After Marvel Ultimate Alliance burst on the scene four years ago, it seemed like the perfect sweet spot had been found as far as Marvel fans were concerned. You got to take control of a huge range of characters from the Marvel universe and you got to beat some enemies into a bloody pulp, all while creating your own dream team combinations. So, with the Marvel Super Hero Squad being a huge success on TV, following that formula was the perfect way to bring them into the video game world. This happened with the initial title in 2000 and it's the same with The Infinity Gauntlet now.
In keeping with the demographic, the storyline and the writing is rather comical. The plot is made entertaining purely because of how ridiculous it is and how it plays out. In essence, there is an object called the Infinity Gauntlet, which, when combined with the various Infinity Gems will make the wielder very very powerful. This is power that Thanos wants for himself, but a whole host of other super villains are also craving the same power and have started collecting the Infinity Gems for themselves.
Because of this, you'll find yourself travelling from level to level, with different super heros which match up to the type of Infinity Gem you're trying to find. For example, The Incredible Hulk is sent to get the Infinity Mind Gem as, well, he isn't the brightest crayon in the box. Likewise Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver are sent to Asteroid M to get the Space Infinity Gem, which has something to do with their father.
If you can get away from the serious lack of depth, the story is actually rather fun. The jokes are so bad that they become good and overall, it's a good laugh throughout.
The gameplay on the other hand is fun for a little while, but it also has very little depth. You have a normal attack, a dash/ranged attack and a heroic attack. The problem is, that the enemies available can quite often by killed with just the normal attack and if anything, using the dash/ranged attack may cause you more harm than good, as it doesn't stun enemies and they can still attack you while you're performing it. This does change depending on the champion, as some replace a ranged attack with a clearance move, but these take time to charge, again, giving the enemies time to attack you.
The heroic attack is rather useful, but it has limited usage because you need to charge it up. This can be done by performing hits or by smashing objects found around the level. It can take down a considerable amount of enemies at one time depending on the hero that's being used at the time.
During the single player, all of the levels take place using two people. And if you're playing alone, the other characters is handled by the AI. This wouldn't be so bad, except the AI is horrendous. They're usually capable of killing enemies without too much trouble, but it's during other phases that they're just pathetic. They have absolutely no sense of self preservation and will constantly die meaning you have to revive them all the time. There are loads of examples, but a typical one is where there's a laser cannon firing at you, and you need to sneak up to it. The AI just runs straight towards it soaking up the damage and dying over and over again.
To try and break up the monotony of the fighting, the developers attempted to introduce other mechanics. There are some puzzles, which aren't too bad, but it's the shooting parts which do the game no favours and again highlight the terrible AI. The sections themselves aren't that fun and it's made worse by the fact the AI seems unable to actually do anything, let alone shoot at a target.
The character models excel throughout, whether it be the super heros, the super villains or just the generic foes that you'll fight throughout. However, the actual levels themselves are nothing special to look at - often being very bland with very little to them. The voice acting is solid though and the execution if those terrible jokes is sure to bring a smirk to many gamers' faces.
Upon completing the game, it's possible to play through levels again using the Freeplay option. As you go through the first time, you'll notice that certain areas can't be accessed with the super heroes you presently have. So, going back again allows you to enter these areas, which will likely hand you more gems or hidden items which are required to perform heroic feats. To round out the experience, there's also a four-player challenge mode.
Marvel Super Hero Squad: The Infinity Gauntlet proves to be a fun little adventure for a short period of time, but even the "so bad it's good" humour can't help to gloss over the game's failings. Horrendous AI coupled with a lack of depth make for a bad combination all round. It's not the worst game out there, but it's certainly not the best.