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Ben 10: Omniverse review

Not the finest first outing on Wii U for young Mr Tennyson, sadly

Y ou might not realise it, but this is the seventh Ben 10 game since the little alien-morphing lad first became popular with our nation's youth. Ben 10: Omniverse is the first HD offering on a Nintendo platform, but other than a general sprucing up of background detail and a sharper image all round, this latest title still very much plays like a last-generation game.

As the titular Ben Tennyson, you can either try to defeat enemies in your standard child or teenage form, or use your Omnitrix to switch to one of Ben's alien forms, each packing its own moves, special powers and abilities. The energy in Ben's Omnitrix drops each time an alien uses an attack and when it runs out he's back to boring old human Ben until he can recharge it to maximum again.

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This may sound like there's some sort of strategy involved, but there's not really much to it beyond battering enemies as an alien until the gauge empties, running around bland levels as it fills up again and then switching back to the alien form to recommence said smackdown.

The different alien abilities get put to more creative use outside of combat. Wildvine can use its vines to swing, Cannonbolt can trigger heavy switches by rolling into a ball, Feedback can use its electrical abilities to add and remove power from switches and the like. It's obvious to experienced gamers which alien you should be using for each situation, but it may not be so apparent to younger Ben 10 fans, who might get a kick from deciding which is right for the job.

Ten Of The Worst

What will please them less is the lack of clear instructions during the game's early levels. We're not usually big fans of lengthy tutorials here at ONM, but we realise they're a necessary evil when a game's aimed primarily at young children who may not be used to gaming. Here though they're just evil, with pages of lengthy text filling the screen and several different commands being taught at once. It can be overwhelming, especially for young 'uns and any games critics who didn't eat their Ready Brek that morning.

You're also going to be disappointed if you were hoping to get Ben 10: Omniverse for its < ahref="http://www.officialnintendomagazine.co.uk/38578/wii-u-gamepad-is-the-official-name-for-the-controller/">Wii U GamePad features. During gameplay all the GamePad screen shows is a boring green background with nothing whatsoever on it. At any point during the game you can hold a D-Pad button to assign different aliens to your Omnitrix, but while this does appear on the GamePad, the action on the TV stops as you do it. It was clearly just a pause menu on the other format's versions. Simply swapping the game's single screen from TV to GamePad during menu selection isn't what Wii U is meant for and for that Ben 10: Omniverse wins the notoriety of being one of the laziest Wii U ports so far.

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While a case could be made that Ben 10 is aimed at younger gamers, its target audience is hardly impervious to disappointment and when the kid in question realises that the shiny Wii U GamePad in their hands can't be used for anything new, you'll wish you'd just bought them the Wii version.

Besides, a dull game with repetitive combat every 20 paces to artificially extend the lifespan is a slog, no matter how old you are.

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  1. KH81314 Tuesday 22nd Jan 2013 at 17:09

    Games like these only make money off of parents who don't understand and kids who like the show.

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