Marvel Super Hero Squad: The Infinity Gauntlet – Review

Title   Marvel Super Hero Squad: The Infinity Gauntlet - Review
Developer  Griptonite Games
Publisher  THQ
Platform  Nintendo DS, Nintendo 3DS, Wii, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 (version reviewed)
Genre  Fighting, Beat em up
Release Date  November 16, 2010

Ever since Hollywood got a sniff at the proverbial pot of gold that could be made from the plethora of comic book characters already in existence it’s been non-stop release after release. It’s not to say that they’ve been totally buggered to hell and back like some sort of Uwe Boll bastardization, quite the contrary; if anything we should be giving film producers a gentlemanly doff of our caps to say thanks for some quality films such as Iron Man.

It goes without saying, however, that whatever pies Hollywood has their sticky fingers in, the gaming world won’t be too far behind and, sure enough, we’ve seen dozens of movie tie ins as well as stand-alone games.

Marvel Super Hero Squad: The Infinity Gauntlet (TIG from here on out) takes a different approach, and perhaps offers a side to some fan favourite characters that many may not have known existed. The likes of Wolverine are present, resplendent in his tight yellow spandex, but gone are the cigars and side burns bushy enough to serve as a small habitat, instead replaced by a rather puberty hit “bub”. It’s the same for any of the characters present, of which there are plenty; Hulk, Iron Man, Spider-Man and Thor to name but a few. Their grown up visage has been thrown away like a stray spidey web only to be replaced with much younger versions of themselves.

Starting the game was a bit like stepping back to my childhood; on one TV channel would be Andi Peters sat in the Broom Cupboard with Edd The Duck but on the other would be the likes of Spiderman and X-Men. Sure they’re a little bit younger but the colour palette is more than enough to reminisce of simpler times, a time when Super Heroes could kick the shit out of the bad guys with no potential law suits for aggravated assault.

TIG borrows much of its gameplay from the LEGO <insert series here> games, with the main concept behind playing being almost identical, from the camera angle to the way you can swap characters and work as a team to solve puzzles (pushing switches at the same time). It’s nothing that affects the game badly and, if anything, it probably does make it rather enjoyable as the LEGO style games are now tried and tested and it’s a formula that works.

The story is as simple and generic as they come; you, as one of the world’s greatest super heroes, have to collect the missing fragments of the Infinity Gauntlet before Thanos gets his wicked way and becomes invincible, no doubt wreaking havoc along the way. To be fair to the story, despite the overall cliché surrounding it, there is plenty of humour to keep it tugging along. Have you ever seen Iron Man and the Hulk shoe shopping? You will do! Fighting waves of enemies will be your primary occupation but there’s also a bit of puzzle solving to be had. You’re not likely to run into any puzzles that will have you scratching your head for hours or searching for an online walkthrough but they do a good enough job at breaking up the frequently monotonous combat.

There are, however, some moments of magic within the story, such as a Donkey Kong inspired section of a level where you have to run up the side of a building while having barrels thrown at you. It’s these moments that make the story mode rather enjoyable to a degree at least.

Moments of pure frustration do occur, with bad AI taking the blame and usually in relation to the computer not wanting to play ball and do his/her part to solve the puzzle. It’s such a core part of the game’s mechanics that you really do feel let down by it and although it only happens rarely, it was more than enough to leave a sour taste in your mouth. It’s at times likes these that you really wish you had a co-op partner, which the game does support and it’s a feature that works well – at least if your partner is failing to hit the switch at the wrong time you can Hulk Smash him off the sofa and finish up with a “pick up your game, bub”.

The story mode won’t keep you occupied for too long; a couple of hours here and there and you’ll soon have it finished quicker than you can read a vintage Argos catalogue circa 1990. There’s still a bit more to keep you going and if you’re keen, then the challenge mode is probably where you’ll start off. Challenge mode is nothing more than specific objectives which you have to complete as fast as possible, earning yourself a coveted place upon the leaderboards. It’s all good fun really and if you often find yourself with leaderboard envy then you could get quite a good bit of mileage out of it.

    • Nice audio especially voice cast.
    • Great set of characters.
    • Decent enough level of visuals.
    • ‘Wonky’ AI at times.
    • Short story mode.
    • Very repetitive.

It doesn’t take a criminal mastermind to see that this is aimed at a younger audience, so if you’re craving ultra-violence followed up with a hefty dose of tea bagging and “yo mama” then this probably isn’t the game you’re looking for (waves hand). There are still plenty of reasons to give it a go; the humour, strangely addictive gameplay and a strong cast of characters being the Holy Grail. A title that many will probably scoff at and although it won’t give you hours upon hours of entertainment it’s worth picking up every now and then to release that inner child in you.

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  1. Edward Edward says:

    Sounds like its a lot more fun than I’d have thought it’d be, but I can’t go back to the Lego game styles, I lost too much of my life to those. Too much.

    Another great review, Ben! :D

  2. Lorna Lorna says:

    Sounds like an interesting title, the graphic style is very bouncy and cuddly, so no maiming and dismemberment will be found. As a kid’s title it actually sounds pretty good – perhaps you’re right and we have the Lego games to thank for that. I think that they showed that family games, or those with an eye to a younger audience don’t have to be naff. Sounds like a good game for Christmas to play with the kids that won’t melt your sanity too much, at least.

  3. Mark R MarkuzR says:

    Colourful, isn’t it?? I was going to say “any game with HULK in it can’t be bad” but then remembered the original HULK text adventure which was about a minute long once you worked out how to get out of that black hole. I’m just not in to the LEGO style games at all… Star Wars was good for a few hours until I couldn’t do anything else and realised I had to go back through the WHOLE thing with other characters just to unlock each part… then go back through with yet more different characters… ad infinitum. Bo-ring. So yeah, love the whole Marvel thing and would love to give it a go myself but not at the expense of my patience. Very simplistic and pretty looking game though.

  4. rich says:

    I’ve added this to the rental queue, sensing a quick max. Although any games aimed at kids tend to favour the bollocks collectathon.

    Good review, Ben!

  5. Ben Ben says:

    @Rich Difficulty levels do stack so play on the hardest from the start, and yeah there’s a lot of collecting going on but to be fair shouldn’t be that time consuming. I had most of the main collecting done by time I finished the story line and wasn’t really going out of my way to find bits.

    Is definitely one for your lemon thread over on the forums :)

  6. Samuel Samuel says:

    Looks like it could be a decent little lemon… I wouldn’t go out of my way to play it, but if I came across it in a bargain bin for a fiver in the dying days of the 360 era, I’d probably pick it up. I’m a sucker for anything comic book.

    Good review Ben.

  7. Michael Author says:

    The characters aren’t really a younger version of themselves, they’re more chibi because it’s based off the young childrens cartoon, which is absolutely terrible!
    I think I’ll give it a miss though. I’ve had my fill of Marvel and LEGO games for a while!

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