Marvel Puzzle Quest
Developer(s)Demiurge Studios
WayForward Technologies (HD port)
Publisher(s)D3 Go!
Designer(s)Steve Fawkner
Will Jennings-Hess
SeriesPuzzle Quest
Platform(s)iOS, Android, Windows, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Kindle
ReleaseiOS, Android
October 3, 2013
December 5, 2013
PS3, PS4, Xbox 360
October 16, 2015
Xbox One
February 4, 2016
March 29, 2016
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer

Marvel Puzzle Quest is a 2013 puzzle game developed by Demiurge Studios and published by D3 Go!. The fourth installment in the Puzzle Quest series, it is a free-to-play, match-three Bejeweled-style puzzle battle game set in the Marvel universe, featuring 336 playable, unlockable, recruitable Marvel characters.[1][2]

It is available for free on the App Store for iOS, Google Play for Android and Steam for Microsoft Windows.[3] A high-definition port of the game developed by WayForward Technologies was released on PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and Xbox 360 in 2015, and Xbox One in 2016. The game was released on Amazon Kindle in 2016.


Players assemble a team of three Marvel superheroes or supervillains from various storylines, controlling the team against a team of up to three other superheroes or supervillains in match-three, turn-based battles.[4] Each color-coded match does damage to the player's opponent, while creating action points which can obtain special skills. Gems disappear and are replenished from above as they are matched.[5] When they are matched, the six colors of gems on the board grant energy that can be used to execute special moves.[2] Players trade hits back and forth until one of them is downed. When all enemies are downed the fight is over revealing a reward for the winner: one of the in-game currencies, special boosts or a new character. This character can be added to your roster. If it's a duplicate, it becomes a level-up cover.[5] Players earn points by winning battles, and then apply the points to unlock new attacks and level up.[6] The board is highly tactical, with up to half a dozen potential considerations beyond the best match at any given point.[2]

There are two main modes: story and multiplayer, where the players can fight against other teams controlled by the game's artificial intelligence.[2] The game is free, with opportunities to purchase level-ups or new characters.[2][5] New characters, a bundle of Iso-8, hero coins and other items can also be obtained by replaying old levels.[5] As a player's roster expands, the possibilities for team composition and skill selection also expand.[5]

A player collects in-game comic book covers to unlock new characters and improve existing ones.[7] Each character has a set of real comic book covers associated with them, which represent the character's abilities and allow the player to improve the character's abilities or level them up.[8] In July 2014, Team-Ups were introduced, allowing a player to battle with single-use abilities from characters that aren't part of the player's teams.[9] Characters are ranked in different tiers using stars. They range from one star characters which are the weakest to five star characters which are the strongest and most powerful.


The story involves a powerful new substance called Iso-8 and Norman Osborn's attempts to supplant S.H.I.E.L.D. There are five missions to stop Osborn on his worldwide terror spree.[2] The original story is based on the Dark Reign storyline and was written by Frank Tieri and Alex Irvine.[10] Irvine also wrote other player versus environment events of the game, such as “Webbed Wonder,” where Spider-Man teams up with Howard the Duck to find out Aunt May's whereabouts.[11]


The game features an array of classic Marvel heroes and villains, including Spider-Man, Captain America, Wolverine, Iron Man, Thor, Black Widow, Storm and Magneto, along with lesser-known characters like Moonstone.[6][7][8] In commemoration of the game's first anniversary, Thor: Goddess of Thunder, the female version of Thor, was added on October 17, 2014, making Marvel Puzzle Quest the first video game to feature the character. Devil Dinosaur was also added as a playable character for the anniversary, via an anniversary pack and as a daily reward for those who had been playing for over 365 days.[3][12][13] Other characters that have been added since the game's inception include Blade in October 2014[14] and Cyclops in February 2015.[15] Kamala Khan, who was announced as a new Marvel character in November 2013 and is the first Muslim superhero to lead a comic book series, was featured in the game.[1] The game has steadily received two new characters per month.[16] As of June 2024, there are 336 characters in the game including 8 one-star, 16 two-star, 68 three-star, 148 four-star and 96 five-star characters.

Six variants of existing characters were created specially for the game: a Peggy Carter who became Captain America, and eventually got both a comics version as part of the Exiles,[17] and an animated version in the show What If...?;[18] Wolverine (Samurai Daken), where Wolverine's son takes on his father's codename as an atonement for killing him;[19] Deadpool (Spirit of Vengeance), a Deadpool that became a Ghost Rider;[20] Hit-Monkey (E.D.I. Suit), wearing a suit mimicking Loki's powers from a dead mercenary;[21] Omega Red (Horseman of Pestilence), who was recruited by Apocalypse to join his Horsemen;[22][23] and Vulture (Armor Wars), wearing an armor built by Justin Hammer from reverse-engineered Stark tech.[24][25]

History and development

The first Puzzle Quest game, Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords, was conceived and designed by Australian game designer Steve Fawkner, the original designer of the Warlords computer game series, which he created in 1989. In creating Puzzle Quest, Fawkner was inspired by his love of the tile-matching puzzle video game Bejeweled.[26] Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords was picked up by D3 Publisher and released on March 20, 2007, for the Nintendo DS and PlayStation Portable.[26] It was an instant success, winning a 2008 Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences award for Downloadable Game of the Year. It was also nominated for Handheld Game of the Year.[26][27] Versions for Xbox Live Arcade, Wii, Windows, PlayStation 2 and mobile followed later that year. It was released for PlayStation 3 and iOS in late 2008.[28][29]

Marvel Puzzle Quest was launched worldwide by D3 Publisher and Marvel Entertainment on October 3, 2013.[4][5] It was the second game developed internally by Demiurge Studios.[30] The game was originally titled Marvel Puzzle Quest: Dark Reign, before the subtitle "Dark Reign" was dropped following a July 2014 update. D3 Publisher stated that the revised title signified the beginning of the game's expansion beyond the "Dark Reign" storyline.[9]

On February 18, 2015, Sega Networks acquired Demiurge Studios, but the acquisition did not include the rights to Marvel Puzzle Quest.[30][31]

In early June 2022, it was announced that live operations of Marvel Puzzle Quest had been passed over to Broken Circle Studios, who had at that point been working on the game for several months.[32] Soon after, 505 Games would acquire D3 Go!.

Critical reception

IGN rated the game a 9.1 out of 10, writing, "Marvel Puzzle Quest has taken the idea of a puzzle game with a strategic/role-playing element overlay, and turned it into an intricately crafted, remarkably deep experience". IGN added that the game is "compelling at each level" with "constant challenges and goals to work toward".[2] Touch Arcade awarded it four out of five stars, calling it "compulsively, sickeningly playable" and writing that, in comparison to other Puzzle Quest games, Marvel Puzzle Quest is more calculated and strategic, with a focus on team fighting rather than individual combat.[5] The game has received a rating of 74 on Metacritic.[33] MacLife said it "does a good job of spicing up the match-three genre for comic fans".[7]

Marvel Puzzle Quest is a 2014 Tabby Award Best Android Apps and Games winner in the Game: Puzzle, Cards & Family category.[34]

Peter Rubin,[35] Contributing Editor at Wired Magazine, wrote a feature length article about the game 7 years after release, Marvel Puzzle Quest Might Just Be My Forever Game[36]

See also


  1. ^ a b Victoria McNally, "Exclusive: Marvel Superhero Kamala Khan Is Making Her Video Game Debut," Archived 2015-03-28 at the Wayback Machine MTV News, March 26, 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Rowan Kaiser, "Avengers, Assemble Your Gems!" Archived 2022-01-21 at the Wayback Machine IGN, October 11, 2013.
  3. ^ a b "Marvel Puzzle Quest Celebrates One-Year Anniversary in Style," Archived 2015-06-26 at the Wayback Machine, October 2, 2014.
  4. ^ a b Megan Farokhmanesh, "Marvel Puzzle Quest: Dark Reign launches for iOS, Android Oct. 3," Archived 2016-11-02 at the Wayback Machine Polygon, October 2, 2013.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Joseph Leray, "’Marvel Puzzle Quest: Dark Reign’ Review – Match-3 RPG in the Marvel Universe," Archived 2022-01-21 at the Wayback Machine Touch Arcade, October 12, 2013.
  6. ^ a b Brad Gallaway, "Marvel Puzzle Quest: Dark Reign Review," Archived 2021-05-09 at the Wayback Machine Game Critics, January 28, 2014.
  7. ^ a b c Nathan Meunier, "Marvel Puzzle Quest: Dark Reign Review," Archived 2015-09-08 at the Wayback Machine MacLife, October 8, 2013.
  8. ^ a b "Marvel Puzzle Quest Developer Diary," Archived 2015-11-06 at the Wayback Machine, October 29, 2013.
  9. ^ a b Aldrin Calimlim, "Marvel Puzzle Quest drops ‘Dark Reign’ subtitle, welcomes Deadpool and Team-Ups," Archived 2015-04-14 at the Wayback Machine, July 29, 2014.
  10. ^ "Join the Action in Marvel Puzzle Quest: Dark Reign Episode 1," Archived 2015-06-26 at the Wayback Machine, December 9, 2013.
  11. ^ "Howard The Duck arrives in Marvel Puzzle Quest". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on 2021-08-13. Retrieved 2021-08-13.
  12. ^ Phillip Martinez, "Marvel Puzzle Quest Developer Talks Thor: Goddess Of Thunder And Return Of Devil Dinosaur At New York Comic-Con 2014," Archived 2017-05-20 at the Wayback Machine iDigitalTimes, October 13, 2014.
  13. ^ S. Prell, "Marvel Puzzle Quest is first game to include female Thor," Archived 2018-07-15 at the Wayback Machine Engadget, October 5, 2014.
  14. ^ Nick Tylwalk, "Marvel Puzzle Quest Adds Blade Just In Time For Halloween," Archived 2015-09-24 at the Wayback Machine, October 23, 2014.
  15. ^ "Scott Summers! Slim! Ol One-Eye! CYCLOPS! Finally in Marvel Puzzle Quest!" Archived 2020-11-08 at the Wayback Machine Demiurge Studios, February 12, 2015.
  16. ^ Puzzle Quest Might Just Be My Forever Game
  17. ^ Holub, Christian (19 April 2018). "Peggy Carter is Captain America in new Marvel comic". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on 9 October 2021. Retrieved 6 May 2019.
  18. ^ "Marvel Studios Next Cap ... Came From A Mobile Game?". 26 June 2021. Archived from the original on 2021-08-13. Retrieved 2021-08-13.
  19. ^ "Piecing Together Marvel Puzzle Quest: Wolverine (Samurai Daken)". Archived from the original on 2021-11-12. Retrieved 2021-08-13.
  20. ^ "Marvel Introduces Deadpool As Ghost Rider". Archived from the original on 2021-04-10. Retrieved 2021-08-13.
  21. ^ "CREATING A CHARACTER: HIT-MONKEY". D3 Go!. December 22, 2022. Retrieved September 23, 2023.
  22. ^ @MarvelPuzzle (July 27, 2023). "Check out MPQ's newest Original Character take on Omega Red (Horseman of Pestilence)! ☠️ Swear fealty to Apocalypse and don the mantle of a Horseman to gain the power to steal life itself from your foes" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  23. ^ "Piecing Together MARVEL Puzzle Quest: Omega Red (Arkady Rossovich) & Omega Red (Horseman of Pestilence)". July 27, 2023. Retrieved September 23, 2023.
  24. ^ @MarvelPuzzle (August 24, 2023). "Check out MPQ's brand new Original Character as Vulture (Armor Wars) takes to the skies alongside his Classic counterpart. Recruit these dangerous flight risks today" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  25. ^ "New Character - Vulture (Classic) / (Armor Wars)". D3 Go!. August 21, 2023. Retrieved September 23, 2023.
  26. ^ a b c Richard Moss, "From Warlords to Puzzle Quest: The Journey of a Video Game Pioneer," Archived 2022-02-07 at the Wayback Machine Polygon, November 6, 2013.
  27. ^ "Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords," Archived 2022-02-28 at the Wayback Machine, 2008.
  28. ^ "Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords," Archived 2018-02-01 at the Wayback Machine IGN, March 20, 2007.
  29. ^ "Challenge of the Warlords Now Available at iTunes Store," Archived 2017-07-16 at the Wayback Machine IGN, January 16, 2009.
  30. ^ a b Samit Sarkar, "Sega acquires Demiurge Studios, but not its best-known game, Marvel Puzzle Quest," Archived 2018-09-12 at the Wayback Machine Polygon, February 19, 2015.
  31. ^ Dale North, "Sega Networks acquires Marvel Puzzle Quest’s Demiurge Studios, invests in 2 Western developers," Archived 2021-03-03 at the Wayback Machine VentureBeat, February 18, 2015.
  32. ^ Finlay, James. "Meet Broken Circle Studios - Developer Blog (6/2/22)" Archived 2022-07-21 at the Wayback Machine, D3 Go!
  33. ^ "Marvel Puzzle Quest: Dark Reign," Archived 2015-04-05 at the Wayback Machine Metacritic, October 3, 2013.
  34. ^ "2014 Winners, Users’ Choice and Finalists," Archived 2014-09-04 at the Wayback Machine Tabby Awards, 2014.
  35. ^ "Peter Rubin".
  36. ^ Rubin, Peter. "'Marvel Puzzle Quest' Might Just be My Forever Game". Wired. Archived from the original on 2021-12-05. Retrieved 2021-04-20.