Bore ’em up.
I love a good beat ‘em up. Nowadays these games are rare due to their simplistic nature. So when I heard Cartoon Network had one coming, featuring some of their iconic characters, I was all-in. Sadly, after spending a handful of hours drudging through this boring adventure I realized there is certainly more to this simplistic genre than I had once thought.
On the surface this game sounds like a homerun. The visuals are a colorful treat, and the characters are almost all recognizable. Finn from Adventure Time joins forces with Mordecai from Regular Show and Uncle Grandpa and Gumball. It is a veritable all-star cast from the network. The plot is that the characters have all been cobbled together due to some interdimensional travel, setting it up like an episode of one of the shows.
Platforms: XB1 (reviewed), PS4, 3DS
Price I’d Pay: $4.99
The visuals really pop. The game looks great and features trademark actions and characters from the shows. Sadly this is where the fun ends, and the boredom begins. Characters are slowly unlocked and added to the roster, and when playing solo I could swap between them with the press of a button. Each character has special moves that can help out, but Finn’s hammer is by far the best and most effective weapon in the game, so I stuck with him through the majority of it.
These types of games are known for repetition, but the design behind Battle Crashers takes the cake. Each area consists of two levels and a boss fight, but the game forces players to revisit those levels before even being able to take on the boss, let alone move to the next area. This is bad design, and the worst example of padding out the length of a game.
Repetition could be overlooked, as could the poor design, if the game was just any amount of fun to play. Enemies are boring. There are status effects that are just there to force switching characters. The progression system is lame, and nothing about the game is enjoyable for more than 20 minutes at a time. Even multiplayer feels like I am forcing my friends to suffer alongside me.
I really wish there was something redeeming in Battle Crashers outside of the visuals. The game really does look great, and the fan service is certainly there, but the tedium of finishing a level is just deflating. I love the genre, and the license lends itself well to this type of game, but the developers somehow made this devoid of any joy to play.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.