Marvel vs. Capcom 2 for iPhone and iPad Review

Marvel vs. Capcom 2 is one of the most beloved fighting games of all-time. Casual fans loved it for the over-the-top action between their favourite comic book and video game characters, while hardcore players made it the battleground for the most high-stakes money matches in the history of the genre. After conquering the arcades and consoles, Marvel vs. Capcom 2 is back; this time on your Apple iOS device of choice. Packing all of the characters and moves from the original, Capcom is hoping that you’ll take it for a ride one more time.

When it comes to fighting games on iOS, controls more often than not make or break the experience. For a game like Marvel vs. Capcom 2 that requires players to manage three characters with tons of special moves and techniques very quickly, I can imagine this being really hard to translate into an iOS-friendly control scheme. Capcom’s solution to managing the madness is the flick button. By flicking the button in different directions, you can trigger different moves even though you’re technically only interacting with one button. This gives players the opportunity to manage multiple special moves, assist moves, alpha counters, Delayed Hyper Combos and Team Hyper Combos with two flick buttons.

By default, the game gives you one punch button, one kick button, one special move flick button and one assist flick button to work with. If you want a control scheme that works more like it would on a regular controller or fightstick, the game features a 6-button layout with two punches, two kicks and two flick buttons to manage both of your assist characters.

If you are a casual fighting game fan, this control scheme will probably work just fine. The buttons work as advertised and the overall responsiveness is about the same as you’d find in Street Fighter IV: Volt or King of Fighters-i. However, if you have a base understanding of the Marvel vs. Capcom 2 mechanics, you’ll very quickly run into the limitations this control scheme brings with it. If you’re on the standard 4-button layout, some of the things you can’t do include:

– calling in a specific assist
– tagging in a specific character
– activating specific super moves in a DHC
– snapping in a specific character
– activate a specific Hyper Combo that isn’t mapped to your character’s health bar

If you’re playing on the advanced 6-button layout, you gain more control of your assists and normal moves but you lose access to the handy (and arguably pivotal) special move button. Regardless of which control method you choose, your options will be limited in some capacity. Casual players or those not looking to deep dive into the particulars will make due with the control schemes available and not give it a second thought. However, if you’re a series veteran that’s looking to Cha Cha Desmond with your Mango Sentinel, then the limitations that the control schemes present will cramp your style. In the game’s defense, deriving an easy-to-use control scheme for a game as complicated as this isn’t easy, but games like Street Fighter IV: Volt and King of Fighters-i did manage to make their games work within simplified control schemes while sacrificing far less than Marvel vs. Capcom 2 does.

If you’re willing to accept either of the control schemes available, you’ll find a fairly standard issue feature set, such as an arcade mode with two difficulty settings, local multiplayer and training mode. Everything works as advertised and aside from online multiplayer, it does what you’d expect a fighting game to do. The feature set does have one major point of contention though, as the game forces you to unlock most of its 56-character roster. The game also doesn’t really let you choose what order you can unlock these characters is. On one hand, it’s a way of extending replay value. On the other hand, if you just want to wreck shop with characters that have been locked, you may be forced to play this game for a long time before you actually get the characters you want.

One other factor worth noting is the game’s speed. The frenetic pace of the game is one of Marvel vs. Capcom 2’s defining elements. On iOS, the game does run at a slower speed. I’m not sure if this is a technical limitation of my iPhone 4 or if it was a conscious decision by Capcom, but experienced Marvel vs. Capcom 2 players will definitely notice the speed decrease. As someone who always had issues with the game going too fast, I am fine with this. However, I can see this being a deal-breaker for series veterans, as it throws off all of their previously learned input-timing.

Despite Capcom’s efforts to make this fighting game classic an iOS-friendly experience, Marvel vs. Capcom 2 ends up being a mixed-bag. The 12-year-old core of the game is still great, but veteran players may take offense to the way the game was ported over. It doesn’t stack up compared to the premiere fighting game titles on iOS, but if you’re looking for an alternative to Street Fighter IV: Volt or King of Fighters-i, this should fit the bill.

7 thoughts on “Marvel vs. Capcom 2 for iPhone and iPad Review

  1. jsicktheslick April 26, 2012 / 9:17 PM

    I sort of assumed the controls wouldn’t be as excellent as they should be, but the flick method does seem interesting to say the least. Unlocking characters (and I’d assume colors) is just like how it is on the Dreamcast Port: you earn points by playing the game and then spend those points to unlock new characters/colors. It took me a hell of a long time to get them all.
    Great review man, this pretty much told me to steer away from the game, as I was on the edge of buying.

    • Jett April 26, 2012 / 11:39 PM

      Thanks for the comment!

      Yes, unlocking is just like the Dreamcast port and yes, it’s gonna take a long time to get everyone. For an iPhone game in particular, I don’t know if anyone will want to put in the effort to unlock everyone for a game that most people will play in very short spurts.

      • jsicktheslick April 27, 2012 / 12:11 AM

        I agree with you. I think forcing players to unlock every character is a bad move. Not only because people will likely play in short spurts like you mention, but also because the last port of the game on the PS3/Xbox 360 came with the entire cast fully unlocked.

  2. mugentrainer May 15, 2012 / 10:11 AM

    Two things:

    1. Characters that can fly are able to fly with the toned down key config. All you need to do is flick up on the special move flick button.

    2. The unlocking characters bit was fun until characters stopped showing up as being unlockable. I don’t have all 56 characters out yet, only 40 something, but all of a sudden I have two sold out slots and no new characters. I don’t have Morgan, Dan, Iron Man, or Cammi, just to name a few, kind of frustrating.

    • Jett May 15, 2012 / 1:51 PM

      Thanks for the flight tip! I’ll update my review.

  3. Bobby Wilkins III July 15, 2013 / 10:59 AM

    Garbage! Garbage! Garbage! I have it and there so many bugs its a freaking shame! The game stops accepting commands if the battle runs to long. The easy mode is harder then the the normal mode. I have to combo 5 times to kill off one character while they can kill me off with only one! And them when the CPU is ready to finsh me my block stops working. The buttons are way way way to small and the game it self is not even a fraction compare to the mortal kombat version for iOS. I am not a mortal kombat fan but its so much better!
    Please do not buy this game. Dont waits your time and money. It’s garbage!

    • Jett July 16, 2013 / 11:33 AM

      Thanks for the comment!

      It’s a shame that this turned out as poorly as it did. I was kind of hoping for an iOS port of MvC 3 like they did with SFIV, but MvC 2 makes me second guess that desire.

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