Marvel Heroes Breakout
Reviewed by Megan Parker
Review Date Platform Genre Rating Production
2007-10-03 DVD Adventure E10 (Everyone 10+) Brighter Minds Media / Giant Interactive

So it's not much of a secret that I'm into comics. In fact, several of my reviews have been on comic-related games. This time, though, it's slightly different. It's a DVD board game, something I had never played before.

Marvel Heroes: Breakout comes with the board, four character pieces (Storm, Wolverine, Spider-Man, and Captain America), a die, and of course, a DVD. The game is very easy to set up; between the simple printed instructions and the very user-friendly instructions on the DVD itself, it's not hard to figure out how to play it. Twenty Marvel baddies have escaped from prison, and it's up to you to find as many as possible.

The game itself is quite simple, and the DVD will guide you through the initial stuff. You can choose how many players (up to four) and what skill level each player is at (each player can be on their own skill level). The skill level will determine, obviously, how hard it is to get the baddies back in jail. You also will choose the length of the game, either it ends after someone catches five, or someone catches seven. The seven is supposed to be the "long game" but it doesn't seem all that much longer than the five.

Marvel Heroes Breakout DVD Game - kewego
Marvel Heroes Breakout DVD Game - kewego

Once you start, you can move anywhere you'd like on the board; just roll the die, pick a direction and go. The board is a mix of seven spaces, each corresponding with one of seven tasks to do. The space you land on determines what task you can do. This actually makes most of the game available to pretty much anyone, regardless of how much knowledge they have.

There are a few games, like the costume matching, where you have to correctly place the three parts of one costume of a hero together, the "guess the baddie", or the trivia that might stump some non-Marvel-geeks.

Honestly, the costume match-up is simple enough even most people unfamiliar with the characters should be able to figure it out after awhile. And it's not like they don't show those characters repeatedly throughout the game, so if you're paying attention, you should be able to do all right on it.

The "guess the baddie" is a little harder, but the "bad guy" cards have all of the baddies available in the mini-game. Someone looking at the cards and the screen could figure it out. In the game, the screen will slowly show a bad guy, and when it does, the person who's turn it is has to shout out the name. They have a limited time to figure it out, or it goes to the floor. If it goes to the floor, the other players can guess and the first to shout it out wins. This actually could be difficult for the uninitiated, but there are cards that have the bad guys on them. So at least there, there is something to use to your advantage. The rules don't disallow using them, so it seems to be kosher with the rules.

The trivia is different, though. That DOES require some knowledge, especially if you're on the higher difficulties. I know quite a bit about the Marvel U, and I was stumped on some of the questions. Outside of that, the game is pretty accessible to anyone, regardless of Marvel knowledge.

Once you completed a task, the game will give you a random baddie. You can pick that baddie from the card pile and keep it. The first person to reach the max needed (5 or 7) wins the game. There's also no need to keep score, the dvd player will do that for you, and remind you at each turn what the score is.

The downside to the game is sometimes it can feel repetitive pretty quickly. There are only seven spaces that repeat, so after awhile it feels like you're going in circles. Granted, it's a way to mix it with the DVD thing, since having a ton of varying mini-games and different spaces can be very complicated in a DVD game. Still, older game players may find it amusing at first, then repetitive as time goes on. The younger and the Marvel Zombies (term for Marvel geeks) might find it more interesting for a longer time.

I was very happy to see Storm as one of the characters you can choose to play as. I would have preferred another female character, but I honestly figured they wouldn't even put one woman into the game, much less two. I do wish the characters had little stands. As it is, they just lay flat on the board.

The DVD itself is very flashy and has some nice animations. Sometimes, though, the static images do look a little strange. I think it might help to have the characters move a little more than how they have in game. It's also nice that each scenario will randomize the characters. So, for example, the Rooftop Jump part of the game won't always feature Captain America, it will rotate around. Again, the game is also very user friendly, you can turn on a feature at the beginning of the game to tell you how each mini-game works. Unfortunately, you don't seem to be able to turn it off, and it can get repetitive being told over and over how to play a mini-game. Skipping to the next chapter can either cause you to lose the round, or even cause the game to lock up.

Overall, the game is actually very fun, though the length of that appeal may vary on the person, their interest in Marvel comics, and age. It may look like a children's game, but there are some elements in the game that on certain levels takes an extensive knowledge of the Marvel universe to be able to get past. With that, the game is able to work for pretty much anyone, but it does help to at least have basic knowledge of Marvel characters.

Special thanks to Emily Schaeff and Brighter Minds for providing a copy of this title.