Cartoon Network Punch Time Explosion (Hands-On)
In a hotel suite some blocks from GDC central a fierce battle was fought. For glory, for power-ups, for the right to say that Dexter pwns Samurai Jack. Made from scratch for the 3DS, Cartoon Network Punch Time Explosion pulls 18 characters from 11 Cartoon Network shows to do battle across 32 levels and 21 arenas - explosively. If you've ever dreamed of having Bubbles smack up Chowder and Kimchi, this is the game for you.
Cartoon Network Punch Time Explosion does not lie - it is both Cartoon Network and a Punch Time Explosion. Fighting fan, Cartoon Network fan, budding young gamer or battle-hardened handheld lover, Punch Time Explosion is likely going to win your heart. With strong Super Smash Bros. influences CNPTE is a beat-'em-up in which you pummel the opposition until you can punch them right of the edge of the stage.
You can choose from a crew of support characters (that means the total cast tops out at over 50 characters) that will lend you aid in battle as well as snag power-ups like bombs and weapons. Each character has four outfits as well as a "super attack" with accompanying cut scene, and George Lowe, of Space Ghost fame, announces each character.
The story campaign (Story Mode), estimated at 6-7 hours, is an original story produced with Cartoon Network. A side-scrolling beat-'em-up, the fighting is sprinkled with bits of puzzles and signature moves that require drawing on the screen as well as the DS line's number one public shaming tool: blowing into the microphone. Story Mode allows you to party up with four characters that can be swapped during the action. The levels and characters look good, and watching the story mode action in 3D was fun replete with some in-your-face cannonballs.
The multiplayer Battle Mode features multiplayer wi-fi as well as local online with game sharing support. For those unfamiliar with the latter option, that means that with just one copy of the game you can play with friends locally. I got hands-on with the battles and it really is addictive handheld fun. If you imagined Super Smash Bros. with Cartoon Network Characters you would not be disappointed. It's a great game with a lively cast, and plenty of gameplay options. Damage is measured in percentage, it's possible to save yourself from peril with triple jumps, and Cartoon Network environments are perfect settings. I admit, I'm a little old (and lacking in kids) to recognize some of the characters, but I found a friend in Bubbles. There are 21 battle arenas for the multiplayer, and insufficient time to learn all the character moves.
Whether you like Super Smash Bros. or Cartoon Network, you'll find something to love in Punch Time Explosion. Shipping May of 2011, CNPTE will set you back $39.99 developed by Papaya Studios and published by Crave Games. (and keep an eye out, the game is rumored for Kinect and Move)