|System: Wii, PS2, PSP, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Halfbrick Games||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: THQ||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Oct. 20, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
While playing single-player story mode, the game is a side-scroller of the simplest order. While controlling your super-powered mutant, you are charged with journeying from left to right in pursuit of the previously mentioned crystals. Along the way are several lackeys in need of quick disposal as well as a modest amount of platforming. Neither is a significant challenge though; the enemies are quickly and easily disposed of and the platform maneuvering rarely offers a real penalty for missing a jump.
There are only a handful of chapters to the story mode, each focusing on the player controlling a particular hero or villain for the chapters entirety, such as Wolverine or Magneto. After making it to the end of each section of the level, the game cuts in with a small load time and more of the bizarre cutscene dialogue before putting you back on your never-ending quest to travel to the right. At the end of the chapter, a boss encounter takes place against another superhero in what amounts to a scaled down Smash Bros. battle. The Smash Bros. clone sections of the game are the most fun, if somewhat easy against the computer-controlled AI.
Battle Mode is the other option for gameplay and is just the Smash Bros. clone from the story mode. Seeing as this is the best part of the game, its nice to have it separated out from the rest and readily available. Even better, it can be played with another DS user via Download Play for a one-on-one Marvel-themed, Smash Bros. rip off complete with item drops and power-ups. Battle Mode is the brightest point of the product and has the most potential for the future. Even as is, its an entertaining portable diversion when utilized with another player.
With all that said, you can probably see where this is going: unfinished presentation, subpar audio, goofy cutscenes, slightly excessive loading, graphics that would mostly appeal to kids 12 and under, and basic controls and gameplay should equal a subpar experience. So heres where things get weird. In spite of all these flaws, I actually liked the game a little bit. It has a very unique feel to it that somehow comes across as friendly and personable. While all the things said are true, magically (and I dont know how else it could have pulled this off, so Ill go with magic), the complete package isnt as bad as it should be. There is a peculiar charm here that could serve the developer well if this continues on as a series. They have their work cut out for them, though, as nearly every area needs significant work done, but likeability is high. And I dont know why, but I suspect it has something to do with The Hulks chocolate chessboard. Still, Marvel Super Hero Squad can only be recommended for young gamers who enjoy their superheroes and would do better with a simple game.
CCC Freelance Writer