The summer movie blockbuster movie season is over, but superhero fandom lives on in TV and video games. One of the most inventive takes on the Marvel comic book universe comes from the newly launched mobile game, Marvel Tsum Tsum. With it, players have a chance to collect Tsum Tsum-styled characters—inspired by the Disney plush toy line made for easy stacking into pyramids—and power them up to tackle puzzles and challenges.

Similar in some respects to a match-3-type game, players draw a line to connect strings of Tsum Tsum figures based on popular Marvel characters such as Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk, and others as they tumble onto the screen. Long matches enable different power-ups as players race to clear as many characters from the screen as they can before time runs out.

The game is developed by XFLAG and published by mixi, one of the most popular social networking services and smartphone game providers in Japan. It is distinctly different from Disney Tsum Tsum, which was developed and published by Line Corporation last year, even though both are inspired by the Disney toy line. Marvel Tsum Tsum launched in North America this week on both the Apple App Store and Google Play, with a roll out in other territories coming soon.

Erika Nakamura, senior producer for Marvel Tsum Tsum at mixi, describes the game to [a]listdaily: “Marvel Tsum Tsum is a simple-to-play connect-3 puzzle game. Players can also team up with friends to defeat supervillains.”

In discussing the mobile game’s social features, Nakamura explained that mixi’s XFLAG Studio “is focused on creating content that players can enjoy together with friends and family,” and that one of its core features is multiplayer so that players can pair up and compete. “Players can also connect with each other on Marvel Tsum Tsum via social media,” Nakamura adds, and mixi plans on promoting the game by hosting a viral campaign using its cooperative batter feature with a distinct focus on Marvel fans.

So what is the key difference between launching a mobile game in the North American market compared to Japan? “Compared to the Japanese market, in the North American market, there is less of a tendency for people to play together using smartphones. This is probably our biggest challenge,” Nakamura explained.

There are currently no cross-promotional plans between Marvel Tsum Tsum and the Disney Toy line, but Nakamura explains why the Tsum Tsum-style makes for such an appealing game. “The adorable Tsum Tsum characters with cute rounded forms contribute to their lovability. In addition, gameplay is simple but exciting with flashy and cool effects, like character skills. These are the main features that we believe make Tsum Tsum popular.”

Lastly, we asked what mixi tries to keep in mind when launching a mobile puzzle game such as Marvel Tsum Tsum globally. “We believe that running our service with a focus on our target’s needs is the key to success,” said Nakamura. “User testing will be done regularly after the launch to keep our service optimized for our players by improving the game to meet their needs.”