I’m not really sure what it was that made me want to talk about Ben 10: Power Trip. I’m a big fan of Cartoon Network, but the time of me paying attention to Ben 10 passed after the second or third continuity reboot and even then I never liked it as much as other cartoons on the channel. Still, after the surprisingly-excellent Samurai Jack game, my renewed faith for licensed titles and love of the first-ever Ben 10 game made me curious enough to check Power Trip out.
After finishing it, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m about as ambivalent towards Ben 10: Power Trip as I think it’s possible to be with a game. In a very rare instance for myself, I’ve got almost nothing majorly good or bad to say, and I think that probably speaks to the quality of the game as a whole.
Before critiquing Power Trip too hard, it’s important to remember that this is a game aimed at kids, which can make it a little hard for a (mostly) grown adult to talk about. Ben 10: Power Trip is probably one of the most simplistic kids games I’ve played, with pretty much no challenges to be found. There are no difficult combat encounters, challenging puzzles or anything otherwise engaging for anyone over the age of 10, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Just be aware of that if you were hoping for something akin to the LEGO games.
Ben 10: Power Trip features Ben, Gwen and Uncle Max on a vacation to Europe before being interrupted by Hex and four MacGuffins that lock the Omnitrix. Now Ben has to slowly regain his heroes, try and stop Hex’s plan and help out people across a big open-world European area. The story is as inconsequential as it sounds, but there’s admittedly a surprising amount of decent humour that made talking to the random people a little bit more interesting.
Speaking as someone who used to watch the show, the Ben Tennyson here has certainly changed a bit. He’s a lot more pun-happy and generally a lot kinder, but he has a problem of not being able to shut up across the whole game. The humour on show here is definitely representative of a different era of Cartoon Network, and it’s one I’m not fully on board with. Also, what’s with Ben only having eight aliens? It’s literally in the name!
When I said earlier that I have almost nothing good or bad to say about the game, I wasn’t being vague. There is one thing here that stands out to me and unfortunately, it’s a negative – the presentation and performance. Ben 10: Power Trip does not run well on the Nintendo Switch. Textures are incredibly basic and struggle to load, models look like they’ve been ripped from a Wii game and the whole thing chugs no matter what you’re doing in the game. Everything is still technically playable, but whether or not you’re going to want to sit through the PS1-esque Silent Hill fog is another matter.
Unfortunately, the sound is another part of the presentation that falters. Beyond the boring soundtrack and sound effects, Ben has a problem of never shutting up. Every alien transformation has different quips that they repeat endlessly and it got to the point where I had to mute the TV and play some music over it. Once again, I get that this is for kids and they probably want to hear their heroes but my god does it get old fast.
Although it’s a fairly standard open-world third-person brawler, playing Ben 10: Power Trip is stronger than how it looks. That’s not saying too much but I actually did enjoy a fair amount of the adventure here. You control Ben as he moves from area to area, solving problems for the townspeople and beating up some basic enemies. The missions are incredibly basic fetch quests and enemy encounters, but the world is interesting enough to move around in and having an open-world Ben 10 game is actually a pretty cool prospect even for the most jaded of cartoon fans.
The most interesting thing here is the ability to turn into eight of Ben’s aliens. Each of them has different properties, such as being Heatblast being able to burn things and Four-Arms being able to smash through blocks. All of them are used for very basic objectives but it can be fun to discover what they can each do and use their abilities to collect stuff on the map. By far the most fun I had with Ben 10: Power Trip was using XLR8 to run around the map. Sadly the Switch’s performance problems make this a bit buggy, but it was still a surprising amount of fun to tick off the basic objectives and go from area to area.
Beyond exploring, the other thing you’ll be doing in Power Trip is fighting. Combat is a two-button affair but feels crunchy enough to have a little bit of fun with. There’s enough variety between the aliens and their combat abilities that it was actually pretty fun discovering them and finding out what they could each do.
Even though the main quest lasts about four hours, the open-world side of Ben 10: Power Trip is actually pretty full of side quests and things to collect. It’s the same basic content as the main game like fetch quests, but there’s at least a good amount of it, and it’s a good introduction to open-world elements. Ben even has a progression system that allows him to slowly level up. Combine this with a cooperative mode and there’s actually quite a lot of content on offer here. Your mileage will definitely depend on your age, but there’s at least some meat on the bone here.
Although Ben 10: Power Trip doesn’t have a lot to offer for anyone over the age of 10, it’s a perfectly fine game for kids. It’s biggest issues are how poorly it performs on Switch but for many kids, that’s probably not going to be a big problem and all they’re going to want is to be able to play as Ben 10 and his aliens and Power Trip certainly allows that.
Version Tested: Nintendo Switch
Review copy provided by Outright Games