Marvel Super Hero Squad: The Infinity Gauntlet Review for Nintendo Wii (Wii)

Marvel Super Hero Squad: The Infinity Gauntlet Review for Nintendo Wii (Wii)

I Need a Hero!

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.

Marvel Super Hero Squad: The Infinity Gauntlet Screenshot

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 The Infinity Gauntlet is chock full of outdated puns, cheap one-liners, and a whole lot of paint-by-numbers dialogue.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.

Marvel Super Hero Squad: The Infinity Gauntlet Screenshot

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.

Marvel Super Hero Squad: The Infinity Gauntlet Screenshot

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.

When you tire of the single-player game, you can jump on over to the Challenge Mode. Challenge Mode offers gameplay elements lifted right out of the single-player game and can be played with up to four players. There’s not a single challenge that’s even remotely entertaining, and at least one of the games is borderline broken. Iron Man Robo Racing put me behind the wheel of a kart so tiny I initially could not make out what type of game I was actually playing. Once I found my character on the track, I was left to bounce wildly off the track walls in a desperate attempt to make my way around the course five times. Super Smash, on the other hand, is simply more mindless button mashing – oh joy!

Marvel Super Hero Squad: The Infinity Gauntlet Screenshot

Cradling all this uninspired gameplay is a presentation that is almost criminal. Regardless of whether or not you enjoy the super-deformed appearance of the heroes of the Super Hero Squad, the visuals here look two generations old. The textures are blurry, and the environments are bland and blocky. Characters animate with an abrupt, robotic gait.

As I delved deeper into the adventure, I kept hoping the game would eventually get better. Instead, I was appalled by just how bad some elements of the game look. Close up, certain assets give the impression the game could have been an N64 title from over ten years ago. There’s nothing particularly sloppy about the production values; the game just looks very low-budget, outdated, unoriginal, and somewhat vacant.

The audio components really do go hand-in-hand with the rest of the game’s poor presentation. Musical themes are completely forgettable, and the sound effects do absolutely nothing to lend weight to the gameplay. The voice acting is perhaps serviceable in light of the tone THQ and Marvel seem to be going for with this game, but I was far from entertained.

Marvel Super Hero Squad: The Infinity Ward is a pretty big disappointment for me. Though I have little interest in the related Cartoon Network series, I do relish pretty much all things Marvel – that is until now. The characters have been utterly ruined and the gameplay isn’t even moderately entertaining. The package feels completely slapped together, with production values unfit for this generation of gaming consoles. “Good for Wii” is one thing; good for N64 is something altogether different. The extras are paltry, and the main gameplay component is pedestrian. Do yourself a favor and find another hero to rely on this holiday season.

Though there are few visual flubs to criticize, The Infinity Gauntlet is an ugly game due to blurry, low-resolution textures and uninspired art design. Poor animations and a chugging frame rate make the ends meet in a very unsatisfying manner. 3.5 Control
There’s little to balk about with regards to controls. However, the level design and A.I.-controlled camera make for clumsy gameplay. 2.5 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
There is music, and there are sound effects. Neither element of the game’s presentation make much of an impression. The voice work is fine if you enjoy the sort of generic humor on offer here. 2.5 Play Value
You might experience the occasional waft of fun if you deign to undergo this adventure. However, the whole of the experience adds to up to a watered-down romp through rudimentary level design and tragically anemic gameplay. 2.6 Overall Rating – Average
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.

Review Rating Legend
0.1 – 1.9 = Avoid 2.5 – 2.9 = Average 3.5 – 3.9 = Good 4.5 – 4.9 = Must Buy
2.0 – 2.4 = Poor 3.0 – 3.4 = Fair 4.0 – 4.4 = Great 5.0 = The Best

Game Features:

  • Superpowers Go! Smash, bash, and destroy objects, enemies, and everything else in your path as you complete multiple missions in three game modes.
  • New Environments! Fight enemies in Super Hero City, Olympus, and other Super Hero Squad environments from the cartoon series.
  • Collect Rare Super Hero Squad Items! Grab your friends in co-op play and collect rare objects and unique items to unlock Challenge Mode levels and costumes.

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