Avengers Origins: Assemble! is a very enjoyable universal interactive storybook that tells the tale of how The Avengers find Captain America, and become more of a cohesive group. I really enjoy how these characters are introduced, making this a great primer for children new to Marvel comics. Interactive moments are included throughout that children will also enjoy such as dragging the tools used by each Avenger to their rightful owner.
I enjoy the back story explaining how Namor the Sub-mariner was originally a hero who has forgotten his good-guy past to later re-emerge as a villain. Much to the Avengers' surprise, Namor is now being helped by the Hulk, odd as he fights alongside The Avengers - not against. Readers soon find out that this is all a trick to tire Namor, giving the Hulk a chance to strike, also included as an interactive moment within this book. After the Avengers regroup, it is then that Ant Man sees a body under the water, frozen in a block of ice that readers melt with the drag of a finger, awakening Captain America. The gang still has to deal with Namor and now the armies of Atlantis as well, it is here that Captain America joining in helping The Avengers and becoming a member.
I enjoy this app very much, as does my husband, a loyal Marvel fan as well as my four year old son. The look of the illustrations is very nice, bright and colorful. I am also very happy that the included animated elements look like moving images not fully animated like a cartoon, keeping this app grounded as a cartoon or storybook without venturing too far into being a video which could distract from the reading component of this app.
The interactive elements are fun and well-placed, propelling the story as well as taking part in the action, such as helping The Hulk take a swing at Namor or using the circular drag of a finger to help Captain America swing his shield at the Atlanteans, fighting on the side of The Avengers for the first time and becoming a part of their group.
It goes without saying that the narration by Stan Lee himself is perfectly realized - a favorite element of mine within this book. Music is included as well that is also very nicely done, creating a wonderful sense of drama and suspense.
Parents also have the chance to read this book to their children, and auto play is also included, as is a "young readers mode" which aids in the page turing by including familiar arrows one now touches to continue, as without this mode a tap anywhere on the screen will progress the story, allowing children to flip pages easily by accident. I do wish, however that that page turning was not possible until the narration was complete on each page, as it is still possible to turn a page to early missing parts of this story.
The retelling of this episodic story is nicely simplified and condensed for children to follow easily, yet my husband, who has spent many hours of his youth in comic book stores, enjoyed sharing this book with our son. Although this story contains a lot of action, the fight scenes are demonstrated in a way that is fun and stylized, not violent fashion that could be off-putting to parents.
Although the release of this app coincides with the new Avengers movie, this app does not feel like a tie-in that will be forgotten when the movie is no longer a new release, but it is a very-nice retelling of a classic story that will be enjoyed for a long time to come without ever feeling like an advertisement for licensed merchandise.
Recently, new arcade-style games have been added allowing players to play these games from the point-of-view of the characters from the new movie, The Avengers, including Black Widow - not mentioned in the interactive book. These games are fun and also nicely explain the special powers of each of these super heroes.
I am happy to have shared this application with my son. We have not had a chance to see The Avengers yet, but I look forward to sharing this movie with my son who now knows a little more about this story, adding to the overall richness of the experience.
Avengers Origins: Assemble! is part of a series of Origins apps that also includes Spiderman and The Hulk. Please check iTunes for more details. I look forward to reviewing Avengers Origins: Hulk soon as well.