Disney Mirrorverse is so close to not being mobile game trash
I really want to like Disney Mirrorverse. When I heard about his dark fantasy reimagining Disney characters in a shared universe, my Kingdom Heart was quite a flutter. In the Mirrorvese, Belle is a witch with a magic staff, Sully wears a mech suit, and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has a demon arm. Need I say more? Between that and the surprisingly engaging combat, Mirrorverse is a game I could see myself getting seriously into. Unfortunately, Mirrorverse is a fairly standard mobile game filled with microtransactions, so time isn’t the kind of investment it’s looking for.
If you’ve played Kabam’s other free games like Marvel Contest of Champions of Shop Titans, you already have a pretty good idea of what Mirrorverse looks like. It uses many underhanded tactics to encourage overspending and hide the true price of things. At its core, Mirrorverse is a character collector like Fire Emblem Heroes or Genshin Impact, but getting and upgrading those characters is incredibly difficult unless you’re willing to spend.
Characters come from loot boxes called crystals. Some crystals can be earned by logging in daily, completing objectives, and completing limited game modes like events and dungeons. These are additional ways to earn crystals that are quite limited. The main way to acquire crystals is to buy them with orbs. A crystal costs 280 orbs, but of course you can’t buy 280 orbs. You can buy 350 orbs for $10, which leaves you with 70 remaining. You can buy two 350 packs and one 175 pack for $5 to get three crystals with 35 orbs remaining, or you can just get the 1,055 orb pack for $30, of course you’ll still have 65 orbs left over short of four crystals. . The math never really works in your favor, and that’s by design.
Opening a crystal will give you a character from a pool of 35 to 40 with a random rarity of two to five stars. Each crystal has a featured character that has a slightly higher chance of dropping than the others, but in general your chance of getting a particular character is around 2.5%. The rarity rating further worsens the odds. There is about a 95% chance that your character will have three stars or less. The odds of drawing a particular character with a five-star rating are approximately 0.003%. Mirrorverse is a Disney slot disguised as a video game.
The crystal economy is just the tip of Mirrorverse’s exploitative design. Orbs are just one of the many items you can buy – even if it doesn’t tell you so at first. As you progress through the story, you’ll unlock the ability to purchase limited-time bundles filled with crystals, upgrade materials, orbs, and other currencies. Plans start cheap and get more expensive as you spend. The first set of bundles are only $3, but soon you’ll have the option to spend $7, $10, or even $30 on these bundles. Sometimes when you buy one it will be replaced with another that offers even better value than the one you just bought, so you feel like your first investment is a waste if you don’t invest. in the second. By the end of the second chapter, I had 11 different packs available along with messages from the game team in my inbox reminding me that time was running out. The game gives you a mailbox and fills it with spam.
Of all the schemes in play in the Mirrorverse, the one that frustrates me the most are Cards. These are paid daily login bonuses that seem like a good deal initially, but require you to login every day in order to get the maximum value. I can buy the Beginner’s Crystal Card for $3 and earn a Stellar Crystal every day for a week, which seems like good value. Since I’m logging in anyway, I might as well buy the Beginner’s Orb Cards and collect 200 Orbs every day. Now that I have $7 and have already committed to logging in every day, the $25 card filled with two weeks of three-star crystals also seems like a pretty good idea. Of course, if you lose all the items you paid for one day, you forget to log in.
There’s so much more to hate about how Mirrorverse is monetized. Each time you earn a crystal, you have to swipe all the way through the store, past all paid options, to access the one you already have. There are nine types of currencies and upgrade items, including energy, that you must spend to actually play the game. There is no easy way to earn any of these currencies. There’s a tab in the shop called the bazaar that offers eight random items for orbs or gold, the most common earned currency, but you should check it constantly if there’s a specific resource you’re looking for, or you can spend orbs to refresh the store. There’s another tab that offers specific three- and four-star characters for sale. Like the Bazaar, there are always eight of them and they rotate daily. They cost a different currency (called Stardust) which is incredibly rare. The best way to get Stardust is actually to buy crystals, as each character you pull comes with a small bounty of Stardust that matches their class type.
It’s a shame that all of this has to weigh on the Mirrorverse, but underneath there’s a pretty solid game. The story is essentially Disney Secret Wars – an incursion event that causes the multiverse to implode and evil crystal copies of Disney heroes and villains to invade through a mysterious shattered mirror. Events are small subplots within this story that build the world. In one, you help Tron and Buzz Lightyear reset time to stop Zurg from taking over the Mirrorverse amid all the chaos. It’s a marvelous world of comics that deserves to be explored further. It also has great combat that’s both simple to learn and endlessly complex once you start factoring in all of your team’s abilities and passive bonuses. There’s plenty of depth in team building and a decent amount of skill in gameplay, but it’s all in the service of flashing neon signs constantly reminding you to spend more money.
There’s a lot of disdain for mobile games right now, and Mirrorverse is guilty of using a lot of the same tactics that Diablo Immortal uses to separate players from their money, but I don’t think we should just accept that. is how mobile games are. While not perfect, neither Wild Rift nor Pokemon Unite are casinos masquerading as video games, and popular games like PUBG, Fortnite, and Apex Legends Mobile are more or less the same experience you get on pc and console. There’s no reason, other than greed, that mobile games should stoop to this level, especially the one with Disney characters. I’m still trying to figure out how to explain to my nephew that he can’t play as Stitch until he presses the lever on that slot machine a hundred times. His allowance is only $20 a week, so it may take a while.
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