Review – Ben 10: Power Trip

Back in 2017, Outright Games published Ben 10 It was. a simple beat ’em up developed by Torus Games that wasn’t exactly excellent, but was good enough to please fans of the source material (as in, a young and much more forgiving demographic). I can only assume that this game sold well enough for the publisher to greenlight yet another Ben 10 title for this current generation of consoles. Developed by PHL Collective, the same people behind Clusterpuck 99, Ben 10: Power Trip is not a sequel to the 2017 title, but a brand new take on the source material. And not exactly a good one.

Ben 10: Power Trip

This park ranger looks way too similar to that dude from Hello Neighbor. That’s not a good thing.

I feel like I should inform you right away that Ben 10: Power Trip is a bad game. If you really want to buy a game based on the hit cartoon series, you should stick to the 2017 game instead. This is a different kind of bad game, however. This isn’t a game that felt lazy, nor did it infuriate me at all. It’s not a laughably bad title either. This is the rare case of bad game full of really good intentions, most of them overshadow by a pretty obvious lack of budget.

If anything, Ben 10: Power Trip has a bold premise. PHL Collective tried their hardest to provide players with an actual open-world Ben 10 experience, a game with an impressively big map, different missions to tackle, sidequests, hidden collectibles, multiple kinds of obstacles that need to be cleared with Ben’s different alien forms, an original story, a skill tree, and more. They tried to deliver AAA levels of scope and content, and bless them for trying. Sadly, for as much as I wanted to like this pitch and for as noble as their intentions were, Ben 10: Power Trip feels massively undercooked. I don’t know if they faced budget issues, time constraints, or both. All I know is that the end product feels janky and somewhat unpolished.

Ben 10: Power Trip

Don’t mind me, just a regular fire-spitting alien passing through…

It doesn’t take long until you notice some massive issues with this game upon starting a new save file. The initial cutscene does a pretty bad job at explaining the game’s setting and the reason why you’re there. Apparently, you’re in some weird European location where mayors speak German, trees look like Californian redwoods, cars drive on the left side of the road, but park rangers speak with the most obvious Australian accent this side of Mad Max. I have no freaking idea of what’s going on. The only thing I managed to understand was a villain doing some sort of magic in order to make Ben lose the power of transforming into his ten alien forms, so it’s up to you to find a way to revert this curse and save the day, or something like that.

Ben 10: Power Trip manages to look less appealing than its already visually underwhelming predecessor. It features similarly underwhelming character models and assets, but without that extra layer of cel shading that manages to make even the ugliest of games a bit more pleasing to the eyes. The framerate is also all over the place. It runs pretty poorly when you’re in an open world setting, but skyrockets to a surprisingly stable 60fps whenever you find a portal and start exploring a more linear course.

Ben 10: Power Trip

HADOUKEN!!!

The same can be said about the sound design. It’s fully voice acted, which will please fans of the show, but the soundtrack is mediocre at best, and most sound effects are pretty much absent. When they’re not, they arrive way after their corresponding action due to how out of sync it is. To make matters worse, Ben just doesn’t shut up, especially when he’s using one of his alien forms. Expect to hear a ton of really annoying one-liners that would make Bubsy proud.

The overall gameplay is where I actually feel like congratulating the developers for their ambition, even though it’s not exactly good. The open world design is clearly inspired by the Lego games, in which objectives are easy to follow and complete, and optional sidequests are very straightforward. Whenever you’re not stuck in a linear level acquiring a new form, you can do everything from collecting coins to partaking in combat arenas and platforming challenges. Nothing in here is particularly challenging, especially considering its target demographic.

Ben 10: Power Trip

You look legit.

The problem is that everything feels rushed, half-baked. The linear story levels are ridiculously simple and uninventive, while open world objectives lack creativity and variety. The combat mechanics are clunky as well. Even though each of Ben’s forms features a surprising amount of combos and special moves, you can beat every single enemy in the entire game with the same light-light-strong attack combo. You are constantly rewarded with tons of upgrade points to improve your stats in a very simple skill tree, so you’ll always be way too overpowered. There’s no challenge at all in here.

Ben 10: Power Trip

Ben can shred with his scooter anytime, anywhere. Take that, Crayola Scoot!

The developers behind Ben 10: Power Trip sure tried coming up with an ambitious open world adventure for the young ones to enjoy, but they sadly missed the mark. Be it due to budget issues or time constraints, everything in this game feels rushed and half-baked. The visuals and sound design are really poor, the framerate is janky, and while there’s quite a lot of things to do in the game, nothing is particularly hard or interesting. If you really want to buy your kid a Ben 10 game this year, just stick to the 2017 beat ’em up. Even though it’s not exactly a masterpiece, it’s certainly more enjoyable than Power Trip.

 

Graphics: 4.0

It’s colorful, but ugly. It doesn’t feature the same charming cel-shaded coat of paint from its predecessor, meaning that it manages to look even more dated than before. The framerate is also all over the place.

Gameplay: 6.0

The open world is surprisingly big, with lots of secrets to unveil. Sadly, the camera controls are faulty, the framerate is problematic, and the combat mechanics are as shallow as a puddle.

Sound: 4.0

There is a lot of voice acting, which might please fans, but the soundtrack is generic and the sound effects are just absolutely dreadful.

Fun Factor: 5.0

There is a lot to do in Ben 10: Power Trip, but nothing in it is particularly interesting. It’s a game with bold ideas and intentions, which sadly suffers from an overall lack of polish.

Final Verdict: 5.0

Ben 10: Power Trip is available now on PS4, Xbox One, PC, and Switch.

Reviewed on PS4.

A copy of Ben 10: Power Trip was provided by the publisher.