Developed by Vicious Cycle Software and based on the American animated children’s television show, Ben 10: Omniverse revolves around main character Ben Tennyson, who has a tool called the Omnitrix which allows him to transform into different alien creatures. Alongside him every step of the way is his team-mate Rook, who has an upgradeable tool that allows him to create different weapons based on what he needs for each situation.
The menu screen is set out as the main training science lab which allows you to move back and forth on a 2D plane giving you access to the options. This is the first sign that the game offers little replay value because, aside from the main campaign, there are no extra game modes. The campaign too is extremely linear so unless you happen to be a huge fan of the T.V. show it’s unlikely you’ll want to replay the main story.
Luckily then, the story is quite entertaining and starts off with Ben trying to use his Omnitrix more effectively when he inadvertently causes Malware, the main villain in the game, to absorb the device. Consequently, this causes a chain of events which sees you fighting through time as a young and old Ben as they seek to defeat Malware and fix the past and present.
Ben 10: Omniverse is an action brawler so gameplay revolves largely around combat, though there are some light puzzle-solving elements too. Combat flows very smoothly allowing you to switch between various alien forms to take advantage of their unique skills, such as the ability to climb walls with four arms. There are 16 aliens in total and you can map up to four on your d-pad and then switch between them intuitively.
Though you’ll soon find your favourite playable alien forms – and probably stick with them wherever possible – there’s a decent amount of variety with the likes of Cannonbolt, who can transform into a sphere and Wild Mutt who has enhanced hearing and smelling abilities that allow him to track people easily. As well as using their abilities to fight, the levels also require you to switch between characters to solve some entertaining puzzles.
Combat is fast-paced and exciting. Though the combo system starts off very basic as you level-up your alien forms learn new moves and experience points are shared between Ben and Rook so you can use points across both characters to earn upgrades. With so many playable alien forms on offer there’s plenty of variety and familiar faces, and the art style should appeal to fans of the show with many locations, such as the subterranean alien city of Undertown providing decent backdrops to the action.
There are bosses battle too which are fairly varied. As well as having to work out the most effective way to defeat them, well-placed QTE sequences add a nice touch as you crush to death characters from the show, such as Psyphon and Dr. Animo. Generally though, enemies throughout the game aren’t very versatile so you’ll be killing the same fat, skinny men, or spiders right up until the end of the game. As you progress some of them do gain different powers, but generally the enemies are fairly generic right up until the end of the game.
Co-op is the main focus of Ben 10: Omiverse and Rook is always by your side. If you don’t happen to have a friend willing to join you, this is really where things start to fall apart. There is no online component so unless you have an offline team-mate by your side you’ll have to make do with some questionable A.I. When controlled by the A.I., Rook can be incredibly frustrating because he’ll die by not reacting fast enough or defending himself properly, or can even get stuck off camera. There’s no penalty for Rook dying, but his lack of actual help can be frustrating. Consequently, the game is best played with a real partner and drop-in and out co-op support does well to support this allowing a friend to join the game at any time.
During the campaign, the camera work can be frustrating as it will zoom too far out and make the characters look like ants. Also, because the camera is mostly static, it can be annoying when making jumps, and on numerous occasions we found ourselves accidentally jumping into a pit or some lava. Thankfully the game has multiple well-placed checkpoints, which means if you do die you never have to go back too far to try again.
The main campaign is pretty short, only lasting approximately six hours with 11 levels in total. Once you complete the game however, you do get access to new game plus, which expands the main game a little bit. However, because of how linear the levels are and how easy the secret items are to find, there’s not much replay value unless you’re a huge fan of the show. Nevertheless, even with some of its faults, Ben 10: Omiverse is still a very good hack and slash game with a great soundtrack that fits the action well, and kids should enjoy playing as their favourite characters from the much-loved T.V series.