Ben 10 has won itself a legion of fans with its story of Ben Tennyson, a young boy who discovers a watch-like device called the Omnitrix that lets him transform into all sorts of different aliens. He uses this ability to fight crime and fend off evil invading aliens. It’s quite popular, and thus there are going to be various video games made based on the series. The latest is Ben 10: Omniverse, based on the new series of the same name. With licensed games based on kids shows being a hit and miss proposition, how well does Ben 10: Omniverse serve fans of the show?
In Ben 10: Omniverse, you will actually get to play as both Young Ben and Teen Ben, jumping back and forth between different times after a mishap with Ben’s Omnitrix causes the creation of fairly awful alternate future. Joining Ben in his adventures is Rook, a rookie alien Plumber (not an actual plumber, but an intergalactic police-type force), who serves as your partner in your adventure. Also guiding Ben along is his grandfather Max (voiced by the same voice actor who does Colonel Roy Campbell from the Metal Gear Solid series, which still freaks me out when I hear him) and various assistants of his. Ben will have access to his Omnitrix, which lets him turn into one of 10 aliens, the selection of which will change slightly depending on which Ben you are.
As you might expect, the inclusion of Rook (who does not appear on the DS and 3DS versions) opens up an opportunity for co-op play. If you play on your own, Rook is controlled by computer AI, but at any time a second player can jump in and join the action. This drop-in, drop-out co-op is done well, and is preferable. AI-controlled characters tend to be fairly, well, not so intelligent, and that happens sometimes in Ben 10. One thing to make note of when Greg and I did some play testing, Ben and Rook are not created equal. While Ben gets to turn into all the cool aliens, Rook only gets access to something called the Proto-Tool, which he can change into various weapons and utilities. You can still beat up aliens with it quite nicely, but there may be arguments over who gets to be Ben.
Gameplay is a standard action brawler. Ben and Rook will dabble in some platforming, but it’s mostly about laying the smack down on various aliens and bosses. Combat is actually quite satisfying, even if you can get by mostly on button mashing, especially as you level up Ben’s aliens and unlock more devastating combos. Of course, you can’t just go about laying wanton destruction on alien fools as Ben’s Omnitrix (and Rook’s Proto-Tool) has a limited amount of power that needs recharging from time to time. While base Ben and Rook still have attack capability, it’s quite weak and only serves to get you by until your power comes back.
The level of violence is about what you expect. There’s lots of punching and kicking going on, plus there are special projectile attacks as well. Ben 10 fans probably won’t be too surprised by what’s on tap here, but parents should be aware that the game does get violent. Check our gameplay video for a sampling of what’s on offer. From a difficulty standpoint, it’s not too bad, though a mostly generous checkpoint system will ensure you don’t fall too far back if you run into trouble.
While constantly beating up bad guys might get boring after a while, luckily the variety of aliens will give you different ways to pound on them at least, and the basic leveling mechanic helps as well. I found the game did a fairly decent job of making me want to play more, even with the repetitive combat. The game doesn’t do much more than this, though, and clocks in a little shorter than I’d prefer to see from a $40 game. Though in it’s defence, and I can’t explain why, somehow the game feels longer than the actual number of hours that the game timer reports.
The GamerPops Recommendation
Overall, Ben 10: Omniverse is a solid action brawler that fans of the show should enjoy. It’s satisfying enough that an adult gamer can play co-op with their Ben 10-loving child and enjoy themselves, though don’t be surprised if you have to play as Rook while doing it. I’d like a $30 price point better for this game given the content and length, but other than that and the odd camera and AI glitch, there aren’t too many things I can complain about. It does a lot of things well that we like to see out of child and family games, and though you should be a fan of the show to totally get what’s going on, it’s not a prerequisite.
A review copy was provided to GamerPops.
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ESRB Rating Summary
Rating: Everyone 10+
Content descriptors: Cartoon Violence
Rating summary: This is an action-adventure game in which players assume the role of Ben Tennyson, a teenager who must transform into various alien entities to defeat an evil villain. As players run and jump through levels, they engage in frequent hand-to-hand combat with robots and other alien creatures. Players punch, kick, and use special attacks (e.g., fireballs, laser blasters, energy swords, electromagnetic waves) to defeat nearby enemies, resulting in colorful light bursts as creatures take damage; some battle sequences are accompanied by slow-motion effects.