Traveller's Tales has found quite a niche for itself as of late, transforming several popular movie and other franchises into Lego hits.  These include the likes of Star Wars, Batman (and the DC Comic universe), Harry Potter, Pirates of the Caribbean and most recently Lord of the Rings.  And lest we forget, they applied an original touch to Lego City Undercover.

Its latest team-up took us for a loop with the team is transitioning from DC Comics' camp to Marvel, taking over a hundred familiar villains and heroes and putting them into their own Lego-ized world for Lego Marvel Super Heroes debuting this Fall on platforms across the board.  The company recently invited us to get a sneak peek at the game over a week ago at a private suite at Game Developers Conference, and we liked what we saw.

Though the demo was hands-off (for the moment – E3 will be a different story) we got an idea how gameplay would work for some of the characters at least.  The demo took place in a sand-riddled New York City, where Spider-Man nemesis the Sandman was wreaking havoc, transforming himself into a large fist-pounding nightmare while creating minions.  Called upon to save the city from his wrath, Lego versions of Iron Man (aka Tony Stark in his customized power-armor), The Incredible Hulk and Spider-Man arrive in no time flat.

What makes Lego Marvel Super Heroes so distinctive is how each character has abilities separate from the others.  Traveller's Tales went to great lengths to make sure that each hero and villain had moves similar to their real comic book selves.  Spider-Man can shoot webbing and swing across generated lines, making him ideal for getting across large gaps when the situation calls for it.  The Hulk can pick up items like cars to throw around and even generate debris from pieces of the environment, which he can fling at foes.  Iron Man can fire blasters at enemies and also perform some stunning melee moves.

No one hero can do the job by themselves in Lego Marvel Super Heroes, so you'll need to choose from a team of three to see who's the best for a given situation.  In the first part of the demo, we saw switching between all three when it came to taking down minions.  In the boss battle that concluded the demo featuring an enormous Sandman tearing things up, they all combined together to complete objectives like deactivating a tower station and then hurling it at the big menace to weaken him, eventually bringing him down by repeating the pattern.

As with previous Lego games, Traveller's Tales is treating Lego Marvel Super Heroes with the right amount of tone, packing a few laughs to go along with the action.  Concluding the Sandman battle, Hulk finds himself walking around with a broom and dustpan helping fellow S.H.I.E.L.D. agents clean up the mess – and picking up large objects in the process.  The game also features full vocal dialogue, and the development team has done a good job thus far finding sound-alikes from the Marvel big-screen efforts.  Tony Stark is still as smarmy as ever and Hulk still knows how to scream, "HULK SMASH!" and perform a thunderclap (slamming his hands together to create a sonic wave) right on cue.

Like most of the recent Lego efforts, Marvel Super Heroes has a rather large level structure.  Travelers Tales is promising that players will visit a number of familiar locales throughout the game, including the popular Helicarrier that made an appearance in last year's Avengers movie.  Though the team's demo was brief to the point that we didn't see more characters in action (like fan favorites Wolverine and Deadpool) more will be revealed in the months ahead.

Though the game won't include online play, Lego Marvel Super Heroes will support local multiplayer so you can team up with friends when it comes to saving the world... or trashing it if you're playing with the likes of Magneto and possibly Venom (we asked if he had a Lego-ized tongue – Traveller's Tales sadly didn't have a comment).  It's more fun teaming with a friend, so don't forget to bring a comic book buddy along.

While it's a bit of a surprise to see Warner Bros. and Marvel characters teaming up for an effort instead of something else from Disney, Lego Marvel Super Heroes looks like a smashing product as a result.  We'll get a deeper glimpse at characters and their abilities in the months ahead as we wait for the game's debut this fall on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii U, Nintendo 3DS and PlayStation Vita.

And did say we "HULK SMASH"?  Yes we did... good.