Cartoon Network: Punch Time Explosion sees well-known characters from the TV channel link up to save their universes in Story mode or duke it out in Battle mode.
- Story mode and Battle mode
- Play your favourite Cartoon Network characters
- Excellent multiplayer combat
- Price: £25
Cartoon Network: Punch Time Explosion - Overview
Some of the greatest characters from TV shows on the Cartoon Network join forces to save their worlds. Unless you are playing in Battle mode, where they come together to smash seven bells out of each other instead.
Characters include - and this is not a full list by any means - Ben 10's Ben Tennyson; Blossom, Bubbles, Buttercup and Mojo Jojo from The Powerpuff Girls; Chowder and Kimchi from Chowder; Dexter from Dexter's Laboratory; Samurai Jack and the Scotsman from Samurai Jack; and Captain Planet from Captain Planet and the Planeteers.
The game starts with the regular Cartoon Network TV announcer settling down to watch some of his favourite programmes. As the channels flip the worlds start to merge together and Ben Tennyson finds himself transported into Marzipan City, where the show Chowder takes place.
After defeating an evil, controlled version of Chowder the pair join forces and are beamed into a new world where the process repeats and they continue to recruit other characters.
The Cartoon Network announcer narrates the action as it goes along and adds the kind of fun, off-the-wall speech fans of the television station expect. Shame the full dialogue for the characters hasn't been recorded and some of it only appears as text onscreen.
Cartoon Network: Punch Time Explosion - Story Mode Gameplay
Those familiar with Super Smash Bros., where popular Nintendo characters are bundled together into a single game, will recognise the concept here. The 2D platforming game is, technically, a simple affair. In practice, it is harder than you might expect.
Players wander along screens taking out the enemies in their way, jumping gaps and using moving platforms or vehicles to progress. When enemies are hit they drop glowing orbs and when enough of these have been collected a special Punch Time Explosion level fills up and a more powerful attack can be unleashed.
Given the subject matter, there is a good chance young children will fancy playing their favourite Cartoon Network character. However, those players may struggle to progress in Story mode.
As well as two attack buttons, the 'Block' buttons on the back of the console bring up shields to deflect enemy attacks. Try explaining (as we tried to do) to a six-year-old Ben 10 fan that he has to use this feature or continually die and your words may fall on deaf ears.
That is not helped by the fact that the special move attack button does not always lead to the same kind of attack each time it is pressed. So you may want Chowder to bash the enemy using his friend Kimchi, but when you press the button he does his swallow attack instead and the enemy hits you.
The save points have also been set very far into some levels and you can find yourself shoved back to the very beginning even if you feel you have progressed a long way. Both of those issues make Cartoon Network: Punch Time Explosion one to avoid for the casual gamer.
Cartoon Network: Punch Time Explosion - Battle Mode Gameplay
Thankfully, that is not a problem in Battle mode where even younger players can happily bounce around the screen using special moves to take lumps out of their friends or computer opponents.
Battle mode allows up to four players - either human or controlled by the Nintendo console - to fight in different 2D arenas. Button mashing will carry them a long way in these frantic battles, as those two controls really do handle all the attacks.
Players can use various items that appear randomly during combat to get an advantage or open boxes to release a character who will fight alongside them. Linking up with other Nintendo 3DS users over Wi-Fi creates the best smackdown experience, although the computer is a tough opponent on the higher settings.
Cartoon Network: Punch Time Explosion - Verdict
Seasoned gamers will not be too worried about the issues raised above but parents may find their kids wandering away from the single-player game much sooner than they expected.
However, engaging multiplayer combat saves Cartoon Network: Punch Time Explosion from being one to miss, especially if friends own the same game for competitive play over Wi-Fi.
- Overall: 6/10