I may not watch many of my sons cartoons, but most seem ripe for videogames. Add in a kid who can transform into various alien forms, and you have all of the ingredients for a brawling game kids could get into. Ben 10: Omniverse also has an advantage for parents, as it’s just deep enough to enjoy as an adult.
Brawlers aren’t usually my cup of tea. Couple that with a cartoon I have only watched clips of, and I wasn’t sure what I was in for when I put Ben 10: Omniverse into my system. Somehow, Ben 10 beat the odds and turned out to be more fun than I expected. The story was surely nothing I would write home about, but the gameplay was not only solid, but downright fun at times.
You spend most of your time in some alien form. I won’t even pretend to remember their names, but Heatwave is the only one that rings a a bell at the moment. So as you are running around, smashing enemies as Heatwave, you are collecting three different types of orbs; health, energy, and xp. Energy depletes as you attack enemies, with more powerful attacks depleting more energy than normal. Once your energy is gone, you turn back into a kid and wait for the energy to fill up again before morphing back into an alien.
Actually switching aliens is incredibly easy, as you assign them to a button on the D-pad. However, at times, I would hit a button to switch, and either it would lag and then switch or I would have to hit the button again. So there’s a small problem I noticed there. There’s also more aliens than buttons, so as you progress through the game and unlock more aliens, you can switch them however you see fit. Some puzzles require certain aliens to solve, though, but your partner will chime in from time to time and pretty much tell you what to do if you spend too long wandering around.
As a parent, the drop in/drop out co-op (more on that in a bit) was great, but I can’t imagine picking this up with a friend and playing. If you love brawlers like God of War, Double Dragon, or Final Fight (to name a few nostalgic comparisons), you could certainly sit down and have some fun with Ben 10: Omniverse while your kid was asleep. There’s a level-up mechanic, so you can strengthen your alien forms on a basic level, too. But lacking a narrative that is appealing is a real disadvantage. For a kids game, though, it does at least have some “fun factor” in it.
Adult Score: 3/5
This was a rare case, where I didn’t actually ask him ahead of time if he was interested in it. I knew he liked the cartoon, and I know he likes games so I figured I couldn’t go wrong. Thankfully I was right, as he didn’t have to be asked twice to play. To freshen up your memory, my son is eight and has come a long way in the past year. I was a little nervous going into this because I know how some games can be that are catered to kids; frustrating and, well, broken. Ben 10: Omniverse is far from either of those.
There was one instance early on where he wasn’t reading the pop-up instructions and he didn’t know what to do. After about half an hour of running around in a room aimlessly, I finally told him that if he wanted to continue he probably needed to restart and read the things that were popping up. I did notice him skipping them, mind you. He did that, and I didn’t hear a peep from him for hours.
Being a brawler, with aliens, and awesome powers, and – you get my point, right? There’s a lot of things going for it geared towards kids my sons age (eight). The puzzles, if you can call them that, aren’t overly complicated and as I said before, Rook (Ben’s partner) chimes in from time to time on what exactly needs to be done.
My sons favorite part was, of course, the fact that it was a Ben 10 game. He’s had some experience before with leveling up a character in Skylanders: Giants, but he still got a kick out of leveling up the aliens he was playing as. And since I don’t have to go to the store and buy new characters, it’s a big win for me (and my wallet).
Something that did get on his nerves though was the checkpointing. I was actually playing with him, and we had jumped over one set of platforms and landed on the other side. As we attempted to jump the next set, we both fell to our demise. And had to start back before the first set of jumps. It was one of the few frustrations he had with Ben 10: Omniverse.
Kids Score: 4/5
With easy mechanics, great graphics, and a universe kids are already familiar with, Ben 10: Omniverse gives kids a simple-but-satisfying brawler. Parents can jump in just by hitting the Start button, too, which is a big bonus.
Note: This review was written based on gameplay from the Playstation 3 version of the game with material provided by the publisher. Ben 10: Omniverse is also available on the Xbox 360, Wii U, and Nintendo 3DS platforms.