Marvel Super Hero Squad – PSP – Review

While big
brother (or sister) is playing the more mature and harder Marvel Ultimate
Alliance 2, the younger gamer won’t feel left out thanks to THQ’s release of
Marvel Super Hero Squad … a game based on the kid’s animated show called “The
Super Hero Squad Show.” With an impressive lineup of cutely rendered heroes and
villains, Marvel Super Hero Squad for the PSP makes for a considerably flawed
yet still somewhat fun brawler.


The game has
a story mode called Adventure Mode that tells a story that fits right at home
with the animated series. It seems that Doctor Doom is at it again as he is
attempting to craft the Infinity Sword from the shattered blade’s several
fragments called Infinity Fractals. Gathering his legion of villains, Doom goes
about his search only to find that the Super Hero Squad is here to put a stop to
his evil plans. The heroes will fight to stop Doom from carrying out his mission
as they go through a number of location that include familiar spots like the
Savage Land and even Asgard. 

The Super
Hero Squad begins with its basic members that include Wolverine, Iron Man, Thor,
Hulk, Flacon and the Silver Surfer. As you progress in Adventure Mode, you will
unlock other heroes like Spider-Man, Captain America and the X-Men’s Storm. The
story follows your chosen hero and his or her partner through a number of levels
that will have you facing off various enemies and even participate in boss

The good
news is that the game does each individual character’s abilities right so
Wolverine is great at slashing away with his claws and Iron Man can blast his
way out of trouble. Even the Silver Surfer has a muted version of the Power
Cosmic. While the powers and abilities aren’t as accurate as those seen in the
Marvel Ultimate Alliance games, they do add variety to the battles. Even younger
gamers will realize that the difference in powers can make for an interesting
partnership. Including a powerhouse like Hulk with a brawler like Wolverine
makes for a great team up that compliments each another.


Unfortunately, the bad news is that Adventure Mode is all over the place when it
comes to the level design. Sure, you get to see interesting places within the
Marvel Universe but there are times when you won’t know where to go to complete
the mission objective Ms. Marvel asks you to carry out. Let’s take the first
level that pits you against AIM agents and their vehicles, fail to destroy one
vehicle and the exit opens up only to restart the mission if you decide to take
the exit. There are even times where I didn’t even know where to go next, which
would most likely frustrate younger gamers.

Adding to
the game’s faults is the camera that doesn’t often offer the best view in the
house. There are times where you’ll have to move in circles in order for the
camera to get a view of the enemies shooting at you. The biggest crime, however,
is the fact that in a game that offers you a partner; THQ didn’t include any
multiplayer options. Ok, I can forgive the lack of online multiplayer but not
including co-op via Ad Hoc is inexcusable.

At least the
game does the brawling fun against the bad guys right. You’ll have a blast
taking on against the Lethal Legion that Doctor Doom assembled. The lineup
includes characters like Abomination, Sabretooth, Magneto, Modok, Mole Man and
Juggernaut just to name a few. Villains have a special attack so battling them
isn’t a walk in the park. You can even play as a villain in the game’s Battle
Mode that simply allows you to select any character and location just to brawl.

The game
sports some decent visuals but for those that don’t know the animated show they
will find the cute versions of the good guys and bad guys rather silly. Still,
there’s something about seeing Doctor Doom in a bathrobe and holding his coffee
mug as if he just woke up from a nap downright adorable. The backgrounds are
also quite colorful so different locals have a lot to look at during each
mission. Sadly, the visual effects are seriously lacking.


At least the
soundtrack is fun to listen to throughout the game despite the fact that the
music is recycled often in this game. The voice acting is handled well, although
none of the characters sound the way you would expect if you’re not familiar
with the show. For those who are the characters sound just as good as on the

Marvel Super
Hero Squad for the PSP is missing a few things that could have made this a
stellar action title for the young Marvel fan. Granted, there are a number of
fun things about the game but the flaws are just too noticeable that even older
gamers will find themselves frustrated by this game. Still, this game is worth
the rental and a good starting point for young gamers still not old enough to
really appreciate the difficulty level of Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2.

Scoring Details for Marvel Super Hero Squad

Gameplay: 6.0
If you’re not
familiar with the show you can certainly appreciate the fabulous lineup that
includes a team that contains Iron Man, Hulk and Wolverine. The story mode is
kindly lengthy but the levels can be erratic and the camera definitely does not
help. The lack of multiplayer fun just disappoints.

Graphics: 6.5
The character
models are super cute just like in the show and kids will love it. The
backgrounds look good even on the PSP, although the visual effects could have
used some razzle-dazzle.

The voice acting
is just like in the show so expect everyone – including the bad guys – sound
just as cute as they look. I never thought it was possible but Doctor Doom
sounds so not menacing. The music is also quite nice but it is recycled
throughout each few levels.

Difficulty: Medium
Even the youngest
gamer will get by in Adventure mode as they go up against weak thugs as well as
Marvel’s best villains like Doctor Doom or Abomination.

Concept: 6.0
There are more
than enough heroes to play and unlock and even some villains you can use in the
game’s Battle Mode. Adventure Mode takes you through some familiar Marvel
universe locals. The lack of any multiplayer whatsoever is very upsetting.

Overall: 6.0
Marvel Super Hero
Squad has a number of fun moments that work on the PSP but missing co-op and a
few gameplay issues make this game a miss. That said, however, young gamers
would still have a blast taking their favorite Marvel character through this
decent action game. Do consider this a rental for fans of the show.