It has been a while since I have thought much about a licensed game being taboo. With heavy-hitters like Spider-Man and the Arkham franchise, expectations in terms of quality has changed for the better, leaving us to want more of our favorite characters to dip their toe into the industry. Ben 10 has been submerged for years, and while some of those titles were playable, none have truly stood out to give him a proper adaptation. Does Ben 10: Power Trip give us reason to join him this time around, or is it yet another title from the franchise that will be spokesperson of a bargain bin. Let’s find out.
Our story of Ben 10 takes us into what feels like the current version of the cartoon, with Ben and his family enjoying a vacation across Europe. In true form, a magician dubbed Hex appears and unleashes the power of four crystals, stripping Ben of his alien abilities. With the help of a few old and new friends, Ben sets out to conquer the villain and save the world yet again.
Yep, it is about as camp as it sounds, but there was effort put into this narrative and it works just well enough to be a bit memorable overall. The little quirky humor of this series and the general world feel fun to explore through interaction, which makes progression rather easy and entertaining. Could there be more depth, sure. That said, this is Ben 10, and for what is here, this is probably the strongest tale told for this particular namesake via a video game.
This is a bit complicated to speak of as I like so much about the gameplay, yet there is still so much to improve. Power Trip is an open world adventure game of sorts, and honestly feels a lot like the early adventure titles like Spyro and Gex that came out years ago. Little characters basically send you on fetch quests for this or that, enemies pop up on the way, and you finish whatever small goal is put in front of you to progress. It is easy, but maybe a tad too easy as even though this map is a lot bigger than I expected, it still feels like there is something missing to make the world tie together and feel fully involved and fully realized.
Ben’s alien powers feel great most of the time as he is able to freely change between one of what will be eventually ten aliens, and take their powers on through his incredible gadgetry. Some techniques allow Ben to mainly remove obstacles or clear targets quickly, while other abilities like his own scooter just get him from point A to B without much hassle. These transitions are smooth enough and are rather seamless, though the abrupt changes to said aliens when an enemy comes on the screen feels a bit artificial and clunky through execution. The combat isn’t bad either, but is rather basic and no matter which alien I would choose, it was hard to feel satisfied defeating foes.
As for options, one of the best may be the split-screen co-op, which allows for a second player to become Kevin 11, who is Ben’s ally and rival. It’s a fun addition that was pleasant to see, and those with kids will love the old co-op modes from the past to tie in here. I do think there could have been a bit more put into this as well, but when you play Power Trip you will realize that it is certainly not lacking compared to most licensed fare, and is actually one of the better built titles from adapting something form Cartoon Network to hit a console overall. There really is care shown here, and I wouldn’t mind seeing this continue to improve.
Visuals & Audio
I do love a colorful game, and the palette in Ben 10: Power Trip is pleasing on the eyes. It is a shame there isn’t a lot of detail in the environments, but older players like myself will at least feel a bit nostalgic for when our textures and environments were a little more basic. Animations in the game are mostly fine, but I do with there was more movement overall in the backgrounds, and combat animations are just plain dull when it comes to the attacks and other fighting far.
The sound is a bit of a mixed bag. The “soundtrack” is a bit average and forgettable, and while I didn’t expect art, I did think a popular cartoon could still lay down some decent tunes but that was just not the case for Power Trip. The voice acting on the other hand is excellent, adding a ton of personality and life into the experience, I just wish we could have had more as most dialogue sequences are simple text with a grunt or two. That may be fine is other large games that are doing a lot, but with visuals that are a bit light and less detailed, we could have seen more makeup here on that exclusion.
Ben 10: Power Trip is honestly a fun, innocent game that shows the developers at least cared enough to create something special. There are plenty of places it could be better, but for what it does right, I am sure it is going to please fans who already feel involved in the Universe as it is definitely true to its own material. Fan or not, there is nothing wrong with jumping into this Ben 10 adventure, as it is easily the largest and most realized experience to date for Cartoon Network’s long time namesake.