Excelsior! When folks hear the word Marvel, comic books typically come to mind. But although comics are the traditional bread and butter of the company, Marvel also dabbles in a different kind of media, at least for today’s digital age. That would be its “Marvel Reads” series, which re-imagines the Marvel mythos in digital storybook form. One of those storybooks is Avengers Origins: Assemble! which chronicles the original Avengers team comprised of Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, Ant-Man and Wasp and the rediscovery of Captain America. Here’s the lowdown of the app for folks who may be thinking about getting it.
Narration by Stan Lee: If the veneration from the characters in the “Big Bang Theory” is any indication, things are always better anytime you’ve got Stan Lee involved. In the case of this app, Lee handles narration duties which is a plus for hardcore Marvel fans. He even throws in his trademark “Excelsior” catchphrase now and then.
Good presentation: Production values are quite good for a storybook, featuring parallax effects and other touches. The art style for Avengers Origins: Assemble! also has a classic retro look to it as opposed to a modern comic book style, lending to a more storybook-like feel.
Interactive features: In addition to the main story, Avengers Origins: Assemble! adds several interactive touches to improve reader immersion. These range from finding hidden symbols for each Avenger to hitting enemies with Thor’s thunderbolts or Captain America’s shield.
Comes with mini-games: An update released after launch added several mini-games to Avengers Origins: Assemble!. The first involves using the Avengers Quinjet against Namor’s Atlantean army. The second and third game lets you pick one of five Avengers — Iron Man, Black Widow, Hulk, Captain America or Thor. In the second game, you fight against Namor’s lackeys again. The third game has you fighting not just against Atlantean soldiers but also Namor himself. Gameplay for all three usually involves swiping the screen to aim projectiles. Each individual Avenger also has a unique secondary long range attack and close range melee. The addition of the mini-games adds to the replay value of the game and is certainly a welcome addition.
Language support: Although the app originally launched in English only, Marvel is also adding support for several languages. The additional languages are French, German, Spanish and Italian.
Wonky dragging: While the touchscreen functions typically work well, dragging items can be a bit wonky with the iPhone — particularly for the part where you drag Iron Man’s mask to his face and Thor’s hammer to his hand. I didn’t notice this issue with the iPad, where the app’s touch function worked perfectly.
Old-school story: As much as I like classic Marvel, the old-school story presented in the app isn’t exactly the deepest story you’ll see. It’s a bit simple and some points kind of don’t make sense. For younger kids, however, the story will be just fine.
A bit pricey: At $6, the price is a bit high for an app, although the addition of the mini-games helps soften the value issue somewhat.
The Avengers Origins: Assemble! app is one of the more interesting storybook apps out there. The action-based story and subject matter makes it geared more toward young boys or comic book fans. The addition of mini-games makes it even more suitable for action lovers. Even with its niggles, it’s still quite solid for a storybook app overall and should please young Marvel fans.DETAILS
- Cost: $5.99
- Compatible with: Apple iPad (iOS 4.0 or later)
- Age: 9 and older
- Rating: 4 out of 5 stars