What is Cartoon Network: Battle Crashers?
Cartoon Network: Battle Crashers is a 2D, side-scrolling action game that brings all your favourite Cartoon Network characters together into one big co-op adventure. Letting you play as Finn and Jake from Adventure Time, the Regular Show's Rigby and Mordecai, Steven Universe, Uncle Grandpa, Clarence, and Gumball, if you have a favourite Cartoon Network character, the chances are you'll find them in here.
How do you play Cartoon Network: Battle Crashers?
With 18 levels split across six Cartoon Network themed worlds, each stage revolves around a similar idea. All you really have to do is get yourself from one end of the level to the other, taking out the enemies that stand in your way. Up to four people can play together on the same console (bar on 3DS, where it's single player only), and with hordes of enemies attacking in groups, you'll have to work together if you want to survive.
Each character has their own unique play style, with a specific set of strengths and weaknesses. Some work best up close, some from a distance. Some can easily take out airborne foes, while others can only hit those on the ground. This being a Cartoon Network game, each character also has a totally bonkers set of moves. By default, Adventure Time's Finn uses his loyal transforming dog Jake as a mallet, whacking anyone that comes nearby; Uncle Grandpa can detach his head, and use it as a makeshift stick of dynamite, while Mordecai and Rigby fight off enemies by either firing lightning bolts at them, or playing power chords on their guitar.
How easy is Cartoon Network: Battle Crashers to pick up and play?
In terms of accessibility, Cartoon Network: Battle Crashers is easy to get into, but tricky to master. With controls that are intended to be pick up and play, there's no complex combos to remember here (you have three attack buttons, each of which does a different attack), while the game's easy to understand concept means even novice players will have no trouble figuring out what they're doing here. Instead, it's the fact your characters aren't as strong as you might imagine that provides the game's challenge, with each character you've unlocked effectively working as a single life - once that character gets defeated, they'll stay defeated until the end of the level.
If you're playing on your own, this basically means you'll only get as many "lives" as you have characters unlocked - up to a maximum of six, once you've unlocked them all. You can switch between characters at any time by pressing the shoulder buttons - but once they're gone, they're gone.
If you're playing in co-op, the same rules apply - you can switch between characters at any time, but each character gets just the one life. In practice, this means the first two people to pop their clogs will be able to take over a second character and keep playing - but if anyone snuffs it from thereon in, they'll have to wait until you get to the end of the level. Run out of lives, and you'll get a game over, which will leave you having to restart the level from the very beginning.
That being said, most levels don't provide an insurmountable challenge, and by replaying levels, and beating more enemies, your characters will gain experience, level up, and grow stronger, sometimes even unlocking new moves. It's the boss fights that will provide most of the challenge here, as not only do they do a lot of damage to you, but some have been designed so that certain characters can exploit their weaknesses - and keeping the right characters alive for long enough to take advantage can be a bit of a challenge.
For the youngest of players, a reading ability is also a requirement here, as the game will occasionally have you talk to characters, who'll tell you where you need to go next, or how to get past a certain obstacle. Sample sentences include:
- Hold out against the monsters until the bell rings, and they will all run away to class!
- Those mirrors over there are electrified. If you touch them, you'll be stunned! Be careful!
- If you attack too many times in a row, you'll fill up the noise meter, and then the librarian will freeze you in place with an intimidating shush!
As a game based on characters from popular Cartoon Network shows, there's very little for parents to be concerned about here. With nothing in the way of swearing or sex, perhaps the only thing of note is some minor cartoon violence, where the game's characters will whack at enemies with a variety of weapons (a parking meter, and a dog transformed into a mallet amongst others). Enemies show nothing in the way of realistic impacts, and simply flash when hit, before disappearing when defeated.
Format Reviewed: Nintendo 3DS