Embracing the Undead Within
Marvel Zombies brings a familiar yet refreshed chaos to fans of the Zombicide series, this time with a Marvel Universe spin. The incorporation of the Hunger mechanic, borrowed from Cthulhu: Death May Die, adds a tantalizing layer of strategy to the game. As you sink deeper into your zombie persona, you gain strength, but at the risk of becoming Ravenous – a state that significantly hampers your ability to fight and can damage your character if you end your turn in this state.
The Evolution of Skills
The classic, sprawling skill trees of Zombicide have been pruned to allow for a more profound individual Hero ability system. While this means some characters may feel a bit too familiar game after game, it also opens up space for more intricate abilities that require thoughtful maximization, especially when combined with the strategic flexibility of choosing player order.
Missions with a Marvelous Twist
Each box set from the core to the F4 and Hydra expansions introduces missions that are distinct and engaging. Despite some missions having a sense of déjà vu, the addition of Bystanders and unique objective cards ensures that each playthrough feels different. The Fantastic Four box, in particular, has been a highlight with missions that significantly alter the gameplay style.
The Right Level of Challenge
Marvel Zombies strikes a balance between being approachable for newcomers and challenging for seasoned players. The randomness of the Hero roster may occasionally tip the scales, making some missions feel like an uphill battle, but when the pressure is on, the game shines brightest, demanding quick thinking and tactical planning. The loss can sometimes be as memorable as the victory, providing a learning curve that entices players to come back for more.
Silent Moves and Critical Traits
A welcome change in this edition is the elimination of noise tokens, which has been universally applauded for adding stealth tactics to the fray. The traits system and the Bystanders introduce a depth to the gameplay, encouraging players to think critically about their choices and their implications on the overall strategy.
The Struggle for Power
Not all characters are created equal in Marvel Zombies. Some struggle to find their footing, especially early in the game or if their abilities lean too heavily on late-game developments. The Trooper Side-Shooter spawn card is particularly irksome, at times turning a well-planned strategy into a frustrating game of chance.
Marvel Zombies is a robust addition to the Zombicide series, offering a fast-paced, streamlined experience right from the start. Heroes and Zombies alike feel powerful out of the gate, and the necessity for specific items to defeat Abominations is a thing of the past. Yet, the most intriguing aspect of the game is the moral inversion – players are cast in the role of the villain, which adds a rich, thematic layer to the gameplay.
Playing as the antagonist provides a unique perspective that is both mechanically and thematically different from previous iterations. It’s a game that respects the lineage from which it comes, while daring to tread new ground. Whether you’re a fan of the Marvel universe, a Zombicide veteran, or simply looking for a cooperative game with a dark twist, Marvel Zombies delivers an experience that’s as thrilling as it is unique.