Heroes in small packages.
The heroes and villains of the Marvel universe are given the “chibi” treatment for this game based on the kids TV show. Published by THQ and aimed clearly at the younger audience, Marvel Super Hero Squad: The Infinity Gauntlet features a host of popular Marvel superheroes as they go about saving the universe.
For those that do not follow the cartoon series on which this game is based, prepare to see your favorite heroes act in a way that you have only ever seen in your nightmares. Ignoring the fact that they all have small bodies and over-sized heads, the way they speak and act will be completely alien to you. Gone is the angst and darkness that makes so many of these heroes interesting, and gone is the malevolence that is usually found in super-villains. It is replaced by heroes that are cracking one-liners and live up to the most childish of stereotypes, and the villains are about as threatening as Dora the Explorer. I don’t mean to be harsh, but forewarned is forearmed and you really need to know what you are letting yourself in for.
But if you can accept that, or if you are already a fan of the TV series, then you can get on with the game without needing to cower in the corner of the room, crying.
The story behind the game revolves around the Infinity Gauntlet, a device that can destroy the entire universe. It has fallen into the hands of Super Skrull and the player needs to track down and retrieve all of the Infinity Gems that power the Gauntlet before Super Skrull can use it. Each of the levels will involve two heroes working together as they battle various foes and overcome puzzles, before going toe to toe with a boss and obtaining one of the gems.
The player can control one hero whilst the AI controls the other, with the player being able to swap between heroes at any time. It is also possible to have a friend drop in and out of the game to control the second hero if more assistance is required. The game is not especially difficult, but with the utterly hopeless partner AI, having a friend help out can prove useful.
Each of the heroes have their own special moves. A lot of the puzzles and obstacles in the levels are designed to take advantage and make use of these special moves, mostly requiring that the player just switch characters to solve. They also each have a power move that charges as the player defeats enemies and, when activated, unleashes a devastating attack that can prove invaluable against the more hardy foes and the end of level bosses.
In a similar manner to the Lego games, players are able to go back into levels in freeplay mode with any of the unlocked heroes, and hunt for goodies. There is also a challenge mode that can be played by up to four players.
As already pointed out, the game is aimed at the younger audience and thus can perhaps be forgiven the relative lack of variety through the game. There is the occasional mini game to be found that offers the player something different. But these are, by their nature, very short and then the player is thrust back into the same action as before. From a visual point of view, the game is certainly no masterpiece, but it does a good job of recreating the look and style of the TV series. However, and I don’t think that I have ever said this before, I did find that there was perhaps too much use of colour in the game. Mind you, that could have just been me.
Fanatical followers of the Marvel Universe should really avoid this game as no-one wants to see their favorite super hero reduced to an overwhelmingly cute child’s plaything with an annoying voice. But fans of the TV series, children, or even fans of the Lego games to some degree, will find the game enjoyable. There is a fair amount of content in the game and those that are interested will certainly be kept busy for a while.