Thanks to Xbox for the code for this one!

Lego Heroes    

By now, Traveller's Tales are old hands at the Lego games. They're a comfortable niche of pure joy and often relaxation. They're never too taxing and they're loads of fun, for kids or adults. These games are a great stress relief and they come in all themes these days.

One of my favourite ones was Lego Marvel Superheroes. I'm a big Marvel fan in general, I grew up with Marvel comics. I used to read Spider-Man on rainy Saturday afternoons at my nan's house. Along with 2000AD and a bunch of other comics.

I never imagined back then I'd be able to play a Lego: Doctor Strange, let alone a Lego: Black Panther. But here we are, several (many) TTG Lego games on and this one feels like a great sequel to the first as well as righting the irritations I had with Lego Marvel Avengers.

Kang You Dig It?

This is a huge roster of heroes and villains, probably one of the biggest rosters of the Lego Marvel games to date, and it's packed with fan favourites as well as movie versions of such characters as Doctor Strange and T'Challa, the Black Panther. There's also a huge focus on Peter Quill and the Guardians of the Galaxy, including the cutest Lego baby Groot.

Kang otherwise known as Kang the Conquerer, has taken to invading all of time and space, he's stolen a bunch of places and combined them into his new glorious kingdom known as Chronopolis. The heroes have to assemble and defeat Kang and his many minions, whilst exploring a huge chunk of time-stitched Lego real-estate packed with various things to see and do.

The main story missions are big this time around, they're quite complex in their design and they shift gears from puzzles to combat quite smoothly. Nothing really feels shoehorned in here and the way the interlocking pieces interact is smart and cleverly designed. You'll also find that the heroes you control (and there's a lot of them as we mentioned) are also pretty neat, with varied powers that can be used to solve the various puzzles.

The classic tricks return, certain powers melt gold objects, silver ones can be blown up with grenades and explosives etc. They've not strayed too far from what worked in the last games, because if it's not broken, don't fix it. One area where they have made some changes is in combat, it's far more varied now and the various combo moves you can pull off along with power moves are satisfying as well as fun to watch. There are team-up moves as well with the various heroes which can devastate large groups of enemies with ease.

Then there are boss fights, and unlike the previous bosses of the other games, these can be prolonged affairs and laced with lots of puzzles and clever use of environment.

For the first time in a mainstream Lego game you can also traverse underwater.

Dream Team

As previously mentioned there's a load of heroes in this one (and bad guys) for you to unlock and play. In free-play these folks will crop up as you pick your chosen hero to take into the missions. Otherwise it's a set team and there's some interesting picks, such as the Inhumans like Medusa and Black Bolt. You'll also get to play with Carol Danvers, aka: Captain Marvel and experience TTG's take on the Power Cosmic prior to the new movie. In short, there's a lot of fan favourites here and a lot of interesting picks in terms of characters.

Now if you don't want to play any of those you'll be pleased to know that Character Customisation is back, and it's back in a HUGE way.

This is the most detailed character customisation available in any Lego game to date, featuring not only cosmetic looks and parts, but also individual power assignment and customisation from the type of projectile to the colour that projectile takes.

Want a Doctor Strange clone that shoots purple magical bolts of fire, sure.

As always there's co-op for 2 local players.

Spicing up the Formula

This is the first Lego game in a long while that actually feels like it spiced up the formula, even the Force Awakens didn't quite push the game's systems as far as this one. TTG even changed the way that you can activate cheats, just hit up the Avenger's Mansion and go speak to Gwenpool - yep - that's right, Gwenpool is in the game.

The open world hub is fun and fresh as well, with hidden secrets and fun things to do. When you find a map node and activate it, you'll get a whole slew of things to do in that location and tracking the various things that you need to do is a lot easier compared to previous games.

There's also a 4 player Battle Arena mode that lets you fight your friends, here you can also activate Infinity Stone powerups that drastically change the way your character plays. This Battle Arena and Infinity Gauntlet is probably one of the most noticeable changes to the Lego game formula in a long time.

Details

The game is gorgeously presented in terms of graphics, aesthetics across Chronopolis and the level of detail given to each individual character. Some characters have neat quirky things they'll do as well when you hold down the B button. Starlord for example will pop on his Walkman and enjoy a bit of a dance to some of his favourite tunes. Spider-Man can take selfies and there's a bunch of billboards around Chronopolis that could do with new pictures on them.

The animations for the various characters are likewise excellent, with Doctor Strange taking his movie counterparts moves for flight, combat and traversal. Little Lego energy mandalas are awesome.

The cut-scenes are fun and quirky and overall the story is a good one.

Voice of Marvel

There are some great performances here and Kang is expertly voiced by the dulcet tones of Peter Serafinowicz, whom you might recognise from Spaced, Sean of the Dead, Guardians of the Galaxy and in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace as the voice of Darth Maul. Kang is delightfully campy and yet manages to be threatening at the same time. The rest of the voice work is solid and the Doctor Strange voice is a passable movie version.

As always, Stan Lee returns to provide his own voice and he's once more in peril!

Marvellous if a teeny bit Flawed

This is the best Lego game to-date, seriously, however there are a few random crashes that prevent it from being totally brilliant. The rest of the game, the fact that they bothered to put underwater in, and spent so much time modelling the quite excellent Chronopolis for you to explore is testament to TTG's love of this series and their penchant for taking Lego games to the next level with the new iterations.

If you love the Lego games, if you loved Lego Marvel Superheroes and you wanted a great sequel, this is it!

It's packed to the brim with lore and fun in equal measure and a true treat for anyone who adores Marvel. It's great for the kids and the adults, in short: it's great.

Excelsior!