The LEGO Marvel Super Heroes – Universe in Peril
Lego Marvel Super Heroes is a classic example of how not to port a console game to tablets…
The LEGO Marvel Super Heroes game (minus the Universe in Peril suffix) released to critical and commercial success last winter; operating around a New York hub world in between missions, players could do anything they wanted during non-story gameplay. It was punctuation the release needed – the corridor-led level design was broken up in the hub, allowing the player to be anarchic and free, wreaking havoc on New York’s docile inhabitants as your favourite heroes or heroines.
Unfortunately, the iOS and handheld console ports of the game took this vital facet of the game away, leaving the player with a slew of linear, repetitive missions that don’t bring anything new to what LEGO Lord of the Rings was doing on iOS years ago. The option to play as any of the Marvel heroes you’d recognise from the cinematic universe is certainly a draw, and the fan-service in the game will prompt the occasional smile from Marvel aficionados, but clunky handling a lack of imagination on the designer’s part will quickly make this game feel like a chore, rather than a treat. Seeing each hero’s unique moves and animations is fun, but with a roster comprised mostly of pallet swaps, even that becomes tiresome after a few hours.
At £2.99, you’re getting a much better deal than the 3DS or Vita versions of the game (each retailing at ~£30). However, those consoles have dedicated thumbsticks and face buttons, making for a cleaner, more user-friendly experience all round: the iOS version gives you the choice between touch controls (which often get confused with your inputs) or an on-screen control pad, which doesn’t seem to be able to activate half the characters’ moves and abilities.
The economy of unlocks and super moves (the best parts of the game) are skewed, too, in favour of TellTale implementing IAPs. This, again, takes away one of the most redeeming features of the game from other formats in a cynical bid to get more money from players. You can complete the game without paying more, but it’s a far more boring experience.
A slipshod port that worries the tried-and-tested LEGO formula into something that doesn’t quite work.
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