The Marvel Super Hero Squad franchise consists of tiny action figures, a Saturday morning cartoon and a couple of videogames. This is the second one, following a first game which was critically torn apart and left for dead. Unfortunately this follow up doesn't address any of the problems that were present in the original.
Deformed teacup versions of Marvel super heroes are out shopping in space when they are ambushed by Skrulls (space goblins that are recurrent villains in the Marvel universe) who are planning to reunite 7 stones which fit inside a golden gauntlet which in turn unites with a sword which will grant the user godlike powers. A rubbish story with bizarre caricatures of your favourite comic book heroes is not the best start. Even worse is the cringe worthy sense of humour which is found throughout the entire game. Dreadful puns are ever present along with inappropriate pop culture references twisted to fit in with this strange variation on Marvel continuity such as Thor shouting out "Super hammer time!" or Iron Man researching things on "Quirkipedia". This sense of humour carries on through all aspects of the game even affecting the boss battles. Two thirds of the way through the game, you will battle a George Takei voiced Galactus (the Marvel universe's resident planet eater) by driving interstellar taco and ice cream vans firing giant tacos and ice cream cones into his mouth so he doesn't eat a planet that they are trying to save. I am not making this up.
The gameplay is trying to emulate the Lego games more than anything. Two characters (even in single player mode) running along a linear path with puzzles involving lifting blocks or using powers unique to certain heroes. Unfortunately this formula is ultimately ruined by the astoundingly dense AI which will often result in co-operative characters pushing you off edges or idly standing by whilst an enemy destroys something you are trying to protect or not helping in puzzles that require two characters. Possibly worst of all is the fact that they will often stand still instead of continuing with the level resulting in you reaching the edge of a screen and not being able to continue because the screen has to have both players in it at any one time.
There are collectibles in the form of stone shards which have no purpose other than for trophies and heroic feats which are a list of tasks which must be completed to unlock additional costumes. These can be used in free play mode which gives you the chance to play all the levels again only with the ability to switch to other characters. There isn't really much of an incentive to do all the levels again because you can't unlock anything other than costumes which can only be used in the free play which is used to unlock the costumes etc.
The visual style consists of graphics that are nearly last generation and the previously mentioned childlike versions of the Marvel ensemble. The whole look of the game is something that would appeal to children who aren't into Marvel but they wouldn't understand the relationships of the characters which would only be understood by people who are really into Marvel. It's a vicious circle of people that aren't going to like this game. The sense of humour is also something that I think most children wouldn't like. It's very sly and infantile and can't quite make up its mind on whether it wants to entertain children or teenagers and ends up alienating one demographic whilst simultaneously infantilising the other.
I genuinely can't recommend this game to anybody, least of all people that are really into the Marvel universe. You've probably got a better chance if you have no idea who Black Widow or Quicksilver are. Everyone else, avoid this.
3 out of 10