The thing that leaps out at me most obviously about LEGO Marvel Super Heroes is that this is clearly a game for kids. I don't mean that as an insult, far from it, but it is an undeniable fact. The main piece of evidence for this is that it's filled with kid jokes. Like, when you spray water on LEGO Sandman to get him to congeal enough to smack around and he screams, "I'm melting! I'm melting! Oh, wait no, I'm solidifying. I'm solidifying!"
As an adult, I find that amusing. Twelve-year-old me would have bust a gut. The reversal of the famous quotation and the awareness that the word "melting" has an opposite are just challenging enough to have made young me feel smart, but the joke itself is simple enough that it wouldn't have gone over my head. An extremely well-crafted kid joke.
Which makes playing this game weird, because I can't help shake this shadow sense, this subtle awareness of the game I could be playing, were I still young enough and inexperienced enough to access it. It really makes me want to play multiplayer with an actual kid, but unfortunately, I don't know anyone who qualifies (also I don't know any parents irresponsible enough to let their kids play video games at 3'o'clock at night).
But aside from that weird self-awareness, I am loving this game so far. It simply oozes charm, with plenty of visual gags and goofy super jokes (like Mr Fantastic turning into a giant screwdriver). And while it is ridiculously easy (the only penalty for dying is the loss of a few "coins" - you don't even have to restart the level - another indication that this is primarily a kid's game), there's enough exploration and gently non-trivial puzzles that it doesn't feel tedious.
Plus, while it is clearly a kid's game, it also appears to indulge the sort of deep comics nerdery that only adults (and super focused kids) can attain. I'm not much of a comics reader, but I respect anyone who has a thorough knowledge of a specialized subject, and when I see the huge list of unlockable characters, marked so far only with question marks, I know that before this is done, I'm going to be seeing some obscure cameos from the farthest corners of Marvel lore. And you know what, the thought thrills me. I cannot wait to see what LEGO Marvel Super Heroes has to offer.