Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
It's easy to not expect much from a licensed game like Ben 10 Slammers. But really, Cartoon Network's games deserve the benefit of the doubt. They've occasionally been quite ambitious for licensed games, and Ben 10 Slammers is as well; packing the guts of a fun grown-up card game in the body of a kid-friendly licensed title.
This is a card game that has its roots somewhere between a deck-builder like Ascension and a more traditional Magic-esque CCG. Players choose from three slammer cards, each with their own stats, and set of support cards that are added to a player's deck. Three cards are drawn at the start of the game and a number of support points are generated based on the slammer's support point value. These points are used to play the cards, which have different effects varying from attacking the enemy to providing support, and can either have instantaneous or long-term effects. Each slammer also has abilities that can be used for attack or support. Once a player's team of slammers is defeated, they lose.
This all might sound a bit overwhelming at first, but the game quickly teaches players the basics and makes explanations for what each card and effect does easily available by tapping on the various icons in the game. Really, that and the Ben 10 license are the only signs that this is a game meant to appeal to kids. The license really just serves as art and set dressing for the festivities. The gameplay has plenty of strategy, from one's slammer selection to card usage - it's just basic enough for youth to easily understand it, too. But for the kids at heart that want a card game that's easy to pick up, Ben 10 Slammers is for them, too.
There's a single player campaign mode where the credits that fuel the upgrade system can be earned, but the meat of the game is in its multiplayer. Available over Bluetooth - and more importantly online via Game Center - this is where the real fun comes in: taking on other players. Brilliantly, the game uses the hybrid live-and-asynchronous system that Ascension and other Playdek titles use, where players can hop in to a lobby and stay there waiting for their opponent's turn, or hop out and just pick it up when the notification that it's their turn comes in. The whole game is meant to feel like it's in the multiplayer mode, so it feels natural jumping from one mode to another. Matchmaking to ensure that one is playing similar level opponents would be welcome, though.
There is a credits system with IAP, but these are mainly just used to unlock different slammers and to buy reasonably-priced upgrades. At least credits are frequently earned by playing the game.
Ben 10 Slammers is friendly enough for kids, yet robust enough for the adults too. And that's what makes this well worth checking out for fans of card games.