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LEGO Marvel Super Heroes
User Ratings: 3
Our Review: Scroll Down
With great power comes absolutely no responsibility
Version Reviewed: European
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.
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!
Review copy provided by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
About Kate Gray
Formerly of Official Nintendo Magazine, GameSpot, and Xbox UK, you can now find Kate’s writing all over the internet. She moved to Canada a few years ago, but gets tea imported from England, because she has good priorities.
This was my first Wii U game and I probably played it more than Wind Waker HD! It really is a very good game.
Removed – unconstructive
@Diogmites I disagree, the games aren’t as hard as other games, and they’re made for kids too, but I wouldn’t call it mindless or anything, just not meant for everyone.
Lego games are kind of hit or miss for me but Marvel Super Heros is pretty good actually, may replay it and check out its sequel eventually.
@Diogmites I didn’t realise Comic Book Guy was real.
@HotGoomba I do think they are mindless. I did play this one quite some time ago and I constantly shifted from giggling at the cuteness and humor to white hot malice at the drab gameplay. This is one of the better ones.
I actually purchased the sequel a few weeks ago and ended up uninstalling it in disgust. So the pain is still fresh.
I don’t like Western superheroes / Marvel superheroes at all.
LEGO CITY UNDERCOVER is the only LEGO game I like (I have triple dipped the game on Wii U, Switch and PS4 + 3DS version) since the LEGO peoples in LEGO CITY UNDERCOVER are Normal looking LEGO, not Western superheroes outfits with unattractive looking.
LEGO CITY UNDERCOVER = 80/100 for me.
@nessisonett lol I’ve got no retort.
I remember this game being bugged in a game breaking way when I was gifted it for the Wii U. Let it rot in whatever storage area it currently is buried in.
I’m playing this at the mo and it’s simple but so much fun. The LEGO games kinda suffer from being too samey so I don’t tend to get the franchises I’m not fussed about (LEGO Undercover was great, mind!) but you always know what you are getting. Sillyness and an astute attention to detail.
My kids absolutely love Lego City Undercover … Is this game more like that or more like Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2 where there really isn’t an open world? Looking to get something new for them but they never really got into this games sequel.
This one’s always been one of my favorite LEGO games, especially with the variety of characters and how huge New York is. That and I always get a good chuckle at watching the civilians freak out when I’m on a rampage with a hulked-out Venom.
@FredsBodyDouble I don’t think Lego Marvel Super Heroes has car driving missions like Lego City Undercover. Someone correct me if I’m wrong. If you want more Lego City Undercover, I don’t think other Lego games can scratch that itch. Lego City Undercover is the only Lego game that has the kid friendly Grand-Theft-Auto-like missions with driving and roaming.
I’m getting this for my little guys bday. Glad it reviewed well.
Can’t help but I miss Lego dimensions
@Diogmites Please tell the judge where the bad Lego games touched you
Got this for £15 boxed with the download code, good job as I was nearly going to download it of the e-Shop, awesome game.
The sequel is not as good as the first game, the open world Manhattan is worth the price of admission alone.
LEGO games is a hit or miss but sometimes confounding when trying to get the right moves or to try to a location your trying to get to. But overall I say these games are fun and worse harder when trying to get all the extra goodies and finding them is a challenge on themselves.
A good, good LEGO video game. One of the very best ones as well. If I remember correctly, the WiiU version missed out on some DLC the other consoles got. I take it the Switch version has all? It’s already downloades on my backlog anyway.
I was disappointed the sequel didn’t have the open world. I was also disappointed they didn’t go for open worlds for all LEGO video games after LEGO Batman 2, LEGO City Undercover (my fav) & LEGO Marvel Super Heroes. Even LEGO Batman 3 went back to the sandbox style.
EDIT: Just checked, has all the DLC that the WiiU didn’t get. Arguably a positive point as well.
So I beat this game on the Wii U and the missions are as exciting as the Open World. The music is epic (especially anything that has to do with the X-Men or Magneto).
Tip: Make sure to collect the students on the final boss level or the game might crash due to the many objects on the game at once. Just collect those studs to reduce character count and avoid the game freezing.
@Diogmites well there’s your mistake. You bought the sequel. Which is literal ass and one of the worst lego games they’ve made. That and Lego Indiana Jones 2.
@johnvboy I don’t know. There is something cool about the open, stitched up world of the second one. But yes, the second open world is not as involved as the first one.
this has always been there with star wars the complete saga and the first batman one as my favorites of the series, i’ll probably pick it up on a sale since $40 is a bit on the high end.
Good game, enjoyed it a lot on its first release. Not something I’d double-dip for though. Agreed it’s one of the better Lego games, and the original story (which is actually quite good) helps as well rather than just adding pratfalls and rubber chickens to Lego recreations of scenes from existing films.
Great game, but definitely not at the asking price considering how old it is…
Defintely picking it up! … When it’s like $10-20
And definitely agreeing with some of these comments, Lego City Undercover is amazing!
Never played it, but I would prefer the Wii U version, since these Lego games were most fun on Wii U in local koop
@CovidBarbie I respect your opinion, but I personally disagree, I’ve always enjoyed this game and it never crashed for me. I do hope that the glitches are gone now though.
Lol I bought this for the Wii U for $10 when toys r us was closing. It’s awesome
@Diogmites You take yourself way to seriously
I remember wondering if I could fly back up to the Helicarrier in the clouds and trying it…and you actually could just fly right back up to it! What a great game.
I played this with my 6 year old nephew last Xmas on his Xbox (his dad’s, technically) and he was having a blast. Yeah, for a 36 year old it’s a little simple, but they didn’t make this game for me. They made it for him. We had a really nice time playing together and I never really got bored.
@Jadamson929 We had a really nice time playing together and I never really got bored.
That’s why they have the fun factor I even played it myself and get frustrated at time when I try for goodies. I do own all the LEGO Switch games and finished each to varying degrees. They do take some time to play if your going for everything or replaying to get everything second time around.
Does it come with the DLC?
I’ve completed all the other Lego games on the Switch (except Lego World, which is not that kind of game). Spent a lot of time on Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2, which was often a frustrating experience because of performance issues, so I’m happy to hear the 1st one is better.
I’m definitely getting it. The problem is a lot of regions are getting the Code In Box treatment, including my region here in Scandinavia. will wait until I get a physical version with cartridge.
One thing the Wii U always had as a secret weapon was having one player on the GamePad and one on the TV in co-op. I loved that feature and ironically was pretty much the one and done example of how to use that machine’s feature.
This is a great game for parent + child.
My daughter and I played through this one on our Wii U. I was chuckling at the jokes they were making of the characters. My daughter was pretty good at figuring out what the heck we were supposed to be doing. LOL.
We also played and enjoyed Lego The Lego Movie, Lego Jurassic World, Lego The Avengers as well. We got Lego Marvel Super Heros 2 as well as Lego The Incredibles for the Switch.
All great and funny games.
@Diogmites Buddy, you literally described a game marketed to kids as filling you with “white hot anger”. PS, that picture is ten years old.
technically lego city undercover is the best lego game ever and eventually lego star wars skywalker saga will be the next one in line.
@nessisonett DAAAAAAMN Sick burn!
@Diogmites Touch some grass.
@NintendoByNature I played it as a kiddo on the 360, it’s amazing, trust me, your investment will be worth it, i know i personally spent hundreds of hours on the open city, the story is just a bonus, most of the fun comes from just doing whatever and discovering secrets, it’s a real joy for grown-ups and kids alike
@citizenerased Don’t worry, WB games go on sale like two weeks before they release, but seriously, they put some incredible deals
@nessisonett You..how are you so cool?!
@Edwirichuu great stuff, I’m sure he’ll enjoy it.
This looks like a fantastic game.
A shame then that we haven’t gotten a Lego Star Wars 1 port and The Skywalker Saga is making me rather doubtful.
Awesome game. For me, easily one of the best Lego games ever. I’ll grab this for Switch eventually but not at $40. Not when Lego Heroes 1 & 2 bundle is $15 on PS4 & XBO.
Lego Marvel Super Heroes a great game and much better than the sequel.
There are a couple of car-based missions, but they’re mostly side-quest races, I think!
This game is insanely fun, love two player mode and just zooming around on a motorcycle, we found a trick to glitch under the floor, play two player, summon the hydra tank vehicle have 1 player hop in, and then the second player hop in the top segment (second player should be a flying character unless they want to die) have the 1st player hope out and destroy only the empty bottom segment with a laser. Voila, second player should fall through map with top segment and they can hop out and fly under the map or leave the map entirely.
@Diogmites I’m with you, they are mindless but strangely infuriating. The solution to everything is ‘go here and press this button’, but sometimes it’s really not obvious where you have to go. My little boy likes them so I play them with him sometimes but I just end up totally frustrated by them. Horrible, awful, games.
@jcvandan Infuriating in their total lack of merit and yes, clearly meant for only the youngest of children.
I played the Indiana Jones one with my nephew years ago and the facade of joy I was force to adopt while navigating the game’s constant, unhappy world and simple, annoying mechanics was a true test of mental endurance.
I feel your pain.
As a fan of the MCU over the comics, I’ll stick with “Lego Marvel’s Avengers” on my Wii U.
This is still great for those who prefer this game and don’t yet have it, although it may not be worth double dipping on if you already have the Wii U version.
@LEGEND_MARIOID Personally, I hated the open world in "Lego Batman 2," as it was an absolute pain trying to navigate it. Too many roads were inexplicably blocked off, the map didn’t work right half the time, the flying controls (once you actually got through enough of the game that you could use one of them on the over world) were completely messed up, and there were no real over world teleportation options to make up for any of those other issues.
That game would’ve been better off dropping the fully open world (and most of the over world collectables) and instead provided cutscene transportation to story levels and simple teleportation options for villain unlock battles once you met the right conditions. Meanwhile, the vehicle unlocks could’ve been done solely with the level canisters like in older games, which would give you an option to change what you drive in the transitional cutscenes.
Other Lego games have of course done the open world concept much better, but having an open world isn’t always a good thing nor indication of a superior game.
Love this game. So glad it’s now portable on Switch (OLED).
@Scapetti It was ok if not a bit too ambitious…was still a fun, original, Marvel story.
@BulbasaurusRex I agree with Lego Batman 2’s design flaws with regard to the open world. It was actually quite nonsensically implemented in some ways. Also, Superman’s flying round the open world from above could have been better with better controls. I believe it was the first open world game so they seem to have been experimenting there. But the worlds of subsequent games would have benefited from open worlds similar to Undercover and Super Heroes 1 for definite.
This will make a fine addition to my collection.
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LEGO Marvel Super Heroes
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Switch eShop Release Date:
5th Oct 2021 (US/Canada), $39.99
5th Oct 2021 (UK/EU/AU), £34.99
Where to buy:
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