by Mike Favila, Reviewer
With the upcoming theatrical release of the inevitable blockbuster The Avengers, Marvel have released two apps to tie in which should appeal to a younger audience. Avengers Origins: Assemble! is the first cannonball from the promotional might of Disney, but it’s charming on its own merits and hits the mark.
Avengers Origins: Assemble! is really more of an moving story book and less of a game, but there are definitely interactive elements that draw in the reader. The Avengers (Iron Man, Thor, Ant Man, Wasp and the Hulk) encounter Captain America and Namor after being missing for decades. For anybody keeping track, this storyline is loosely based on Avengers #4. The app is enthusiastically voiced by the legendary Stan Lee. (Which begs the question, does Stan ever sound bored?) His voice and personality carries Avengers Origins: Assemble! As the creator of many of these characters, his love and devotion is infectious. When I listen to the narration, I imagine him as a very excited uncle reading a story to a child. Stan’s Hulk impression is especially hilarious. “URGHHHH!”
To advance the story, the reader just has to swipe left, in the now familiar e-book fashion. It’s a small detail, but I like that the app doesn’t make the standard page flip animation between frames, but zooms in and moves like a motion comic. After you complete each activity, you are greeted with Stan’s trademark saying, “Excelsior!” The art is clean and well rendered, but hardly boring. I tried to find artist credits to no avail.
Under the main menu are a few options:
Language: Only English is available, but there are other icons for future languages. I guess it’s great that they will expand the app in the future, but for now, it’s just English.
Music: Toggle sound on or off.
Pages: Standard DVD style menu with thumbnail.
Read: This section allows turns on/off the narration, has an auto turn page mode for the especially bored/young, and a young reader mode. When I first saw this mode, I was kind of expecting a simpler wording, but the app just combined autoplay and the removal of the interactive elements.
Extras: Six translucent icons representing each Avenger are hidden within the app for you to find. If you can locate all of them, you get the Marvel gold standard, the No Prize! I used to read my uncle’s 60s Spider Man issues, and Stan would award them to some worthy reader who caught a mistake or asked an especially insightful question. How nice that you can claim one so readily here.
Info: Instructions, obligatory links to the other two Marvel Reads apps (Amazing Spider-Man: An Origin Story & Avengers Origins: Hulk) and an email form if you want to be added to Disney Publishing’s mailing list. Only here did I find out that Rich Thomas wrote the script for the app.
At $1.99, Avengers Origins: Assemble! is a great read and a worthwhile app. Even though it’s recommended for ages 4-10, my 2 year old son enjoyed listening to the story, even if he didn’t know about Giant Man and Wasp yet. Even I enjoyed a quick trip back to my youth.
ComicsOnline gives Avengers Origins: Assemble! 3.5 of 5 Kapows!
Buy Avengers Origins: Assemble! from the App Store on iPad, iPhone and iPod touch or at www.itunes.com/appstore today!
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