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LEGO Marvel Super Heroes Review (Switch)

Long before Fortnite‘s metaverse and brands talking to each other on Twitter, there were the Lego games: winning combinations of a world-favourite kids’ toy and some of the biggest movie franchises in the world. Star Wars, Harry Potter, Indiana Jones, and Batman were all Lego-ified by UK-based Traveller’s Tales, and for a while, they were kings of the IP crossover scene.

But LEGO Marvel Super Heroes, which came at the tail-end of this heyday in 2013, is secretly the best one of all — and now it’s on Switch, too. There’s a clear difference between games made with a lot of research, and games made with genuine love, and LEGO Marvel Super Heroes is the latter: there are so many references, in-jokes, and winks to the camera that it’s clear that this game is a labour of love made by superfans.

But you don’t need to be a superfan to enjoy the game — and thank goodness for that, because trying to catch up on the Marvelverse these days is like attempting to memorise Wikipedia. That well-trodden Lego gameplay of “smash everything until you figure out what to do next” is still present in here; the difference is that now all of the characters have superpowers, and smashing things is infinitely more fun and varied.

The characters are the shining Arc Reactor at the heart of Super Heroes, which is no surprise, given that Marvel’s roster has been built up over 60 years, in countless comics, movies, and even musical spin-offs. There are over 150 of the blighters to unlock, with multiple outfits for a few of them, like Iron Man’s various suits, and Spider-Man’s different costumes/identities. The more well-known characters will unlock throughout the story, but many more are also scattered throughout New York City, and you’ll have to complete puzzles to win them to your team.

Every character has their own powers. Not all of them are unique, mind you — many of them are some combination of flying/invisibility/shape shifting/lasers — but the combinations are nonetheless extremely fun to play around with. Our favourite character was Dark Phoenix, because she can fly, set things on fire, use telekinesis, and control the minds of others; a close second was Squirrel Girl, who can summon armies of squirrels to tear people apart.

They’re all superheroes and villains, so it’s no surprise that they’re all extremely overpowered, but LEGO Marvel Super Heroes does a fantastic job of letting you feel powerful, not bored. The actual missions themselves limit you to a pre-chosen group, and although those characters will get you through the mission, they won’t have all the necessary powers to unlock all the secrets within — you’ll need to come back in Free Play for that, with a larger arsenal of superheroes to choose from.

The plot can sometimes feel like a paint-by-numbers tutorial in which you’re penalised for trying to skip ahead, though. Lego games want you to replay all the levels, so the missions are cluttered with stuff that you can’t use yet. You’ll get a lot of pop-ups about needing “magnetic powers” or “web-slinging characters”, and it can be frustrating if you know exactly what you need to do, but you’re just not allowed. What’s more, the missions are visually cluttered as a result, and that means that it all looks a bit muddy on the Switch, especially in handheld mode.

Because Super Heroes is at its best when you’re able to freely switch between X-Men, Fantastic Four, and the Avengers, Free Play is undoubtedly the best part of the game. The missions usually take place in contained locations — prisons, secret hideouts, Stark Tower, and so on — but Free Play lets you roam around the entirety of New York City.

The flying mechanic takes a while to get used to, but once you’re au fait with Iron Man’s blasters, you can zip around Manhattan in a flash. You can even float all the way up to the Helicarrier, stationed above the city, where all the collectibles are stored. In fact, flying is so much fun that it feels pretty disappointing when you’re stuck as Hawkeye or Black Widow, whose superpowers are basically “has a gun/bow/furrowed brow”.

New York City is also packed with collectibles, puzzles, side-quests, and mini-missions. There are Stan Lees to rescue, characters to unlock, and Gold Bricks — the currency which lets you unlock special cheats and bonuses — scattered around the place. It’ll take you hours to reach 100% on this game, but those hours will be spent having a great time smashing up New York as Spider-Man.

But these are all known quantities if you’ve ever played a Lego game, which all tend to pull from the same pool of ideas and mechanics that have proved successful in the past. Where LEGO Marvel Super Heroes sets itself apart is in the loving fanservice, and the game is packed with references to the wealth of lore that Marvel has. But it’s not like being cornered by an obnoxious nerd at a comic book store — it’s more like a good pal cracking jokes while you watch the latest Avengers movie. Also, you get to punch stuff until money comes out. What’s not to love?

It’s a shame that the linear plot forces you to follow its restrictive rules in order to have no-strings freeplay fun, but the writing is enough to carry you along. Whether you’re a Marvel ultra-fan or someone who’s just seen a single Thor movie because you have a crush on Chris Hemsworth, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes will provide you with plenty of smashy, tongue-in-cheek joy.

Conclusion

With split-screen co-op, and incredibly gentle expectations as far as the gameplay is concerned, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes is a fantastic, low-stakes game for parents and kids to play together, but also for adults who are looking for something that pleasantly whiles away the hours without beating you over the head with difficulty. Excelsior!

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Makes Noise is a blog where you can find all the juicy details on a variety of topics including health and fitness, technology, lifestyle, entertainment, love and relationships, beauty and makeup, sports and so much more. The blog is updated regularly to make sure you have all the latest and greatest information on the topics that matter most to you.

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