Thundercats HOOO!!! Such a classic line that many remember and cherish from that amazing animated series a while back. You may or may not know that Thundercats has been rebooted and a whole new generation is getting to experience all the kitty fun. With the reboot, comes a brand new video game also most likely targeted at the same demographic as the new show.
Aspect has created a 2D side-scrolling brawler that directly follows the storyline of the show. Well, loosely does. There is little voice acting,with most of the story told through text conversations. Now, I’m all for text as voice acting can be terrible in many cases, but it’s unfortunate that the conversations and narrative only last maybe 5 sentences at a time. It is clear that this game is intended for the short attention spans of the children that enjoy the show and that becomes more prevalent the more I played the game.
While the story may be lacking, the gameplay is the heart of a brawler like this anyways. You start out a stage, run to the right fighting enemies, defeat all of them to move on, repeat several times, fight a boss, all before your time runs out. This is the classic brawler format with some variation. A couple of the stages are strictly boss fights and they did well to mix things up. The bosses each have different attacks and movements, making you think of different strategies. Once you have a strategy figured out, you simply repeat until the boss is defeated. The only real problem I have with the boss battles is they have no visible health bar. During a stage you will quickly figure out how many hits it takes to take down a minion, but with bosses you could be fighting the same guy for 3 minutes straight with no idea how much damage you’ve done. That in itself isn’t a bad thing but when coupled with the fact you have one life each stage, it becomes rather frustrating. Get killed? Well, looks like you have to restart the whole stage. In later stages, you get pounded pretty quickly even by minions so it can be easy to die. The only saving grace you have are the special abilities.
There are a few pick ups and power ups to be found in a stage. One sword upgrade and little Thundercat tokens which are used to call on your feline friends to support you. You only play as Lion-O but over the course of the game pick up 4 friends (technically 5 but the twins count as 1) from the show to give you a boost. Of them, 3 of the 4 are attacks but I found those a waste to use, as Lion-O has his own special attack that can be activated after landing a certain amount of hits on his foes. The only support I really used was the twin kittens, WilyKit and WilyKat, whose ability drops about 3 power ups, most of the time being food to restore health. That is extremely valuable in the long boss battles, considering you only have one life. There is also a jump ability to dodge attacks, which is useful except in a few fights where the enemy can fly and blocking may be the best solution.
Audio-wise, the music is your generic fantasy music expected from this type of game. Some tracks actually sounded very similar to another game I played recently, but I just couldn’t put my finger on which game it was. The only voice acting is the one-liner each character uses when activating their support ability. Oh yeah and of course Lion-O’s classic “Thundercats HOOO!!!” line. Now how could I forget that line considering he says it at the beginning of the stage, end of the stage, and oh yeah, every single time you activate his special ability. 3 times or so per level? That’s not bad at all. Too bad his special attack is so necessary that you could use a couple dozen times a stage, which means yes, hearing him shout that line at least a dozen times every stage. It was cute and nostalgic the first ten times but after that, I was a little annoyed. The graphics and visuals themselves aren’t that bad, not really pushing the bar of DS games nor looking like a 15 year old game. The environments are completely static, which in one particular boss fight was a downside. The boss was a huge bird and you had to reach it to attack it. The jump and even double jump didn’t reach it and it was by pure accident that I figured out you could jump on the branches in the background. The branches seriously did not look like you could stand on them and the confusion caused that to actually be my first death. Difficulty is very apparent in this game even though it is obviously intended for a younger audience.
The fact that they released this game on a near dead system seems strange. It’s fine because all DS games can be played on a 3DS (which is what I played it on anyways), but it just seemed like a weird production decision. Maybe the team started development on the game a while back before the 3DS was as prevalent as a system as it is now and didn’t wish to move all their assets over. That I can understand, but it is sad because it makes a rather mediocre game even more mediocre. The unlockable concept art and screenshots from the show add a little depth, but other than that, I found this game to just be average. Average graphics, average audio, average gameplay, average everything. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a bad game but it isn’t a must-buy either. The one thing I can say about this game is that if given a sequel on the 3DS, I believe there is potential for the team at Aspect to make a really good game. Here’s hopes to that coming to fruition.
- Brawler veterans will enjoy the challenge
- Lots of memories and nostalgia here
- Reviving a rather dead genre
- Gives hope for the genre and a better sequel on the 3DS
- Rather short length
- One life and no easy mode means kids will probably have trouble with this game
- Being on DS limits possibilities
- Very average and mediocre
- I now dislike the classic Thundercats line
Should you buy it? If you’re a brawler fan, loved the old or new show, or just want a fun quick fix while on the go, you should give it a try. Unfortunately, difficulty and mediocrity makes it not that missed, so you may want to just wait for a sequel.
Article from Gamersyndrome.com