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An Underrated and Overlooked Marvel Game Is Free On Epic Games Store

A refreshingly unique spin.

Firaxis Games

The last few years have been great for gamers who love Marvel. Insomniac’s Spider-Man games have been decent, faithful adaptations of everyone’s favorite webslinger. Crystal Dynamics’ Guardians Of The Galaxy is an exceptional tactical action game and a make-good on the so-so live-service Avengers game. And the card battler Marvel Snap has become one of the biggest games on mobile and PC.

One of the weirdest games in this illustrious bunch, however, is Marvel’s Midnight Suns, a title that went largely underappreciated after its 2022 release. Luckily for those who missed it, Midnight Suns is free on the Epic Games Store right now, making it the perfect time to discover this hidden cosmic gem.

Created by Firaxis, the talented team behind the Civilization series and the recent XCOM games, Midnight Suns is a turn-based, card-tactics game with some social RPG elements reminiscent of games like Mass Effect or Persona 5. It’s a strange melding of ideas, but the result is refreshingly unique especially compared to other more traditional action fare in the superhero genre.

Marvel’s Midnight Suns is a card-based tactics game starring Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and their street-level vigilante friends.

Players take control of a customizable protagonist named The Hunter. In this role, you’re recruiting some of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes (and their more street-level colleagues) as you prepare to fight your eternal nemesis Lilith, the evil mother of demons who wants to take over the world.

The calamitous stakes set up a premise that is essentially a playable Marvel Team-Up comic. Players can enlist help from a roster of 16 iconic characters, including Blade, Wolverine, Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, Iron Man, and others. Some lesser known characters from Marvel lore, like the X-Men’s Magik, Nico Minoru from The Runaways, and the Robbie Reyes version of Ghost Rider, also get some time to shine.

The more action-oriented crux of the game may look like X-COM in screenshots. But in reality, Midnight Suns’ couldn’t be more different from Firaxis’ award-winning alien invasion manager. Players take turns positioning their team of three heroes and playing cards in their possession. The cards let heroes use their abilities against enemies, but there’s also a heavy emphasis on using environmental hazards and superpowers to strike from a distance. The game’s complexity never gets as granular as a Homeworld 3 in terms of strategy, but there’s just enough thinking and planning involved to create a meaningful challenge.

You’ll spend a lot of time just hanging out with your superpowered friends back at The Abbey.

Firaxis Games

In between these encounters, players go back to their homebase called The Abbey. Here, players can explore the area for collectibles, upgrade their gear, obtain better cards for battles, and most notably, engage in conversation with the heroes they’ve recruited.

Like Fire Emblem, or Persona as mentioned earlier, players can build a rapport with these heroes, completing small tasks and side quests. Building on those relationships can reap benefits for battles and provide more context for The Hunter’s mission. So long as players aren’t looking to romance these heroes (a glaring omission from the game), these sections are cheesy fun, and a fan-service-filled reprieve from the action.

Despite its quality and Firaxis’ pedigree, Midnight Suns flew under the radar. It was released in December 2022, barely out of the shadows of some of that year’s biggest releases including Sonic Frontiers and Kratos' highly anticipated debut on the PS5.

Midnight Suns is a weird little roleplaying game, one that does something fresh with its overexposed franchise. It still features the bombastic action you’d expect from a comic book, but slow things down for something a bit more cerebral, even cozy to play. Its predictable social elements may alienate some players who had been hoping to shake up the status quo of Marvel canon, but its thought-provoking battle system is more than enough to pull less-story driven players in for hours and hours.

Midnight Suns is available for free on the Epic Games Store until June 13.

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