LEGO Marvel Super Heroes is a fantastic, family friendly game

If you're a LEGO fan or Marvel comics fan, you'll love LEGO Marvel Super Heroes from Feral Interactive. The graphics are gorgeous, the gameplay is fun, and there are over 100 Marvel super heroes involved. 

Family friendly (c'mon, you weren't expecting LEGO Hit Man, were you?) the game requires you to master comic book-style combat as well as solve puzzles.     After you download the app, double-click on the LEGO Marvel Super Heroes application icon. The game should be found in the Applications folder.

The LEGO Marvel Super Heroes pre-game Options window will appear. Click on the Play button. The game will launch with LEGO blocks exploding and the Silver Surfer soaring back and forth across the screen.

After the splash screens and videos, the Start screen will appear. Select the game input device by pressing any key on the keyboard or any button on the gamepad.

The Main Menu will appear. Select New Game. The Save Game screen will appear. Select an empty slot, then select Yes to confirm. A message will appear confirming that the game will be saved automatically to this slot. Select OK.

After the opening video, you'll find yourself outside Grand Central Station, where the Hulk and Iron Man must clear a path through the deserted street to the entrance.

You start with these two heroes, but the playable characters you can choose from soon grows to include the rest of the Avengers (Captain America, Thor, etc.), the Fantastic Four, lots of X-Men, and Spider-Man. You can even switch characters mid-way through many of the missions (by pressing the "U" key), which involve searching for "bricks" in locations ranging from New York City to Asgard to the Savage Land.  

This may sound chaotic and un-organized, but the coming and going of all the characters (including a plethora of villains) fit seamlessly into the gameplay. The game even manages to capture a bit of the personality of each of the characters, no mean feat in a game this packed. There are also lots of in-jokes for Marvel comics fans (Howard the Duck, anyone?). 

On the downside, some of the "character" bits get old. Tony Stark (Iron Man) describes himself as "genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist" so often, it gets very annoying. Also, not EVERY major Marvel character makes an appearance (Dr. Doom fans may be disappointed).

There's even a multiplayer option. How a second player joins the game depends on whether they are using a gamepad or a keyboard.

As mentioned, you can play LEGO Marvel Super Heroes using either a keyboard and mouse or a gamepad. You can customize your keyboard or gamepad controls in the Control Setup menu. You can access this either from the Main Menu via Options → Control Configuration, or from the in-game Pause menu via Options → Control Setup. Depending on which character you're controlling you can fly, throw stuff, etc.

Like most Feral games, LEGO Marvel Superheroes's gamepad support is one of the best features of the app. The first thing to do if you want to play with a gamepad is find out which gamepads your game supports. Many of the Feral games have a list of supported gamepads in their FAQs. I’m using an Xbox 360 Wireless Controller and it works fine (though you’ll have to have a wireless receiver for this to work; there’s no way to implement — as far as I know — wireless gamepad support via Bluetooth on the Mac.)

However, you’ll need to download and install a device driver, a piece of software that allows your computer to interact with other pieces of hardware. Feral recommends (and I agree wholeheartedly) Tattiebogle’s drivers, which enable you to use both wired and wireless Xbox 360 controllers with Mac games. The drivers are free to download from and licensed under the GNU General Public Licence (GPL). (BTW, I found it worked better downloading the driver (disk image) rather than the source (ZIP) file. Install the drivers, and you’ll find an Xbox Controllers pane at the bottom of the Mac OS X Systems Preferences app.

Then make sure the gamepad is switched to DirectInput mode. Not all gamepads have this feature, but those that do have a switch with the options “D” (DirectInput) and “X” (XInput) on either side. Make sure the switch is switched to “D."

Once you’ve done this, plug your gamepad into your Mac and launch the game. In most cases, the game will ask you to choose an input method (i.e. the peripheral you will be using to control the game) at the Main Menu. Simply press any button on the gamepad, and the game will recognize it.

I'd recommend the gamepad option; it makes gameplay more fluid, at least for me. And you'll want fluid gameplay in this colorful, funny, tongue-in-cheek LEGO game.

The game is available through Steam, the Mac App Store, the Feral online store, as well as other third-party sites. LEGO Marvel Super Hereos is sold through Steam as the base game only for US$19.99 with three DLC packs available separately. Through the Feral online store and other third parties the base game is sold with DLC content available through Steam. 

On the Mac App Store, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes comes bundled with the "Super" and "Asgard" DLC packs and is priced at $29.99. The game requires Mac OS X 10.8.5 or higher.