Ben 10 Omniverse
game I can think to compare Ben 10: Omniverse to would be
Gauntlet. Because thatís what this is: A gauntlet of narrow
corridors for you to stroll through, while enemies continuously spawn
within comfortable range of your mutated fists.
takes place across two timelines, and has you controlling both the
original Ben Tennyson, and his sixteen-year-old incarnation from the
later cartoons. The main villain here is Malware, an alien who can
absorb various forms of technology to enhance his own powers. Although
you control Ben, the story is actually driven by his new sidekick Rook,
who continually switches between the timelines.
aliens have heaps of personality, thanks to the gameís cel-shaded visual
style and the individual dialogue. Bloxx is a colourful lego gorilla who
can shape himself into a container for Rook to push around, or act as a
bridge between two platforms. Heatblast and Four Arms throw cheesy
one-liners around as they fight.
itís a brawler in the tradition of countless beat-em-ups before it, the
peculiarities of the Ben 10 universe do add a small amount of strategy
to the combat. Youíve always got to keep an eye on the energy level of
your omnitrix, which depletes with every attack or special move you
perform. When this runs out youíre transformed back into Ben, who talks
a big game but is essentially useless in combat. While in this unaltered
state, youíll be more vulnerable and your attacks wonít carry nearly as
much weight. Some aliens, like Gravattack, can dole out huge damage at
the expense of draining the omnitrix very quickly, and are best reserved
for a heated boss battle or a swarm of tougher enemies.
aliens have ranged attacks, or can double-jump, or just have cool attack
animations, meaning thereís at least some incentive to try them all out.
Over the course of the game youíll earn experience points which can be
spent on any one alien. Levelling them up means youíll unlock new combos
or be able to string more attacks together, making them much more fun to
to be played in co-operative mode. There are always two characters on
screen, but if you donít have a friend next to you on the couch then
control of Rook is taken over by the AIÖ and this is generally a very
bad thing. Be prepared to spend a lot of time waiting for your greyish
alien sidekick to re-spawn, as he inevitably misses every jump, lands in
every lava pit and steps on every electrified grate. Of course a second
human player alleviates this, but thereís always going to be an argument
over who gets controller 1. While Rook has a few different weapons, itís
small compensation for Ben having a menagerie of powerful aliens to
the constant fighting, and maybe in an attempt save your controllerís X
button from being pummelled into oblivion, there are a few puzzles to
contend with. These are very lightweight, and usually involve using one
of your aliensí powers to electrify a dormant power source, or sniff out
some hidden footprints. Unfortunately, rather than being allowed to
experiment with your various abilities, itís almost always pointed out
to you exactly what you need to do in these situations.
Particularly bad are the jumping sections, which take place between
rapidly moving platforms. The gameís double-jump feels dicey, and you
always feel itís due to luck more than skill when you pull off a tricky
jump. It feels like a cheap way of artificially raising the difficulty
in what isnít a hard game.
of checkpoints is fairly forgiving, but there will be the odd time when
you die and youíre transported halfway across the map, behind the six
mobs of bad-guys youíve already defeated. This can get extremely
frustrating, as thereís often no way to progress until youíve beaten
every single enemy on the screen.
that brings the experience down the most is the copy-and-paste approach
to level design. In just about every level, thereís an underground
railway or some metal grating over a lava pit, or a bland industrial
site. Thereís an intense sense of dťjŗ vu here, and it never really
feels like youíre progressing. In contrast to the vibrant, loud,
comic-book-inspired aliens youíre in control of, the world itself is
depressingly bland and colourless. The outdoor sections feel oddly
lonely: Alien, but not in a good way. The empty city streets are begging
for a few extra details, like NPCís fleeing from the giant ants that are
is basic gaming in every sense, which isnít to say that younger Ben 10
fans wonít enjoy the colourful characters, easy progression and
co-operative play. Older gamers will tire of it quickly.