on the character as they get randomly selected covers of those skills. To avoid any inconvenience, if a character has max skill levels in skills the player may not like, the player can change them if they get a cover of the skill the player wants to add by removing a level in one of the other two skills of the player's choice. Champion characters have the added bonus of doing this for free instead of using up a skill cover to do it.
    • Clearance levels representative of progress in-game was added to address scaling issues in Story Mode where everyone was playing for the same rewards but players with better rosters were taking a longer time clearing the missions. The more experienced players can now choose to play in higher clearance levels against tougher enemmies but sharing a leaderboard with similar rosters for better rewards, while newer players are limited to lower clearance levels where they earn rewards more representative of their current progress.
    • The ability to turn off skill animations was added after complaints that excessive animations were slowing down clearing speeds.
    • The ability to save covers for two-star or higher characters limits wasted covers for characters who aren't at their maximum level (so can't be championed), but who have one or two powers already at their highest level.
  • Area of Effect: Most skills with AOE effects hit only the enemy team, but there are a select few, like Carnage's Symbiote Scythes, that hit both the enemy and player team.
  • Artificial Stupidity: The computer is a fairly decent opponent, but the more simplistic nature of it means that it's prone to tactical flaws.
    • The computer will use any skill available as soon as possible, limiting it to one skill use per turn if it has enough AP to use an ability more than once. This means that certain player-built teams will murder when played by a real person, but when you face them as a computer, they suck. A good example in one character is Wolverine. His green skill gets better the more red AP he has stored, but as he has a skill that uses red AP, he will end up using his red AP skill and remove that bonus to his green skill gets from having stored up AP.
    • The computer will compulsively make matches in a row. This means even if there are tiles in the shape of a cross, the computer will give up a free move for matching 5 tiles in a T in order to match up the tiles in a line (usually only 4) and clear that row.
      • That also extends to matching colors. The computer will normally try to match tiles it's strong in, and sometimes match a tile that it wants to get rid of, such as a friendly countdown tile, however it will forgo that if there is a 4 in a row match. Although it's rare, there are opportunities to use this to make the computer ignore a much more devastating match, such as a countdown tile, to get the 4 in a row.
  • Barrier Warrior: Invisible Woman can use Force Crush to either create more barriers or destroy them for extra damage. There's a reason why she's ranked Legendary (4 stars) in terms of rarity.
  • Blocking Stops All Damage: No matter how many defense tiles are on your side, all attacks will always do at least one damage.
  • Boobs-and-Butt Pose: Rare male example for Cyclops.
  • Boring, but Practical: This trope could be filled to the brim with examples from this game, but there are a few examples that stand out.
    • Deadpool's daily was clearly designed to mimic daily quests from MMOs, and it does a good job. 2 of the missions on any given Deadpool's daily will grant solid amounts of ISO, and two others will grant special taco tokens. You can clearly see what all is available to win in a taco token and you can see what has been removed from the pool. Finally, there is a required character battle to earn one of the tokens. Do that, and it will unlock a very challenging mission that will give you a cover of the required character as a reward. This last bit may be the most useful, as level 3 characters are hard to find regularly and so if one appears as a required character, it can allow a player to get a cover that might otherwise be difficult to come across.
    • Even with access to better characters, keeping a few one, or much later 2, star characters is very helpful. They won't see much screen time compared to the higher leveled characters, but at the very least Deadpool's daily, mentioned above, requires low level characters to complete every mission and get bonus ISO.
    • A lot of players with low level characters will often compete in PVP. It might seem insane, but due to special pvp events giving everybody a high level fighter that acts as the theme of the event, even low level parties matched up against a higher level party can win due to humans being able to easily beat the computer enemy.
    • Lightning rounds. Especially joining right when they start to fight the low-level starter teams. A player can fight up to a dozen easy battles per round, each giving a good chance to drop a 2 star cover, and a new round starts every two hours.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Deadpool does this a lot, quite a lot, both with his daily missions, his unique quest line, and his skill descriptions. Gwenpool also does this an obscene amount with her hero abilities, which are named "'SPLOITS" which talks about cheating and exploits, "Plot Armor" which talks about being important in order to stay alive in a story, and "Deus ex Machina" which talks about plot convinces and turns into "Chekhov's Gun". "'SPLOITS!" Also mentions "This game has a Wiki, right?" One gets the impression she's read This Very Wiki
  • Cast from Hit Points: Several skills will cost the user a portion of their HP, from Juggernaut's Headbutt to Sentry's Sacrifice.
    • On the enemy side, The Hand's Black Arts skill will cost the HP of their teammates in order to heal the caster.
  • Character Level: Depending on the rarity of the character, the maximum level can range from 40 to 450. See Absurdly High Level Cap and Absurdly Low Level Cap.
  • Combat Exclusive Healing: Groot's Yellow ability allows it to heal for massive amounts with a single yellow match during a fight, while outside of matches its healing rate remains the same as all other 3 star characters
  • Combat Medic:
    • Classic Black Widow's Anti-Gravity Device heals all team members, or provides less healing and increases enemy countdown tiles.
    • Spiderman's Web Bandages help heal his allies with extra health and even more provided that there are at least 3 Web Tiles.
    • Beast also can heal his teammates using his Medical Marvel ability.
    • Kamala Khan's Bring Out The Best heals her team when another member's special ability is activated.
  • Combat Pragmatist: The Punisher and Black Widow (Grey) both simply pull out guns and shoot their enemies, with The Punisher being more cost effective and having better crowd damage and Widow pulling out a high caliber sniper rifle and a pistol.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Be warned that A.I. opponents can create cascades of matches to the point where you would question the legitimacy of the game, or worse, smash your gaming screen. Although it should be noted players can also get such cascades as well, it's often set up to where the computer suddenly gets one and has enough AP to fire off all the abilities of its team after being denied AP by the player, while the player's cascades usually only give enough AP to use maybe two abilities.
    • Although not seen in PVP, for story or "campaign" missions, the computer may be given characters with levels beyond what they can get normally, such as Yelena above level 40, in order to facilitate a challenge or story piece and keep the combatants relevant. However, it's not very frustrating as the game does a good job at keeping such characters unique in a fight, adding more variety.
    • There is also a very odd phenomenon where enemy special tiles, or more specifically any tile other than a countdown tile, will appear to drop down from the top after it gets destroyed by some means. Fight against Bullseye (Dark Avengers) or let an enemy Storm use Hailstorm and use a tile destroying skill. You might just see the very tile you removed with that ability drop right back down.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: There are a few points you run into this.
    • The main one is overall team build. Each character has colors they use to power their abilities, as well as how much damage they do with that color when matched. If you place too many characters on your team that use the same color, you will suffer from a lack of AP in some colors while other AP just builds up uselessly. A good example would be Invisible Woman and She-Hulk. Both characters are solid support characters, but both of them use green and blue heavily to do their job. This can lead to one character starving for AP and unable to do their job properly.
    • Some characters can do this as well. The now infamous "Bagman Spiderman" is a very good example of this, due to having two abilities that were best suited against countdown tiles, and his one useful move was very expensive, taking 14 AP or one AP less than Half of your AP limit, and hardly ever worth the cost of using it.
    • And speaking of which, the minions themselves count, as their only job is to spawn countdown tiles. They cannot make any matches and constantly gain AP each turn to make up for it. This makes a few setups very potent against them, and even characters who can't do anything against countdown against them still have a chance of matching and destroying them before they go off.
  • Damage-Sponge Boss: In the main storyline Dark Reign, Ragnarok will constantly replenish himself with his ability Lightning Rod as long as he has enough blue tiles.
  • Dynamic Difficulty: Enemy levels in Story mode goes up as the player's characters become stronger, leading to many venting their frustrations at being "punished for progressing".
  • Every 10000 Points: Players get XP for winning fights, which when they get enough lets them level up and earn a significant amount of ISO-8.
  • Exclusive Enemy Equipment / Unusable Enemy Equipment: the player can choose from plenty of characters for their roster, both heroes and villains; however, grunts, enemies who cannot match any tiles and only use countdown tiles to attack, are not usable by any player. And of the full characters who can make matches, Ultron-Prime and Gorgon, leader of The Hand, are so far the only ones that cannot be used by the players; every single other matchmaking hero can be in the player's roster.
  • Fan Nickname: almost every character that has a variant has one. Names vary from simple acronyms (OBW, OML) to longer names based on their variants (Teen Jean, Patch) to completely original ones (Flaptain). In some cases various combinations of characters even had their own nicknames (Fistbuster).
    • Back when certain 2 star characters were retooled as 3 stars with higher skill damage these 3 star characters were labelled as Lazy characters as the developers were deemed lazy to create completely new skillsets and would rather power up whatever skills they already had onto a new rarity.
  • Fastball Special: Naturally, Colossus can use this ability when collecting enough black tiles.
  • Good Thing You Can Heal: It's indeed a good thing too, because a Glass Cannon like Wolverine or Daken can't take much hits without their Healing Factor.
  • Gradual Grinder: Attack tiles are designed to chip off the opponent's HP even if you are stunned.
  • Hoist by Their Own Petard: Players can be done in by various skills that benefit the opponent. Bullseye (Dark Avengers) and Spider-Man (Classic) create Protect tiles when collecting purple tiles, Storm (Classic)'s Raging Hurricane damages players if they are given a high enough damage amount, Quicksilver (Pietro Maximoff)'s Supersonic blocks off team-up blocks with every blue tile match and if enough are made, will damage his opponents.
  • In Name Only: The game bears the Puzzle Quest name, but the gameplay is 100% Puzzle and Dragons.
  • Instant-Win Condition: Get enough Deadpool points, and he can drop all the whales he has for an instant win.
  • Item Farming: Iso-8 can be easily obtained from completing missions, but Hero Points are much tougher to earn due to it being a premium currency.
  • Irony: Due to the way matchmaking works on story and pvp events the best way to get top rank is a little odd. for any one event, there will be a leaderboard that will have 1000 people in it. Once 1000 people fill up one board, it makes a new one and places the players on that one instead. The best way to get a high score? Wait. After a day or so everybody will be playing the event and filling their leaderboards for that event and so you will instead join leaderboard that isn't filled, and usually the people won't be playing it too much, making it much easier to reach a higher teir of rewards.
  • Level Grinding: See this chart as a reference on how much resources you must invest in a character's level.
  • Level Scaling: The most common gripe about the game among players, so much that some players intentionally underlevel their characters to get lower leveled enemies.
    • Played with in Versus mode, where higher leveled rosters tend to see more rosters similar in levels to theirs.
  • Made of Explodium: When you make a match of 5 or more tiles horizontally or vertically, the entire column and row is completely destroyed and creates a critical tile. The critical tile will explode as long as you match it with any other colored tiles. Also depends on a character's ability, such as Bullseye's Murderous Aim where he can create a critical tile.
  • Made of Indestructium: There are ways to lock up a tile through various abilities, such as Quicksilver's passive ability Supersonic or Invisible Woman's Force Bubbles, and the tile you locked up won't be destroyed even if you make a match with it.
  • Match-Three Game: You can think of this game as Marvel's equivalent of Bejeweled.
  • Mook: Grunts, soliders, non-heroes, or any other name for them. Unlike every other character, they cannot match tiles, they gain AP automatically each turn, and all their abilities are countdown tiles. The player cannot use them, they have no unique identity, meaning unlike other fighters you can fight more than one in a single match, and you can run through them without taking a single point of damage if you're good enough.
  • Mook Maker: Gorgon's Awaken The Hand summons his army of Hand ninjas.
    • Kingpin's Maggia Pawns summons members of the Maggia crime family.
    • The Boss version of Iron Man has a House Party Protocol skill that summons his drones to take damage for him whenever damage dealt exceeds a certain threshold.
  • No-Sell: Professor X can use his ability Blind Spot to create an Invisibility tile that renders him invincible against enemy attacks.
    • Any invisible character, only possible through Professor X, Invisible Woman, Howard the Duck, Spider-Man (Miles Morales), and Spider-Man (Back in Black) currently, cannot take damage but are automatically moved to the back of the battle roster come turn's end. If they are the only character, then they will not take damage from anything other than team hitting attacks.
  • Non Lethal Ko: Characters who were KO-ed will recover their HP by using a health pack, or letting it regenerate over time.
  • Not the Intended Use: several combos are actually made viable due to the gimmick of a character corresponding with the gimmick of another one that uses more "generic" ability triggers, such as strike tiles.
    • A good example is of Invisible Woman and Quicksilver working out very well, despite being one rarity apart and using 2 of the same colors. Quicksilver's blue ability is passive, and so he can build up blue tiles, locking down a team up tile with each blue match, for Invisible Woman to use to lock down tiles of her choosing, and by choosing only team up tiles and matching blue, this allows Quicksilver to spam damage for the entire enemy team, and since the Invisible Woman no longer has any use for her green tiles to detonate locked down blocks, Quicksilver can also use those for his own powers.
  • Obvious Rule Patch: Venom (Dark Avengers) used to be capable of pulling off a One-Hit Kill if enough web tiles were placed down on the battlefield. With Miles Morales (Spider-Man) coming in with the ability to place abundant web tiles with one ability, this was changed to a solid 2000 damage if the same conditions were met instead to keep players from abusing instant kills easily. It sadly had the side effect of making him even less useful than before.
  • One-Hit Polykill: Grey Suit Black Widow's Sniper Rifle. She appears to fire only one bullet based on the skill's sound effect, and the entire enemy team proceeds to get hit.
  • Power Copying: Taskmaster is an interesting variant: players can select what powers he has from a pool of powers, but all the powers he has are all copied from other characters.
  • Power Fist: Iron Fist himself is pretty much a human weapon when his hands deal so much damage.
  • Random Effect Spell: Various skills will randomly change tiles, such as Carol Danvers (Ms. Marvel)'s Strategic Command or Hulk (Indestructible)'s Thunderous Clap, which changes or destroys tiles at random respectively. Also, when used by the CPU, even targeted skills, such as Black Widow (Gray Suit)'s Deceptive Tactics, they will be placed at random.
    • Colossus's Fastball Special is a truer example, as once the thrown unit lands, they will use a random active skill they own at no cost, which can range anywhere from dangerously effective to disappointing.
  • Rare Random Drop: Comic book covers that range from 3-5 star rarity will be this to new players, and it can be quite frustrating to collect enough abilities to make the character viable to fight.
    • On the other hand, it's quite possible for a newbie to snag a 3-star character that starts at level 40 while the rest of their roster is struggling up to level 15. Even the weakest rares can turn into absolute monsters in these conditions.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Cyclops will definitely show this to you with his Optic Blasts.
  • Repeatable Quest: Both the game's story events and online events can be repeated, but the developers will rotate which characters get a powerup depending on the week.
  • Rubber Band Ai: Enemies levels go up as the player's characters level up.
  • Rule of Three: You select three characters, each character has up to three abilities they can use to fight, and three Team-Up powers you can borrow from your alliance.
    • A Charged Tile grants you 3 times the AP of its respective color plus 3 times the damage it generates from matching it. For example, you match 2 blue tiles + 1 blue charged tile, that damage 25 for each tile. This will result in 5 blue AP (1 + 1 + 3) and cause 125 damage (25 + 25 + 75).
  • Sequential Boss: Anniversary 3's Boss Rush event.
  • Serious Business: This game has gotten to the point where Conan O'Brien's special guest Blake Anderson confessed that it's affecting his marriage.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: Howard the Duck's Story Event. Spider-Man hires Howard to track Aunt May, whom he's concerned about. They proceed to piss off the Dark Avengers and the Maggia before learning that May was going to visit Dr. Octopus. In due time, Aunt May shuts down Doc Ock because he thought this was a date and she didn't see it as such, calls Spidey a menace for the ruckus he caused hunting her down and Howard doesn't get paid for all of his troubles. WAAAAAAAAAAAAAUGH!
  • Shout-Out: Iceman's "Build a Snowman" attack. Deadpool also has an attack called "Countdown for What?"
  • Smart Bomb: A critical tile can turn the tables for any players on the field with its universal compatibility of destroying any matching tiles.
  • Suicide Attack: If you don't hurry up and finish off the Iso-mutants minions, they will activate Detonate that will significantly damage you at the cost of their lives.
  • That One Boss: Galactus has literally become a meme of its own thanks to the 5 turn player losses on the first run of his event, together with the infamous statement from the developers "You're supposed to lose"
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill:
    • As demonstrated throught this YouTube video, a combination of Cyclops, Magneto, and Mystique leads to a devastating winfinite.
    • Deadpool normally sends a whale with his power, but with enough special Deadpool Points he can release the whales!
  • Tier System: All characters are separated by star rankings from 1 to 5 to represent their rarity and power
  • Trap Master:
    • Interestingly enough, Elektra uses her traps defensively only when she's about to be attacked. Elektra counterattacks any opponent that makes a match with her booby-trapped black tiles using Shadow Step.
    • Nick Fury definitely fits this trope when he uses his Demolition skill.
    • Initially, all three Daredevil's powers consisted of setting traps of different kinds. As a result, they were too random, and Daredevil was considered one of the weakest characters, suffering from Crippling Overspecialization. Since then, he's been reworked: now, only one of his powers sets traps.
  • Turn-Based Combat: When you make a match, the enemy also makes a match. And it goes on with the rotation.
  • Unstoppable Rage: Damaging Hulk by more than 5% of his maximum health will make many tiles turn Green thanks to his passive ability Anger.
  • Unwinnable by Design: The first run of Galactus Hungers had the enemy boss wiping out the entire player team in less than 5 turns max. Developers later said that this was by design, and to quote their words, "You're supposed to lose." Cue uproar from the player base.
    • Boss Rush is shaping up to be in a similar situation, as players are fighting three round 3 bosses consecutively with a combined total health equivalent to a round 8 boss on previous boss fights.
  • Vendor Trash: Any low level cover the player might not want can easily be sold for some extra ISO-8. However, a patch was released to change any covers for a max level character into a form of prestige leveling, changing redundant covers from vendor trash to extra EXP.
  • Video Game Tutorial: Complementary to new players that downloaded the game app from either iTunes or Google Play Store.
  • Villain Episode: The event "Prodigal Sun" is told from the perspective of the Dark Avengers.
  • Wolverine Publicity: Wolverine is so popular that he has four variations of comic book covers from 2-5 star rarity!
    • Iron Man also now has a cover at every rarity level except for 2, while Spider-Man, Hawkeye, and Black Widow have covers at every level except 4 (and that's not even counting other characters who share those titles).
    • Storm, Captain America (Steve Rogers), and Star Lord all get three appearances each as well. And the Venom symbiote appears across four different covers, although each is with a different host.
    • Following the release of Spider-Man: Homecoming, Peter Parker got a second 5-star entry, making him the first character with 5 different versions and the first character with two incarnations at the same tier.
      • And after the release of Avengers: Infinity War, Captain America becomes the second character to get two 5-star incarnations: one for Civil War Captain America and another for Infinity War Captain America.

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