The lights are on
What new ideas the game brings to the table and how well old ideas are presented.
How good a game looks, taking into account any flaws such as bad collision or pop-up.
Does the game’s music and sound effects get you involved or do they make you resolve to always play with the volume down?
Basically, the controller to human interface. The less you think about the hunk of plastic in your hands, the better the playability.
Flat out, just how fun the game is to play. The most important factor in rating a game.
The concept behind Punch Time Explosion is a clever one: assemble a
group of iconic Cartoon Network characters, cram them into a Super Smash
Bros. clone, release it on Nintendo’s hot new kid-friendly handheld,
and rake in the cash. However, only two kinds of people are likely
attracted to this formula – those who have never played a party fighter,
and fans so entrenched in the Cartoon Network that their brains break
thinking about Dexter vs. Samurai Jack. Everyone else will likely tune
out before you can say, “Don’t touch that dial.”
Swim Cartoon Network star you’d expect is here, from Dexter to Ben
Tennyson. Instances like the gluttonous Chowder mistaking a Powerpuff
Girl for something delicious-sounding are entertaining, but even fans of
the animated shows may find the dry story lacking. If you’re playing a
fighting game for the story, however, you’re doing it wrong.
who has played a hectic brawler will likely be disappointed the moment
they throw their first punch. Movement is slow and unresponsive,
resulting in sloppy brawls with players accidentally rolling off cliffs
and facing the wrong direction. As in Smash Bros., players have a
percentage that builds as they take damage, increasing the odds of
getting knocked off screen. Sometimes I was sent careening off the stage
despite my low percentage, leading to repeated frustration. Even worse,
when playing multiplayer you can only view the damage of the enemy
you’re presently fighting, and in single-player you can only see your
The single-player campaign spans across every
iconic world and incorporates each character. Traditional bouts are
mixed in with platforming sections that stretch the game’s imprecise
physics to their limits. I faced off against tired clichés such as
rolling barrels, crumbling bridges, and flaming boulders that
materialized out of thin air (an annoying bug). You must complete this
mode to unlock the game’s best characters – such as Captain Planet and
Dexter’s dad – for use in the barebones multiplayer, but that’s hardly
worth the trouble.
Punch Time Explosion had a good opportunity to
impress 3DS owners hungering for a worthwhile experience following the
handheld’s weak launch lineup, but it simply falls in line with the
other disappointments. Cartoon junkies may love seeing their heroes in
action, but those used to Smash Bros. polish will want to pass on this
Email the author Tim Turi, or follow on Twitter, and Game Informer.