The alien shapeshifting Skrulls have infiltrated Earth and have disguised themselves as our planet’s greatest super heroes. Now it’s up to members of the Avengers, X-Men, Fantastic Four, and even a few super villains to stop them in this unique brawler on Wii U and Xbox 360 Kinect (Wii U version reviewed here).
There are two ways to control the action in the game. With the Wii U controller or the Wii remote. Using the Wii U gamepad, you’ll tap on icons on the touch screen to perform moves like punches, kicks, and super attacks, as well as switching to your ally (like playing a DS game). To use a super move, you will have to draw a symbol on screen. String these moves together to perform a combo. If you kick an opponent high in the air, tap the screen to punch them repeatedly as they fall to the ground. Move icons refill over time, so you have to wait to use them again, but they fill up very quickly.
Using the Wii remote and nunchuck, gameplay is slightly different. Move your right hand to punch, and perform actions with the Wii remote and nunchuck to do super moves. This makes performing combos feel a little more fluid, but unfortunately, the picture cues telling you which action to perform aren’t always clear. Although it is a bit more satisfying to repeatedly punch the opponent by pumping the remote and nunchuck after you send an opponent flying with a super kick.
Each special attack has a type, such as vertical, projectile, slide, shield, etc. Each attack can counter another certain type, so if you can anticipate what your opponent will do next, you can keep them from hurting you. This is hard to do, though. The game has several modes, although most are pretty much the same. Fight a string of bad guys in various locations in Story Mode, which can also be played co-op with a friend. There are also versus modes, an arcade mode where you pick two of your favorite heroes and battle a string of opponents, and tournaments. You can try challenge modes where you can master every character’s moves, or play a short tutorial, handy when you have friends over and want to show them how to play quickly. By playing, you’ll unlock new characters and other goodies. While the game is easy to figure out, it is pretty repetitive and simplistic in scope. Also, if you’re playing on the Wii U gamepad, you won’t see the action on the TV screen unless you have more players or switch the camera option with the Wii remote (and you have to do that for every battle). Not a bad game, but if I want to play a Marvel comics brawler game, I think I’d rather go for the Marvel vs. Capcom series.
Avengers: Battle for Earth is rated T for Teen with ESRB descriptors of Fantasy Violence and Mild Suggestive Themes. Even though you do punch, kick, and zap enemies with blasts of energy, the violence is rather cartoony. Some of the female combatants wear tight clothes, so I guess that’s where the suggestive themes come in. But nothing in the game is any worse than what you see in the comics. If you’re OK with your kids reading comic books and watching super hero movies, they’ll be OK with this game. Reading skill is helpful, but there are plenty of picture cues, too. Kids who love Marvel super heroes should find some enjoyment with this game.