I must confess that prior to playing this game I had very little grasp of what Ben 10 was all about, my children having largely ignored the franchise as have their friends. For the uninitiated, the basic premise is that the titular Ben has a device known as the Omnitrix which enables him to transform into various puntastically named aliens in order to fight crime, other aliens and the perils of growing up.
Thankfully having any grasp of the history of the show or familiarity with its concept is unnecessary to play this game as it’s one of the worst uses of a licensed property I have ever seen. Rather than a platform game, child friendly RPG or even some kind of side-scrolling brawler it would appear that somebody somewhere decided the best use of the Ben 10 license would be in a Temple Run clone.
The plot, for there is one; and apparently it’s quite the exciting draw, takes the form of a lost episode of Ben 10: Omniverse, wherein you have to stop an alien incursion by the cunningly named Incurseans. Don’t get excited though, the plot isn’t exactly full of twists and turns; it is instead rather neutered to fit in with the game style and consists of little more than “Run over there and press a button”. Perhaps the highlight of the narrative for me is the fact Ben is given his missions, along a degree of sarcastic encouragement, by some little insect bloke voiced by Odo from Deep Space 9. If you pretend in your head that it IS Odo and this is some weird lost episode of Deep Space 9 where Odo has to train a teenage shapeshifter how to run down corridors the entire game becomes marginally improved.
As this is a title aimed primarily at kids, you’d expect a Temple Run style game to be a reasonably good idea; unfortunately the game designers seems to have borrowed from the Disney Japan playbook and decided that the difficulty and fun level of Winnie The Pooh’s Home Run Derby is the way all kids’ games should be done. The game is excruciatingly difficult – rather than just needing to move left and right to deal with incoming obstacles, you also need to use the Omnitrix to shape shift into different alien forms in order to negate certain obstacles; a small nimble alien will jump gaps while the largest of the aliens can smash straight through walls. Perhaps if implemented properly this mechanic would’ve worked rather well, if not perhaps making a child’s game slightly over complex. Sadly however the levels were either designed by someone who hates humans, or by someone who themselves has an Omnitrix and currently possesses four arms. You see, both the left analogue stick and the left dpad need to be frequently used – one changes direction and one changes form. Even with my hands, which I’m assured are larger than those of a child, it’s almost impossible to contort in such a way as to actually move my alien and change form to the degree the game requires.
After what seems like months of running down a corridor, you might be lucky enough to enter a room. Once you’re in a room the game becomes a terrible arena fighting game wherein brain dead enemies stand still and shoot at you while you punch them in the face. After punching more enemies in the face than you’d ever care to, a door opens and you’re rewarded with running down some more corridors. These arena fighting sections are also what passes itself off as the game’s 2 player mode. Sadly(!) I couldn’t find anyone else who hated themselves enough to give these modes a try with me,and based on how tedious they are in the single player mode I can’t imagine they’re a hidden gem.
I could write loads here, about the horrific art and Plasticine style characters, the dreadfully implemented energy system or perhaps even the dreadful one liners the characters constantly spout, but as there is honestly no reason to recommend this game, there’s little reason for me to attempt to continue to illustrate how dire it is. If your children enjoy Ben 10, take the insane asking price of this title and spend that amount on toys, DVDs or pretty much anything. If you happen to absolutely love temple run style games, simply go play temple run. Titles like this exist just to give evil parents a way to punish their children and program them into not wanting to play games as they’re clearly all dreadful and absolutely no fun. The only fun part of this entire escapade was debating whether to use the joke Ben Tenple Run, or Ben 1 out of 10 in the article subheading.
MLG Rating: 1/10 Format: PlayStation 3 / Xbox 360 / Wii U Release Date: 22/11/13
Disclosure: Midlife Gamer were provided a copy of Ben 10: Omniverse 2 for review purposes. The title was reviewed over the course of 9 days on the Xbox 360. For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.