Cue the catchy theme tune!
I must confess when this landed on my desk I was initially apprehensive… I mean for one thing I’m really not the target audience of this particular title, and for that matter I had no clue about the subject matter in question. So first, a bit of research to see what this was all about and then cracking on with the game itself.
For those of you not in the know (like I was) Ben 10 follows the adventures of a young boy (and eventually teenager as the series progresses) with a watch that allows him to transform into a variety of alien lifeforms with a varying arrangement of powers that allow him to fight evil aliens etc., from around the universe.
On loading the game I was intrigued to see the D3Publisher logo pop up. Now, my experience with their titles has been for the most part a very positive one, and my faith was actually rewarded.
At heart the game that greets you is a good old fashioned action adventure game in something akin to a dungeon crawler style. It’s not complicated, after all this is a game aimed at fans of the cartoon series, not your average Skyrim-loving, CoD-munching hardcore gamer, but, and here’s the crucial bit – It’s actually quite good fun.
Yes, you did read that right. I said fun. You and your partner Rook wandering around, trouncing enemies and flipping switches etc., is good uncomplicated fun. It’s not going to be an in depth experience but it’s got enough going for it to keep the target audience engaged. As you progress with the various characters, their powers upgrade. There’s no stat monitoring or dark magics revolving around this, it’s simply a matter of dispatching the baddies thrown at you and collecting the colored balls of light the erupt forth as they’re defeated. If you’ve played the recent Skylanders games, you’ll get the idea of what’s happening – just without the need to collect the plastic figures. You just need to select which of Ben’s alien forms you want to use.
Four of these forms can be mapped to the d-pad and switched between on the fly. Changing the mapping is simply a matter of holding the direction on the pad down for a few seconds and the selection wheel comes up onscreen and away you go. The Rook character who’s new for the series can be controlled and uses a variety of sword and gun based attacks. Not quite as much fun as swapping between alien forms, but they get the job done. Parents indulging with their children will no doubt find themselves relegated to the Rook role.
With the variety of alien forms on offer, the replay value is there for those that want to power up all their favorite characters as far as they will go, although with no online co-op it’ll be getting the friends over to enjoy what is actually a very fun co-op experience. Imagine a simplified version of Marvel Ultimate Alliance and you’re thinking along the right lines.
Visually the game does a very good job of recreating the look and feel of the new version of the show. Seriously, have look at a trailer for the game and a trailer for the show. Cel shading is the order of the day, but what would you expect for a game based on a cartoon. It looks great and works wonderfully well for the subject matter.
What you have here is a surprise of a game. A game based on a TV show that’s actually pretty good for one, and a game that’s aimed at the younger generation that those of more advancing years may actually find fun to play (even without the younger ones present but we won’t tell if you don’t), if a little repetitive with the same basic robot type popping up repeatedly to be dispatched.
So if you fancy some good old fashioned, harmless (unless you’re a robot) fun, give this one a try.