One of the more consistent things in the world of video games is that you can depend on a new LEGO title to release at least once a year. In the case of the Nintendo Switch, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 is the fourth LEGO game to be released in the last eight months alone! That might be a bit of overkill, but each one is surprisingly different enough from the others to make the argument that kids (and adults) might want to collect them all.
Some of my favorite LEGO games over the past ten years are the ones that are based on a property, but not on an individual movie. Luckily, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 is the former, meaning the developers have a lot more freedom to create an original story with tons of crazy characters to control. Although I’d hardly call myself a follower of the Marvel universe, I came away from this game amazed that there are so many heroes and villains that were completely new to me. Sure, there are the usual headliners like Spider-Man, Captain America, and Iron Man to save the world, but there are also plenty of B and C-listers that don’t normally get the spotlight and will only be known to avid comic book readers. I tended to gravitate toward the heroes I already knew, but exploring the powers and capabilities of the others was also very fun throughout the game.
The story this time around is that Kang the Conqueror has warped through time and space to create havoc. The rift in time has caused various characters from different periods to merge together. It’s up to you and your team of super heroes to put a stop to his devious plans. Along the way you will be paired up with a few characters at the same time, which allows you easily switch between them to activate their powers when needed. This is similar to prior LEGO games, where utilizing the right character for the job can solve specific puzzles. As is par for the course, each level in the story mode will have areas blocked off or secrets to uncover that will be inaccessible your first time through. Only after completing more worlds and earning more characters to play as in Free Play mode will you be able to go back in and use their powers to 100 percent the zone. This creates some replay value to the entire experience, but it can be a little frustrating seeing a collectible and not being able to grab it because the game won’t let you until later.
Of course the game supports drop-in drop-out co-op play, so feel free to multiplayer it up anytime you like. You’ll most likely want to be playing on the TV for this mode, as the small Switch screen would be far too cluttered to work. I had a great time playing with my sister through previous games, and we once again fell into sync here. Although the games are often targeted at a younger audience, some of the controls and puzzle solving can demand an adult’s eye. That’s not to say the game is difficult by any means, pretty much anyone can mash the punch button over and over again to progress through the areas. However, there are times where to proceed you must coordinate with other characters, and that requires some skill and thought. In addition, if your goal is to find every secret and collect all of the studs, then you’ll need to pay close attention to the environments to solve the puzzles.
Not much has changed in the control department over the years for these games. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that many of the play mechanics had been improved, especially when it came to taking flight with some of the various characters. I especially like how you can double tap the A button to immediately land on the ground. Also, each hero has a special move that can be activated with the A button. For example, Captain America will throw his shield on the ground and surf through enemies and objects for a limited time. Likewise you can use Star Lord’s gravity grenades to suck in nearby foes as well as solve various puzzles. It’s nice to have a few more fun moves attached to each character, and some of them are used in pretty ingenious ways. Thor’s electricity powers are especially fun to play around with.
Graphically the game really impresses on the Nintendo Switch. Although I haven’t played the game on any other platform, I did was some comparison videos and the visuals are extremely close to the other, more powerful systems. Playing the game on the Switch screen works great in single player mode and I found playing the game in short bursts (one level at a time) really allowed me to progress through the game at my own pace, without having to carve out several hours of TV time. I really like the comic book aesthetics the game uses for its dialog boxes and some of the other menus that pop up when you complete a stage. The graphics have a sort of sheen to them, giving the LEGO characters a more plastic look that’s appreciated, since they are supposed to be toys after all.
The games in this series haven’t ever really been known for their music and that’s the case here as well. There’s nothing here that really caught my ear, but then again nothing really offended me either. The voice acting works well, but I don’t believe any of the actors from the movies return here, which isn’t surprising since this is an original story and not one based on a movie where they could just lift the lines. The traditional LEGO humor is present here as well, but I didn’t laugh near as much as I did during LEGO City Undercover. Your mileage may vary.
I have to say that going into LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 I wasn’t expecting much. I’m more familiar with the DC heroes and villains and one of my favorite games in the series is LEGO Batman 2. Still, I was pleasantly surprised with this one and really enjoyed trying out the various characters and playing around with their powers. The levels were fun to explore. The overall game seemed on the short side to see the ending, but there’s plenty of “post-game” stuff to find and complete if you go back through the levels with all of the different characters you’ve collected along the way. There’s nothing groundbreaking here from the prior games, but the journey is fun and enjoyable.
Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2 was reviewed using a final retail Nintendo Switch download code provided by the publisher.