Ben 10 Omniverse Review

November 27, 2012

/ by Tin Salamunic

Developer(s): Vicious Cycle Software
Publisher(s): D3 Publisher
Platform(s): PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, Wii U, DS, 3DS
Review Platform: Xbox 360
Release Date: November 13, 2012

If your palms are still sweaty from frantic Halo 4 and Black Ops II multiplayer matches, then it’s safe to assume that games like these are not on your radar. Unless we’re talking about industry icons like Mario or Sonic, gamers who’ve outgrown their cartoon days will disregard most titles released in the kids’ genre. But for every elite gamer, there are hundreds of kids dying to play the latest video game based on their favorite cartoon. Most of these offerings tend to lack polish and oftentimes feel rushed, but Ben 10 Omniverse is a pleasant reminder that it doesn’t always have to be that way. While it’s not original in any way, as a budget title based on a popular Cartoon Network series, it’s a fun venture for the youngens, particularly devotees of Ben 10.
  • Charming cell-shaded graphics
  • Transforming into Alien creatures is a blast
  • Couch Co-op
  • Only 40$
  • Overly simplistic
  • Repetitive enemy groans are aggravating
  • Too linear
Omniverse is the fourth installment in the Ben 10 franchise. The TV series premiered earlier this September, so the game is a well-timed introduction to Ben’s new adventures. Ben has a new partner, Rook, and he’s got the unfortunate luck of being sent back in time after Ben’s Omnitrix goes kaput. While in the past, he meets the eleven-year-old Ben and before you know it the duo enters into a fight with the villain Malware. Malware consumes Rook’s Proto-Tool and acquires new powers that lead to a nightmarish alternate future. The game alternates between young Ben and teen Ben as he and Rook try to prevent Malware’s evil plan of destroying the world.

Ben 10 Omniverse is a very traditional action-brawler at its core with a few niche elements spicing up the otherwise familiar gameplay. As with previous titles in the Ben 10 series, you can transform into several alien creatures that boast unique combat abilities and help you overcome certain puzzle segments. There are fifteen creatures that you can transform into during battle with a click of the d-pad, but you can only remain in that form for a short period before Ben’s Omnitrix meter is depleted. You recharge the meter by defeating enemies, but Ben’s human form isn’t nearly as powerful and he’s more vulnerable to enemy attacks.

Switching back and forth between different aliens is quite fun. Not only do they have unique special attacks, they can be modified with the right shoulder button to jazz up your combos. There’s no denying that the game is a button-masher, but considering the fast paced action, it actually works in its favor. My major gripe is the lack of any real challenge. The higher-level enemies aren’t particularly more difficult to defeat, they just take more hits and so you never feel a sense of danger. The assertive bosses do put up a fight, but even then you feel overwhelmingly powerful as you shape-shift through dominant alien beings. You also have Rook by your side at all times, so the larger enemy groups don’t pose a real threat for the duo. The highlight of the game is the drop-in/drop-out couch co-op. It is just so much more fun taking on waves of enemies with a friend, or if you have kids of course.

Every now and then, you’ll encounter puzzles that require special abilities of certain alien creatures. On paper, this sounds like a fantastic idea and a great opportunity to take advantage of Ben’s many skills. Unfortunately, the puzzles are overly simplistic. You can figure them out within seconds and the overwhelming clues take away any challenge. I know that this is geared towards a younger audience, but developers should know that kids are smarter than this. Ultimately, the biggest crime the game commits is the assumption that younger gamers need their hands held every step of the way, or even worse, are completely incapable of thinking for themselves. This is very unfortunate because the fundamental gameplay is rather enjoyable.

Visually, the game steps away from the typical 3D look of previous titles and leans towards a more cell-shaded aesthetic. The new style really works in the game’s favor as it captures the look and feel of the show perfectly. My only complaint is the lack of facial detail in characters when the camera zooms in, particularly Ben. However, the environments look beautiful and have a clean, hand-drawn, almost Borderlands-like look to them. What’s strange is that the exteriors don’t have as much visual diversity. They look rather bland compared to some of the finer, more detailed interiors.

Voice acting is solid and very conventional of Saturday morning cartoons. It certainly does the show justice but the same can’t be said for the sound effects. Enemies groan when you hit them and they sound pretty horrible. You’ll constantly hear repetitive grunts and moans as you plow though hordes of enemies. It becomes borderline maddening after a few hours of gaming.

In the end, Ben 10 Omniverse is a surprisingly entertaining, albeit overly simplistic, action game for younger fans of the show. For only forty bucks, you’re getting a pretty solid 11-level journey that’s even more enjoyable when you bring a friend along for co-op play. If you have kids in your household who religiously follow the latest Ben 10 adventures, you can’t go wrong with Ben 10 Omniverse.

Final Score “For Dedicated Ben 10 Fans Only” 6.5
Charming, cell-shaded visuals perfectly capture the show's look and feel. However, the overall design is very inconsistent. Some environments are extremely bland compared to others and the characters's faces look very flat.
Ben 10 Omniverse has all the ingredients that make a fun action-brawler. Unfortunately, the simplicity is somewhat insulting, particularly the puzzles, and even the youngest gamers can breeze through the game on the hardest difficulty setting.
For only forty bucks, you're getting a few hours of fun co-op play. But once the game is over, there's no reason to go back, unless you're completely immersed in the Ben 10 franchise.
While the voice acting is pretty decent, the sound effects will drive you mad. Enemies groan repetitively like a broken record and it'll drive you crazy after a few hours of gaming.

Review by Tin Salamunic

Tin Salamunic is the founder of The Game Scouts. He is a Video Game Journalist during the day and illustrator by night. He's been obsessed with video games since the early NES days, collecting every major system and game on the market. Video games are the reason he pursued the illustration career and he hopes to be creative director for a video game company one day. All Artciles by Tin. 

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