Developer: Cartoon Network
Publisher: Cartoon Network
Platform: Android, iOS
Tested On: Android
Ben 10: Up to Speed – Review
Auto-runnergames have been a thing for quite some time now, especially seeing most smartphones come with a large touch screen that invites to be played on. Available in many styles and from some popular series, it wasn’t all too strange that a cartoon themed one would come along. Cartoon Network has decided to build a title with their long running show Ben 10 and today we give our thoughts about it.
Our story begins with a peaceful summer noon when Ben and his family go out on a camping trip. Not interested in the whole thing, Ben keeps on playing on his handheld device. Being instructed with the job to gather some firewood by grandpa, Ben sets off into the forest. This is where you, Ben, will encounter the crashed meteorite that holds the Omnitrix. After picking up this mysterious alien device you are granted with the powers to turn into many different alien beings. Now it is up to you to collect all the coins and clear the forest of evil attack bots. For gamers that want to know how the overall story of Ben develops, are left in the cold. Whilst playing, there are no real cutscenes or story pieces filling the void. This is a missed chance for keeping a player hooked since they might lose their interest after a while. It would have been quite nice to see some additional story content, or a few snippets from the series pass by when reaching new levels.
While this genre opens up a world of potential since mobile devices carry strong chipsets these days, ranging from simple 3D art to hand drawn or retro design, the creators have opted for a cartoonish and colorful setting. The backgrounds and playing fields are dynamic and change often. This creativity makes the game more pleasing to play since auto-runners are known to be dull sometimes.
The overall flow of graphics makes that the characters and background flow into one whole. This means that, while some games have a clear distinction between fore- and background, this game has it all mixed nicely. The quality of these graphics are as expected from a higher level developer, smooth and all polished up.
Most people ‘when they play in public’ will have their smartphones muted or are using headphones, so it is understandable that sound is neglected in some games. However, Cartoon Network did not want to bring a half baked cake so they did their best to bring a good sounding title on the table. With the series’ instrumental soundtrack playing in the main menu, this changes quickly to a faster tempo song to play on your senses. What is appreciated is that Ben has many spoken captions when changing characters and shows that they pulled a lot out of the closet to bring us a good experience.
Ben 10: Up to Speed is an auto-runner game, with a fairly straightforward concept. In this game you collect coins and defeat enemies to save the world from certain doom. You do this with your handy alien wristwatch called the Omnitrix. With this you can turn into various different aliens with all unique abilities and characteristics. A slew of evil robots are attacking the world and the more you defeat the better. Each level is graded by a score, and to get all the stars you will need to fill in some criteria as in: defeat enough enemies, collect enough coins etc… The coins collected can be used to purchase booster items (coin magnet, faster Omnitrix charging and shield), more lives or experience.
Experience is used to upgrade your aliens for longer duration and better skills. To control the game you will need to swipe towards the desired direction, by doing so your character will either switch lane, jump, duck or attack. Ben himself cannot destroy the mobs, this makes that you will have to carefully dodge them until you can transform into a hero and take them on like that. Sometimes you will need to transform into a specific character to access some special routes that gives you rewards like with coins and mystery boxes. These boxes yield random bonuses or character upgrades.
Although the game has simple controls they do take a large swipe to work, which is not ideal for split second decisions or precision jumps over gaps and can cost you a life.Speaking about the life-system, this game might have one of the most strange ones in place. You have lives and when you die mid-level you can decide to continue or go to the map select screen. However both of these choices will consume a life. In other games, when you decide to return, you may keep your life but not in this case: so no chance to conserve lives for further stages.Upon exhausting all lives you will restart the level with three, somewhat like older Mario games.
While being one in a million of auto-runner games, Ben 10 tries to stand out with good developed visual and audio perks but the game lacks in story content to keep you going. You will notice after a few levels that it is just one of the many games out there, and it’s simply not worth spending the cash. We give kudos to the developers for making a neatly and refined looking game,but with the high amount of sort-like games on the market it would have been more interesting to make this game a free release title.