by Mike Favila, Reviewer
After reading the fun Avengers Origins: Assemble! (read my review here), I was curious to see if there would be any major differences in the pacing of this app. With the same writer (Rich Thomas) and the same excitable narrator (Stan “The Man” Lee), would this just be more of the same? Amazingly, I found a more intereresting, engaging adventure.
Like Avengers Origins: Assemble!, Avengers Origins: Hulk is really more of a story book and less of a game, much like the Dr Seuss books that have been slightly animated and voiced. To advance the story, the reader swipes left, in the now familiar e-book fashion. After you complete each activity, you are greeted with Stan’s trademark saying, Excelsior! There are a number of mini games included in the app, which I had more fun with, minus the focusing of the telescope bit below. Otherwise, the games were pretty interesting and varied.
The plot covers the basics of the Hulk origin story, but spends more time delving into Bruce’s childhood and his inner demons than I’ve seen in the past. Even though I’d grown up with the story, I still felt for kid Bruce, and could see young readers empathizing with him too.
The rest of the narrative follows him through the accident, becoming the hulk, meeting future sidekick Rick Jones, and evading the army while trying to stay in possession of his mind and temperament. Also, he meets his first pair of purple ripped pants! I guess it was the 60s, but now, it’s just a bold style choice.
In comparison to the other app, the story is a little more streamlined and less wordy. It’s difficult to explain why the story works so much better, but I tend to think that the motivations of the Hulk are a little easier to cover than the weird team dynamics in the Avengers. I had gotten the impression that the Hulk app came after Avengers since it seemed more fully formed and better targeted at children, but it turns out it was released first. The app loaded slower than Avengers Origins: Assemble!, so maybe there were a few kinks that they worked out after they developed the latter app. Val Semeiks drew the art, and it’s definitely eye popping and easy to understand.
Like Avengers Origins: Assemble! the main menu consists of:
Language: Only English is available, but there are other icons for future languages. I checked out the options for the Spider-Man: Origins app, and that seemed to have multiple languages. So maybe they will actually come through on their advertisement.
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, which combines autoplay and removal of the interactive elements.
Extras: Six translucent fists 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! This was a fun gimme that Marvel used to pretend to send fans in the 60s/70s if they wrote into Stan’s Soapbox and said something funny or attention grabbing. I personally didn’t get it until I was older. Like, where’s my prize?
Info: Instructions, and a links to the other two Marvel Reads apps (Amazing Spider-Man: An Origin Story & Avengers Origins: Assemble!) and an email form if you want to be added to Disney Publishing’s mailing list.
At $1.99, Avengers Origins: Hulk! is just fun and my favorite between the two apps. I didn’t even really have to look at it from a kid’s perspective to appreciate the storytelling and understand the inherent sadness of the Hulk’s plight. Oh, is that the theme song I hear playing?
ComicsOnline gives Avengers Origins: Hulk! 4 of 5 thumbs (and massive fists) up!
Buy Avengers Origins: Hulk! from the App Store on iPad, iPhone and iPod touch or at www.itunes.com/appstore today!
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