Quoted from PanzerFreak:
Possible future owner here and would like to ask for some advice. I'm a big fan of objective based pins that tell a themes story through code. LOTR, Hobbit, WOZ, and Stern Star Wars have done this well to name a few. Does AIQ have a deep objective based ruleset? By that I mean are there a variety of modes that work the entire playfield versus hitting the same shots (hit ramp 5x, orbit 5x) over and over? I really enjoy how LOTR and Hobbit have shots timed to clips / animations and offer rewards for completing them. AIQ looks like a really fun pin.
Quoted from pineal:
AIQ definitely has a bunch of modes that work the entire playfield. There’s a strong narrative- keep the gems from Thanos and beat the bad guys - but it’s not tied to movie assets. It’s strongest feature, imo, is an incredible and unique layout where you can just combo for days if you can hit the shots. It’s really nothing like Hobbit though, in terms of depth or almost being like a role playing game. Still i’m able to stand there and keep pushing start for the pure joy of hitting the combos. Hobbit i usually feel spent after a deep game.
Quoted from CashMoney:
If you love those games, then you'll love AIQ. You are trying to steal the gems from the black order before Thanos gets them. Each wizard mode is part of the story line. This isn't a Lonnie D. Ropp game... You'll actually have fun with the code and rulset. Its so deep and there are so many ways to approach this game. Can't recommend this game enough.
I had a Hobbit and just sold it for AIQ. Happy I did. But they are VERY different games. I would not say for sure that if you like one, you'll like the other.
AIQ is WAY faster and more fun to shoot. I think Hobbit was actually kinda boring to shoot. None of the shots were inherently interesting. I think they did a good job code-wise to make the modes somewhat interesting, but the flow/individual shots were not nearly as engaging as AIQ.
AIQ is also WAY deeper than Hobbit. Hobbit has the business of the feeder modes and harder modes score better in the mini-wizards, but the complexity of what to do when isn't all too complicated. AIQ on the other-hand, I still have almost no idea what I'm doing. I usually know what I'm supposed to shoot within a mode, but the strategy of gem placement, sequence of gems, and stacking things for scoring optimization...head exploding. This isn't really a compliment or a dig, it's just a really complicated game. And I think there are a lot of times they could (should!) do a much better job of showing me what I'm supposed to shoot for. Some modes I only know because I know (watched video), not because the game makes it clear.
While there is a story, this and the voice acting are BY FAR the weakest aspects of AIQ. Hobbit is a major production. The audio and video assets are stellar. If you're a nerd about Hobbit - that game is a dream in terms of encompassing you in the Hobbit world. AIQ feels kinda thin in this regard. If you like Avengers because of the movies, you'll feel let down. I don't mind the comic aspect, but I don't feel drawn into the storyline. I know if I win a mode I get the gem and if I lose Thanos takes it, but I don't feel much adrenalin good or bad based on winning or losing a battle.
So, you need to decide what you find important. I like AIQ much better than Hobbit. To me, Hobbit was like chopping wood through the modes (albeit they were creatively done) to get to the FANTASTIC mini-wizard modes. It was just too much of a slog for me. I don't want to feel like skipping large portions of the game. AIQ doesn't draw me into the universe in the same way, but damn...this playfield is just fun to shoot. And as I've gotten more familiar with what to do, I'm enjoying the progression more. Just be ready to do homework reading the ruleset and figuring out obtuse strategies.
And more than anything, this game just plays differently than any of the games you mentioned. This game is fast and flowy, and has (can have) pretty short ball times. Obviously Hobbit (and especially LoTR) are complete opposite from that. Not trying to talk you out of it, as I said, I like AIQ better. But I don't feel it's accurate to say the games are in any way similar enough to assume if you like one you will inherently like the other.