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Marvel Hero Tales

App review by
Ana Beltran, Common Sense Media
Marvel Hero Tales App Poster Image
Beat the bad guys, learn language skills in unique game.

Parents say

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids will use their knowledge of vocabulary and grammar to successfully move forward in the game. For example, kids will practice using adverbs to describe verbs and will practice finding synonyms in order to subdue bad guys and meet their objectives. Kids will also have the opportunity to practice reading and comprehension skills when reading the comics. 

Ease of Play

Orientation introduces kids to navigation. Occasionally, hints may appear on the screen as an additional support. It's as simple as tapping on images and dragging words to the desired space to defeat bad guys using the power of language.  

Violence & Scariness

Mild violence: Superheroes kick, throw objects, and use their superpowers to defeat thieves, zombies, and other bad guys who are threatening public peace. 

Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism

In-app subscription is required in order to unlock all playable comic issues and to play as the Spider Man character. Without a subscription, kids will only be able to play as Ms. Marvel and will only have access to one playable comic, with others advertised as "coming soon." 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Marvel Hero Tales is an education app that embeds vocabulary and grammar practice into a game. It's free to play as Ms. Marvel, but playing as Spider-Man requires a subscription. Set in New York City, the playable comics layer reading, gameplay, and language practice. Kids will be able to read the comic, control the character's movement around the city to find where the action is happening, and fill in the blanks with different parts of speech to complete sentences and narrate the game. They'll then match words from each sentence with their closest meaning. Completing the language challenges correctly brings kids closer to completing their objective and defeating the bad guys. As kids complete events or rounds, the sentences they create to power the game are used to narrate their personalized comic, which they can access and read under the My Comics tab. Under the birth year passcode-protected Grown-Ups' Corner, parents will be able to determine how long kids can play Marvel Hero Tales. Parents will also find social media links, credits, the option to restore purchase, and more information about the game. Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your (or your kids') information is collected, used, and shared and any choices you may have in the matter, and note that privacy policies and terms of service frequently change.

User Reviews

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What's it about?

MARVEL HERO TALES engages kids in gameplay and captures their actions in personalized comic books. It's part gameplay, part word game, and part reading app. Upon launching, kids experience orientation training, which is accessible at any time by tapping on the training tab that appears before beginning any of the adventures. The training will walk new users through the objective of the game and utilizing the onscreen control or joystick to make the characters run, jump, or swing along New York City's streets. The radar on the top right corner of the screen shows kids where to go in order to find action. Once kids navigate to the key point of action marked by a circular yellow outline, they have to apply language skills, including vocabulary and grammar knowledge, in order to achieve the objective and defeat the bad guys. Using tap and drag motions, kids will fill in blanks with nouns, verbs, and adverbs to complete sentences that determine how Ms. Marvel or Spider-Man will approach challenges. They'll also have to match certain words to their closest meaning. Completing the language tasks correctly and within the allotted time moves kids forward in the game. As they complete rounds, their decisions and sentences are memorialized in personalized comics. Their progress towards completing their personalized comic appears on the screen. Once complete, kids can read their comic, which reflects how they used language to power the superheroes. In addition to educational gameplay, kids can also read characters' fact files, which outline their backgrounds, personalities, and special powers. The latest news tab allows kids to learn about game updates. In-app purchase of membership is necessary to pay the game as Spider-Man and to enjoy all playable comic issues. The free version currently offers one playable comic with others advertised as "coming soon."  

Is it any good?

Kids won't even notice they are building and practicing key reading and language skills as they enjoy the fun and vivid gameplay action that empowers them to save the day. Marvel Hero Tales features a video game approach, which will capture the attention of kids who enjoy controlling characters' movements as they complete missions. The educational component is layered in as a word game or as opportunities to read comics or fact files. Although the educational component isn't entirely baked into the gaming component, the design of the game ensures seamless transitions, established a routine and predictability. In order for little ones to play independent, they will need to have some comfort with reading, since the app doesn't offer a read-to me or read-aloud feature. The app is fairly straight forward. There are plenty of supports to help kids navigate the game independently. These include the orientation training, color coding to match words with designated blanks in the sentences, and yellow square targets that signal the nouns kids can choose to work with.

The app will definitely capture the attention of Marvel Hero enthusiasts! It entices kids with popular characters and gameplay and keeps them engaged through comics and word games. The app empowers kids by giving them the authority over how comics are written. Through word choice, kids determine what Ms. Marvel or Spider-Man will do and how they will do it. Kids can make silly sentences or sentences full of power and strength. It requires the completion of several rounds, but once ready, kids will be thrilled to see their ideas and input in the comic panels of their personalized book. The educational component and opportunities to practice and build reading and language skills are definitely a highlight; however, kids playing the free version may feel limited since they can only access Ms. Marvel's character and one playable comic. Though repetition is linked to mastery, the limited variety in verb and adverb choice can make the game seem too repetitive and may contribute to kids losing interest. Otherwise, Marvel Hero Tales is a fun app that promotes creativity, reading, and language skills. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about parts of speech when playing Marvel Hero Tales. Kids will practice using adverbs to modify verbs. Kids will also experiment with synonyms when matching words to their closest meaning. What are synonyms and why might they be useful? How do adverbs enhance the meaning of a sentence?

  • Use the characters to discuss empathy and helping others. Why do you think it's important to help those in need? How might we be able to help those in need considering we don’t have superpowers?

App details

  • Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android
  • Subjects: Language & Reading: letter or word recognition, naming, reading, spelling, storytelling, vocabulary
  • Skills: Creativity: imagination, producing new content
    Communication: multiple forms of expression
  • Price: Free to try
  • Pricing structure: Free to try (subscription for full content $1.99/mo.)
  • Release date: July 8, 2019
  • Category: Education
  • Topics: Superheroes
  • Size: 643.60 MB
  • Publisher: Kuato Games (UK) Limited
  • Version: 1.0.6
  • Minimum software requirements: iOS 9.0 or later; Android 4.4 and up
  • Last updated: July 22, 2019

Themes & Topics

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