|System: Wii, X360, PS3, DS|
|Dev: Griptonite Games|
|Release: November 16, 2010|
|Screen Resolution: 480p|
by Tony Capri
Marvel and THQ have been kicking around a new kid-friendly take on some of America's favorite super heroes, and this year they've come up with The Infinity Gauntlet for Wii. Does this dynamic publishing duo strike fear in the hearts of evil doers, or have the ranks of darkness taken over the world?
Marvel Super Hero Squad: The Infinity Gauntlet fires its thrusters with a nefarious villain in search of the Infinity Gems. Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk lead the fight against a cast of infamous baddies, though players will be taking control of a host of other heroes.
The game is based upon a series from the Cartoon Network, rather than Marvel's various comic series, so don't expect a complex plot. The Infinity Gauntlet is chock full of outdated puns, cheap one-liners, and a whole lot of paint-by-numbers dialogue. The story is strictly Saturday-morning-cartoon fare, and not the good stuff, either.
I was surprised by some of the awesome hero/villain inclusions (Silver Surfer, Scarlet Witch, and Red Skull to name a few), but it was heart breaking to see and hear the mediocrity they were reduced to. I can appreciate a desire to warm younger gamers up to Marvel franchises; it's just a shame that neither THQ nor Marvel seem to have put their best foot forward with this particular outing.
The Infinity Gauntlet is a pretty straightforward, action-adventure game. You can go it alone or have a friend join in via drop-in/drop-out, cooperative play. When playing solo, the A.I. for your partner does a better-than-average job of offering support, but the gameplay isn't very taxing. You'll beat up a few baddies, step on some pressure plates, use a super power to push past an obstacle, rinse and…well, you get the idea.
Though control calls for both the Wii Remote and Nunchuk, gesturing has been kept to a minimum. Each character plays essentially the same, with minor differences from hero to hero. The main distinction between each hero is a specific power that allows them to navigate certain obstacles. The Hulk can pick up and break large objects, and Falcon can dash quickly past pitfalls and such. The motion controls only come into play for special attacks, which are executed by thrusting both controllers forward. Each hero can perform basic combos, as well as jump, and the hero variety is really just an excuse for kids to see their favorite characters in action, rather than offer any notable gameplay variety.
The Infinity Gauntlet follows along a predictable path, borrowing inspiration from a slew of other games before it. The adventure is broken up into nice, bite-size chapters, and the pacing is pretty tight. Unfortunately, the execution is less than stellar. The camera control is given over to A.I., and the view often makes it extremely difficult to negotiate platforms or engage enemies. Though the game's enemies are mostly pushovers, the action still feels clumsy. Character movement is loosey-goosey, and the level design is haphazard in many places. After missions, you'll make your way back to the super heroes' ship, but there's nothing onboard to interact with.
Each chapter plays out in similar fashion, with bosses that call for the same simple strategy: button mashing. Whether you're going it alone or trampling bad guys with a friend, The Infinity Gauntlet is a shallow slog through cookie-cutter gameplay and clichés. There are glimpses of enjoyment – hints at a good time – but the game never transcends its station as a bankrupt mess.