Marvel Studios Next Cap ... Came From A Mobile Game?
One doesn't normally expect free mobile matching games to be heavy on plot, never mind character. And yet Marvel Puzzle Quest routinely does both, fusing strategy and role-playing sensibilities with Candy Crush addictiveness and comic book storytelling. The game's so good at it, in fact, that a few years ago, they introduced their own version of Captain America – an alternate-reality Peggy Carter that got super-soldiered instead of Steve Rogers – and Marvel Comics went ahead and made her canon.
So, to start, the thing you need to know about Marvel Puzzle Quest is (a) it's awesome, and (b) the role-playing part of it is actually pretty legit. Each round, the player sizes up their opponents, decides on the necessary powers to counteract them, and then selects three characters from the game's incredible and increasingly deep roster. Then the player, y'know, gets to matching all the pretty colors. Every match does damage and stores up Action Points that can eventually be used to activate powers and unleash Hell.
During the original flavor Captain America's 75th anniversary in 2016, the greater Marvel overlords tasked all of their mobile games with creating new versions of Cap as a tribute. Marvel: Avengers Alliance 2 debuted Jeremiah Rogers, a rough-riding variant who fought during the Spanish-American War with Teddy Roosevelt. Marvel Contest of Champions, meanwhile, just slammed Captain America and Iron Man together like an angry child, called him the Civil Warrior, and then started congratulating themselves for doing the bare minimum required of them.
While some of these Captain Americas have their fans – and the Civil Warrior may have, sort of inspired a costume choice during "Secret Empire" – none of them had the impact of Marvel Puzzle Quest's version. Turning fan-favorite Peggy Carter into Captain America, it turns out, wasn't just clever, but a gift to the multiverse that keeps on giving.
You see, two years after her debut, Saladin Ahmed and Javier Rodriguez's Exiles run included Captain Carter as a companion to their timeline-hopping Blink, making Peggy Carter's Cap an official part of the Marvel multiverse – something Ahmed openly credits to the mobile game. Meanwhile, the upcoming Disney+ What If series will also include a version of her, voiced by the MCU's Hayley Atwell.
Not bad for a game most people are probably playing on the toilet.
Eirik Gumeny is the author of the Exponential Apocalypse series, a five-book saga of slacker superheroes, fart jokes, and assorted B-movie monsters, and he recently added werewolves and assassins to The Great Gatsby. He’s also on Twitter a bunch.
Top Image: Marvel