By Shaan Khan (16/09/21)
Courtesy of Outright Games
If I had to think of a Cartoon Network show that I would want adapting into a video game, it would be Ben 10. Sure, the main protagonist is no Goku. At first glance, he’s an average boy many kids can relate to, but what he has strapped to his wrist is a sweet piece of alien technology known as the ‘Omnitrix’ that allows Ben Tennyson to transform into 10 different aliens! All with their different styles and abilities, creating a sweet variety of gameplay. Let’s unravel how this plays out in the open world of Ben 10: Power Trip—a 3D action-adventure game published by Outright Games Ltd.
Plot, Characters & Art Design
Ben 10 is far from new to the video game scene, having racked up a whopping 13 video game title releases; that’s more than the television series and movies combined! Where this new video game shines is by giving you the freedom to explore the Ben 10 world at your leisure for the first time!
Developers PHL Collective constructed a scalable map riddled with quests and collectables for Ben to interact with. It’s a vibrant place that authentically represents the assets of the 2D cartoon in this 3D virtual world, from character art to the fully-featured Strudelbek City area.
Now you can roam around and kick up a chat with quirky characters you’ve come to know from the franchise, like big’ ole Burgermeister Stefan Shulte. But then there are the generic ones like Ranger Ryan, who just reports on stuff. All in all, the memorable characters are well-voiced and don’t look like complete awkward creations of badly moulded playdough. Sadly, most of the time lip-syncing isn’t done great and characters feel stiff in cut scenes. Still, cut scenes are what make this game feel like you’re in an episode of Ben 10.
Fans of the original and remake can rejoice over the alien transformation designs. No details got left behind in their adaptation into the 3D world. In particular, the dramatic visual effects of each performing move is flashy and offers a sense of heft to each action, and believe me, there is a lot of action. But we’ll get back to that part.
As for the plot, it’s unique to the series but basic in premise, a villain curses Ben’s world and he’s there to uncurse it. A linear tale to get you from point A to B with little twists & turns. But that’s okay, for the dialogue hosts the same level of comedy from the tv show and arguably, the gameplay is what carries this IP on its back.
How to Have Fun in Ben 10: Power Trip
Courtesy of Ben 10: Power Trip on Steam
Okay, at first the map can be a little intimidating when you can only walk around or ride on a flimsy scooter. You don’t feel like you’re getting anywhere and making matters worse, it’s mostly made up of copy-pasted assets like trees that take up the bulk of this open world.
However, once you’re slowly introduced to all the alien transformations, you care less about the map visual details and enjoy all the fun ways to traverse through it. The developers fill the map with ramps, climbing blocks and platforms that you can take advantage of with a specific alien transformation in your arsenal. While cultural detail isn’t a staple point of the environment, the verticality sure is! With high rise buildings that become platforms for you to hop across and glide down mountain tops with the power of summoning crystal waves!
You’ll face off against ground enemies and bosses using a range of light & heavy attacks while evading and executing abilities. You also can pull off combo moves which is another sweet touch to the varied gameplay.
Styles of Play:
While this game should be called Ben 6 for missing the other 4 transformations from the show, you can’t complain with what’s on the menu. Take a look for yourself:
- XLR8 – This lean, ‘half-insect-half-man’ looking alien can move super-fast, making him the best transformation to cover large areas of the map within the shortest time. XLR8 can also drop bombs as he moves—gliding past waves of enemies in a bombing run or running circles around enemies and bosses in combat.
- Heatblast – With a body woven in red rocks & magma and a head doused in flames. This intimidating alien is the first transformation you will use. He can double jump, light fires and burn obstacles—making Heatblast perfect for hopping between platforms and clearing blockades in the way.
- Four Arms – Whilst being formidably strong and large in stature, this alien’s powerful four arms are best used for dragging objects and smashing walls to complete puzzles or uncover hidden treasure & collectables!
- Diamondhead – This crystal-crusted alien that can be mistaken as an iceman at first glance, has the most fun abilities. To make your way down from a high building or mountain, you can surf through the air by spawning your own crystal waves beneath your feet. Spawning crystals in combat can lift enemies into the air or create a shield to block their advance and send their projectiles ricocheting back at them!
- Shockrock – With a body of blue energy, shoulder armour with spikes and arms that can win in any arm-wrestling competition; Shockrock delivers satisfyingly heavy attacks in combat and the added versatility to electric shock, grapple or stun attack opponents. Despite being a formidable warrior, Shockrock can charge up electrical points in a game to unlock puzzles.
- Rath – An alien that more-or-less looks like Tony the Tiger from that Kellogg’s cereal. But with much larger muscles, Rath is the strongest character on the list. Wielding a powerful roar as a strength boost and possessing the acrobatic skill to scales walls and jump over obstacles!
Courtesy of Ben 10: Power Trip on Steam
Overall, this style of game provides a fitting formula for Ben 10. It’s solidly built to roam around and use fun mechanics without running into bugs. You can even play co-op where the other player controls Kevin Levin that also has access to all transformations that are the same as Ben’s, just different physical appearance variations and names.
One annoyance about co-op is that Kevin Levin does not have the power to start missions and if he drifts too far away from Ben, you will be teleported back to him.
Although, do not expect the same par of storytelling as in the animated series, it’s more about knowing what it feels like controlling Ben 10 freely in an open-world format.
- Variety of fun ways to roam around the map
- Mix of transformations makes for diverse gameplay
- Game performs smoothly with a vibrant art style
- Authentic 3D representation of the animated series
- Satisfying progression
- The games overall difficulty is too easy and needs to be more challenging
- Feels like a last-gen game
- Poor lip-syncing
- Lacklustre story