reviews\ Jul 3, 2011 at 8:00 pm

Cartoon Network Punch Time Explosion Review


Over the years, players have witnessed more and more characters from the video game world make their appearances in the fighting genre. With Smash Brothers and the recent popularity of the revamped Street Fighter series, players have been more excited than ever to see new additions to the fighting scene. For 3DS, a number of fighting titles have already been released, but the newest one, Cartoon Network Punch Time Explosion, might be the one that receives the most attention.

Cartoon Network Punch Time Explosion is definitely a unique title. It is somewhat similar to Smash Brothers, but without the instant charm that the Nintendo characters always seem to bring. However, Cartoon Network PTE does offer a great selection of Cartoon Network characters for fans old and new. Longtime fans of Cartoon Network will see some of their favorites, such as Samurai Jack, the Powerpuff girls, and Dexter fighting their way to victory. If you are newer to the Cartoon Network gang, a lot of your favorites are there, as well. Players will see the likes of Mac and Bloo, Ben 10 and Chowder fighting it out. In all, 18 playable characters are ready for carnage and mayhem against your favorite and possibly your most hated Cartoon Network characters. (I am MoJo JoJo.)

The gameplay is a little different from the normal formula for a fighter. Usually, story mode would involve challenging every character in the game. Unfortunately, Cartoon Network PTE went in a different direction, making the story mode a side-scrolling platformer/fighter. Your character performs the same moves as he would in battle mode except he moves from screen to screen fighting random enemies. The platformer side of this game is completely terrible, but it helps you unlock all the other characters. It didn't seem to have any thought put into it. It is extremely boring, and at times you can just jump over the enemies to avoid confrontation. So keep in mind, it is a necessary nuisance if you want to unlock all your favorites.

Moving on, let's go ahead and thank the developers for not making this entirely a platformer. The battle mode really saves the game, and it offers a few different options. It is set up (again, like Super Smash Brothers) where one player is able to fight up to three more players, with their own moves and special abilities. With the option VS. Friends, you can play against three local friends via Wi-Fi. But if you are without Cartoon Network–loving friends, you can also play VS. CPU, which pits you against one, two or three computer players.

Once you choose which character and opponents you want to step into the ring with, you are then taken to a level select screen to choose an arena. This is pretty amazing. It offers 21 “arenas,” all of which are set in different Cartoon Network television shows. For instance, if you choose Dexter’s Lab, you are put right in the middle of Dexter’s laboratory to cause a little chaos and destruction. Of course, as you know, players use their fighting skills to whoop the other characters. But, fortunately for us, you can use a number of items and watch your opponents explode in agony. Then, based on how much damage your character takes, his damage taken percentage increases, making him weaker and more likely to be defeated. It is definitely a Smash Brothers clone, but it isn’t as bad as you would think.

The other option PTE offers is Vault. Vault is an unnecessary, but at the same time, relatively cool feature to look at every now and again. By entering the vault, you can see your records or how long it took you to defeat the characters you have to fight throughout your story mode. You can also check your stats, which include KOs, falls, matches, wins, losses, and best win streak. You can also go back and watch the cutscenes from the story mode in case you want to reminisce about how random the story is or just hear how ridiculous the narrator sounds with every line in this game.

Unfortunately, Cartoon Network PTE is plagued by many downfalls, which might keep gamers from craving more Cartoon Network action. One extremely noticeable mistake is that playing the game in 3D doesn’t make much of a difference. It instantly blurs the characters even at the lowest mark on the 3D slider. Playing it in 2D, you can still enjoy the game, but deep down inside, players have a 3DS for a reason. They want to play 3D, and in this case, it doesn't look that much different.

Other downfalls include the moves for each character. Each move is basic and easy to accomplish. However, every move seems extremely weak compared to the damage your opponents are throwing at you. Even your more powerful special abilities and some characters' extreme, power up, extra special move doesn’t do that much damage. Players will find themselves picking and choosing over the few characters who do have an actual damage-dealing special move. Not only that, but the way you use your special move is a little out there. When attacking your opponents, players will see “ice cubes” pop onto the screen. Grabbing the ice cubes will power up your special move meter, but you need a lot of those to have that option. It just seemed monotonous and a little unnecessary obtaining the special move like that.

This game was, at the very least, ambitious. They brought Cartoon Network favorites, old and new, and pitted them against each other in an all-out battle. The lacking 3D effects and platformer story mode made this title a little awkward, and instead of being the next big rival to Smash Brothers and other amazing, unique fighters, it falls short and is just a game you may pick up as a Cartoon Network fan.

Above Average

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