The Ben 10 franchise had a turbulent time in videogames. Taking the rough with the smooth, Mr. Tennyson has at least provided some enjoyable – if entirely forgettable – formulaic genre experiences. At his worst he’s seen some ghastly design not fit for any gamer, be they youngsters or not. Along with reboot of the animated series in 2012 we found ourselves with Ben 10 Omniverse. A game which graced a grand variety of platforms, it offered players the chance to experience new and old in a similar fashion to Sonic Generations. And if Namco Bandai could match even one ounce of SEGA’s ingenuity this would surely be Ben’s finest interactive hour.

The first thing that strikes you about Ben 10 Omniverse is the quality of the visual design. While previous Ben 10 videogames have been decidedly lacklustre in their attempts to recreate the atmosphere of the cartoon series, Ben 10 Omniverse manages to elegantly bring to life the new look in 3D. It is genuinely rather shocking how close the videogame comes to the associated artwork. Children’s titles often rest on their laurels. Knowing that they’ll have an audience ready and waiting, regardless of their quality. Ben 10 Omniverse however, has clearly had some effort and attention given to capturing the spirit of the hugely successful franchise.

Ben 10 Omniverse screenshot

Ben 10 Omniverse Brings the Fight

In essence, Ben 10 Omniverse is a scrolling beat-‘em-up akin to Streets of Rage or Final Fight. It’s a two-player co-operative God of War that’s appropriate for children. In that regard you might think that it’s another of those titles which is designed for a parent to play with their child in a similar fashion to Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two or It Takes Two. This is a design ideal that Chit Hot wholly encourages. Though, sadly in the case of Ben 10 Omniverse, there’s one vital ingredient missing: depth.

The combat system is clearly refined to accommodate the two different playable characters and all of their transformations. However, it simply doesn’t offer enough variety or player customisation to invite any real investment.

More importantly is the two-punch delay that knocks Ben 10 Omniverse off its own perch. It’s clearly a measure that has been put in to take into account the specials and branching combos that become available to the player as they progresses. However, it adds a stuttering to the combat that is noticeably uncomfortable. The enemy variety is well placed to counteract the many moves available. The environments – albeit occasionally bland – invite a degree of tactical play. And the many transformations available do add a commendable degree of variety. As such, it’s a wonder why the development team decided to sully this remarkably well presented gameplay with such an obvious and immediate disengagement.

Ben 10 Omniverse screenshot

Ben 10 for Two

As the videogame is designed for co-operative play the fact that it’s weaker as a solo experience is perhaps to be expected. The player switches between Ben and Rook, with a second player able to jump in at any point. This clearly demonstrates that the developer has understood their target audience.

While Ben 10 Omniverse doesn’t break the formulaic genre piece tradition, it does go against the grain by adding a worthwhile gameplay experience to the license. There are undoubtedly flaws in the design. Yet still, most fans of Ben Tennyson will be able to overlook these. Far easier than in any previous Ben 10 videogame, at least. It may not present the same tug-and-pull between style and grace that Sonic Generations offered, but nonetheless Ben 10 Omniverse is a reasonably enjoyable children’s title.

Categories: Games