LEGO Marvel Super Heroes is a kid-friendly puzzle action game. Players take control of Marvel heroes including Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, Spider-Man, Wolverine and the Fantastic Four to battle supervillains from Sandman and Abomination to Loki and the Red Skull. The goal is to recapture all the Cosmic Bricks that make up the Silver Surfer's board -- and prevent evil villains from getting their hands on the Power Cosmic!
The key to getting through each of the games' missions is using each hero's superpowers. Each character has a set of powers -- for instance, Spider-Man can pull on levers and use his wall-crawling to scale sheer surfaces, while Iron Man can fly and blow up objects with his missiles. Different characters have different combinations of powers: Hawkeye's rope arrows work like Spider-Man's webs, while his explosive arrows blow up objects like Iron Man's.
In single-player story mode, the player controls a team of two or three superheroes who must make their way through a series of scenes filled with puzzles and bad guys. Each stage contains a number of puzzles that can only be solved with particular superpowers; scattered throughout the levels are puzzles that you'll need other heroes to solve. Once you've completed each level, you can go back and tackle it in free play, trying to find more LEGO bricks, discover more secret areas and increase your score. The more you achieve, the more new characters you can unlock for use in Free Play mode.
LEGO Marvel Super Heroes draws its inspiration from a wide range of sources. There's a strong influence from the Marvel films, including an appearance by SHIELD agent Phil Coulson (voiced here by Clark Gregg, who played Coulson in the movies and on television), but there are also villains who've yet to make a movie appearance, including Carnage and others, with plenty of characters from the X-Men, Spider-Man and Fantastic Four franchises. It's the best of both worlds, combining the easy familiarity of the Cinematic Universe with the wacky variety of the comics. As with other LEGO games, there's plenty of humor; the game gently satirizes Captain America's square-jawed heroics and Spider-Man's self-pitying soap opera of a life.
With multiple gameplay modes and mini-missions scattered throughout the game, there's a vast amount of play value in LEGO Marvel Super Heroes. The game requires cooperation between multiple heroes, which can be a problem if you're playing side-by-side co-op; the split-screen camera is sometimes a little unhelpful. Overall, though, this game has an engaging mixture of humor, action and puzzle-solving.