My children are fans of the current crop of Cartoon Network original programming. My oldest daughter in particular has gravitated more towards these shows as she gets older and is less interested in what cartoons are on Disney Channel. On the other hand, I personally find that the quality of these shows ranges from ‘fairly watchable‘ to ‘it’s almost worth destroying my television just so that I never have to watch this again‘. So the idea of playing a video game filled with these characters wasn’t exactly thrilling to me, but the girls were excited so we loaded it up and gave it a shot.
Cartoon Network: Battle Crashers is a 2D side-scrolling beat ’em up in much the same style as the arcade classics I used to play like The Simpsons or X-Men and features characters from Adventure Time, Steven Universe, Clarence, Regular Show, Uncle Grandpa & The Amazing World of Gumball. The concept is straight forward, walk from left to right and smash anything you see, from waves of enemies to breakable objects that drop health and power-ups. It’s the usual brawler template. Story wise there’s not a heck of a lot going on, all you need to know is that for some reason all of the separate worlds of Cartoon Network have been brought together and now you have to fight stuff. The end.
Visually the game is pretty impressive, the graphics are bright and colorful, and the characters look exactly the way that they do on television. The backgrounds also look nice, but are fairly boring and tend to be pretty repetitive through the course of the level. Another thing that struck me as odd about the game is that there are no voice samples of the characters so they’re completely silent the whole time, although I do have to say that I appreciated this, I don’t know how long I would have lasted if I had to listen to Uncle Grandpa or Steven Universe speak the whole time.
When we first sat down to play, Chloe (8) was hesitant because she gets very anxious with games that have combat, so I started playing co-op with my younger daughter Sam (5). She quickly grasped the simple controls and started destroying everything in sight. She laughed as she punched and kicked her way through the level, but it became quickly apparent that she was getting more joy out of smashing the items in the environment and I was going to have to carry the team and take care of the enemies.
Battle Crashers doesn’t offer a whole lot in the way of variety as far as the gameplay is concerned, but you do gain the ability to unlock additional attacks for your characters which is nice. You can also collect walkie talkies which unleash massive attacks to take out all of the enemies on screen. While the game might be overly simple for someone like myself, I think it’s a benefit for younger gamers who may not be able to manage more complex mechanics.
After seeing how much fun her sister was having, Chloe decided she was ready to jump in, so she took the controller and we tackled level 2. Having a little more gaming experience than her younger sibling she knew more of what to do. She took on the enemies, snatched up power-ups, and the two of us made short work of the level. Like her sister, she laughed and yelled at the television, enjoying every second of the mayhem. It was apparent that playing as these characters was a much bigger draw for the kids than it was for me.
After the 2nd level was finished I was more than happy to pass the controller and let the two of them play together. They did pretty well as a team, and thanks to a feature that let’s you switch back and forth between characters at any time during the game, there wasn’t much fighting over who got to be which character. Of course, being sisters, they did bicker and fight when one of them would do something or go somewhere that the other one didn’t want to. But that doesn’t have anything to do with the game, that’s just literally every single day in our house.
After going through the first several levels, I’m a bit of two minds about the game. I feel like Cartoon Network: Battle Crashers is a fairly competent brawler which will definitely appeal to younger kids and fans of those shows. Parents on the other hand might have a tough time staying entertained (or awake) through it.
Dad “A fairly dull and repetitive brawler that didn’t offer a heck of a lot for myself to enjoy, on the other hand, the simplicity and characters appealed to the kids.”
Chloe “It’s pretty good. But the Steven Universe part is pretty tricky. It’s really fun to play with family.”
Sam ” The fire is really tricky to get around of. I just die and I can’t play, so….”
Cartoon Network: Battle Crashers is available now on the Playstation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo 3DS. GameMill provided us with a copy of the game for this feature but we were not compensated in any other way.