The ubiquity of tablets and smartphones has lead to a burst of new releases that try to incorporate tabletop games with apps. NECA’s HeroClix TabApp lets you put a mini on your iPad and defeat supervillains with your flying fingers of DOOM.
The concept of combining a tabletop game with the latest technology is not exactly new, and I guess I’m kind of a purist, so I’m a little skeptical to begin with. It doesn’t help that I’m not the target audience for this — the minis have a goofy, cartoonish quality, and the intended age range is 8-14. But it’s a pretty neat idea and the graphics looked great, so I could see killing some time with this, especially if you have kids.
How this works is, you buy a pack of three HeroClix figures for $14.99 at your local mass market retailer. Then you download the free app, which works with all generations of the iPad (possible Android port in the future). You put one of the minis on the screen with the app running, and the game recognizes the mini based on the pattern of little nubs on the mini’s lower surface. It loads up a unique scenario for that character (each character gets a few), and the game begins.
At Gen Con, I tested out Captain America’s scenario. Your figure remains stationary on the screen, while wave after wave of A.I.M. goons come at you. You defeat them by repeatedly tapping on them. You will occasionally acquire power-ups (again, by tapping), that allow you to activate special powers by swiping your finger across the screen. You might stun a bunch of opponents at once, trigger a defensive shield, or deactivate the bad guys’ special abilities. There’s a final boss, and if you beat it, you move on to the next level.
It was challenging enough that I couldn’t breeze through it in one try. The figures have regular HeroClix bases, you can use them in a regular tabletop battle. At launch there will be two sets, Avengers and X-men, and D.C. sets are coming soon.
If I try to put myself in the shoes of me at age 10, I have to say the concept of wanting new figures to put on the iPad to unlock new scenarios would be pretty compelling. Even 10-year-old me would want better sculpts, though.