Marvel Super Hero Squad Online. You know, the one based on the kids’ TV show. It’s coming to computers everywhere at some point next year, and I scored some hands on time with the children’s Marvel-based MMO (made by Gazillion) at this year’s E3. If you are looking for depth and massive customization, than stop reading right now because this MMO does not offer that. But what it does offer is a fun and safe way to break your kids into online gaming with the help of their favorite Marvel super heroes.
The first thing I noticed the second I went over to the demo station was how beautiful the game actually is. I started off on a roof top and I could see the Daily Bugle and Norman Osbourne’s OsCorp rendered beautifully. The style is modeled after the TV show, and the artists have done an extremely great job of making every foot of the in-game world beautiful.
The characters are no exception, either. Each character has his/her own emotes that are slightly personalized to offer some difference between the way characters feel when being used. One of Spider Man’s emotes features him sneezing, and if you zoom in you can see that even his snot appears around him as tiny little spider webs. I don’t usually look that far into detail in any game, but I picked up on this in Super Hero Squad Online, and I can certainly appreciate the effort that the team has put forward.
Controlling the character is so easy that even a four year old could do it. Almost everything is done with the mouse — walking and fighting are all done by pointing and clicking. There is no player-controlled flying in the game, but instead there are special launch points. Each launch point is highlighted so that any character who has the ability to fly or travel through the air just clicks on the launch pad and they are automatically sent to a preset location on the map. I think it blows that you can’t actually fly where you want, when you want, but I guess this game isn’t tailored to gamers such as myself.
Walking is as simple as clicking and holding the mouse button down, and when you let go you stop; it’s extremely easy. The combat in the game is just as simple. You point and click on enemies, and if you deal enough damage to your opponent then you eventually gain enough power for a Super Attack. This will basically destroy any enemy (with the exception of a boss) almost instantly, and the Super Attacks look awesome. I executed my finishing move with The Thing and he jumped up in the air and smashed the ground, causing the earth beneath his foes to shoot up and destroy them.
The age category for this game is 6 to 10… and then 35. Yes, that’s right, 35 year-old geeks could be playing a game online with your child. Don’t worry though, because there are no chat options available in the game. Players communicate with one of over 30 emotes that are all accessible by using the keyboard’s number keys and the “F1” set of keys. The lack of chat support in the game was a bit of a bummer, but it’s pretty damn obvious why you would leave something like that out of a game that 35 year-old males could be playing with 6 to 10 year-olds.
The raw amount of characters in this game will likely give any game on the market a run for its money. These guys have the rights to use any Marvel character EVER — not just Spider-Man, Wolverine, and Iron Man. I asked the rep if I was going to be able to look forward to kicking some family friendly ass with Deadpool. She told me that she could neither confirm or deny his involvement in the title, but that he could appear in the game if they wanted to put him in it. This obviously spawned the question “Does that mean that you can play as the bad guys?” Once again, she stated that she could neither confirm or deny that feature. But I’m anticipating playable baddies, because the rep had a giant smile on her face while saying all of this. Anyhow, you shouldn’t worry about getting dibs on a specific character, because you and your friends can be a herd of Wolverines if you want — there are no character locks on any of your favorite guys, so be who you want to be.
The game was pretty, but it’s not my cup of tea, and it’s not supposed to be. Marvel Super Hero Squad Online is certainly a must-buy for any parents or generous siblings who want to give that special 6 to 10 year-old child (or children) in their lives a wonderful gift. It doesn’t even matter whether kids in question use a Mac or a PC. Both are supported, because it’s a browser based game.
What do you think of Marvel Super Hero Squad Online? What characters would you like to see added to the roster?
Marvel Super Hero Squad Online has been given a 2011 release date.