Monday, July 6, 2015

More Complicated Than Fun: Lego Marvel Super Heroes Disappoints!

The Good: Fun, Challenging, Moments of coolness
The Bad: Very glitchy, Camera perspective issues, Overly complicated
The Basics: Lego Marvel Super Heroes is a tougher game to play and win than most of the Lego based video games, especially because the game freezes up periodically!

My wonderful wife has been working hard the last few years to get me to relax. Over the last year, she had gotten me a handful of video games and some of them have truly tickled me. Based on her success with keeping me engaged with LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga (reviewed here!), she recently picked me up the Playstation 3 version of LEGO Marvel Super Heroes. Unfortunately, unlike the other Lego video games she has gotten me, the LEGO Marvel Super Heroes did not land. In addition to being surprisingly glitchy - the game freezes up at some key moments - the game is much more complicated than it is fun, mostly because of characters the player is forced to play with on the various levels.


Lego Marvel Super Heroes is a video game that encompasses most of the Marvel universe, uninhibited by the various companies that have rights to different Marvel properties. As a result, the players are able to play Avengers, X-Men, Spider-Man and memvers of the Fantastic Four, as well as the full array of Marvel villains from Dr. Doom to Loki! The entire Marvel universe is recreated in LEGO form, though it occurs mostly in and above New York City. Animated with the joint structure of Lego mini-figures, one or two players team up and run around New York City, as seen through the lens of the Marvel Universe.

Almost exclusively focused on the characters of Marvel Universe, players run around shooting, jumping, using telekinesis, slinging webs and using magnetic powers to achieve goals and kill minions being used by the major villains. With the destruction of each minion, Lego pieces explode and change to coins. Players collect coins to purchase new characters as they are unlocked as the game progresses. By using the left and right keys, one may toggle between the characters they have available and as one becomes more adept in the game, it helps to assemble a team that allows the player to toggle between mutants, shooters, telekinetics, and diggers. The first time through each level, players are forced to use between one and four specific characters, without the ability to create a team of one's choice.

After the successful completion of a level, the player may replay levels to find minikit pieces and rescue Stan Lee (who is on each level needing rescue, but is often behind an obstacle for which a different character is required). In the free play mode, the character may wander more and find things at their own pace, as well as enjoy levels outside of a time limit or imminent threat.


Set in the Marvel universe, the essential plot of LEGO Marvel Super Heroes focuses on the heroes trying to stop a cadre of super-villains in advance of an attack by Galactus. The Silver Surfer arrives on Earth where his board is fragmented and the cosmic bricks becomes objects that the super-villains are obsessed with collecting. The various X-Men, Marvel geniuses, Avengers and vigilantes work to try to stop the villains and collect all the Cosmic Bricks before the villains can harness their power!

Game Progression

Lego Marvel Super Heroes is a pretty straightforward video game with a view that is usually slightly back from the character the player is playing. The net effect is that the view is like being followed around by a camera, as opposed to a first-person shooter style game. The perspective issue actually becomes problematic at times when the “camera” does not follow the view of the player. Sometimes, that means that players cannot actually take advantage of the bonuses that come up on screen because the line of sight is blocked by other characters (usually, this happens when one is jumping off the helicarrier).

Lego Marvel Super Heroes also have levels where the perspective is back away from the various characters. That causes problems when characters have to move into the background, but there are objects that block the view. On several levels, there are points where one has to try the bomb or throwing object highlights just to see what is on the level!


The Lego Marvel Super Heroes game was designed for high definition systems, like the Playstation 3 (reviewed here!). We played it on the Playstation 3 connected to our Sony Bravia HD TV (reviewed here!) and it looked and sounded good. Directions from Agent Coulson are essential to hear and throughout the game, they are clear and audible. The figures have an unsurprisingly blockish form to them, which makes sense because they are Lego renditions of the characters. The backgrounds and buildings, however, are more impressive in the way they are represented.

The sound effects are accurate to the sound effects from the Marvel Cinematic Universe's films. When things are destroyed, though they sound like Lego blocks rattling around.


Because Lego Marvel Super Heroes has the linear narrative and the free play available for each level, but given how frustrating most of the levels are because of the characters one is forced to play with, it is hard to want to go back to replay the levels with the ideal character combinations. Moreover, if one wanders around New York City between levels, the holographic Agent Coulson that guides a player to the next obstacle has a tendency to disappear. It is easy to get lost between levels and waste a lot of time trying to remember where one is supposed to be headed. Unfortunately, to unlock more bonus levels and earn all of the gold bricks, one must go back and do better, find quest objects hidden throughout, and earn more money.


The Lego Marvel Super Heroes is frequently problematic with the perspective and the game freezes up on multiple levels. Between that and the sheer volume of tasks to complete after one has already won the main plot of the game, this is a Lego-based game that is not as accessible or enjoyable as the others I have tried.

For other Marvel products, please be sure to visit my reviews of:
Marvel Universe She-Hulk Action Figure
Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 1 trading cards
2014 Hulk Smash! Hallmark Ornament


For other video game reviews, please check out my Software Review Index Page!

© 2015 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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