Cartoon Network: Punch Time Explosion

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Cartoon Network: Punch Time Explosion
Cartoon Network Punch Time Explosion cover art.jpg
North American cover for the Nintendo 3DS version
Developer(s) Papaya Studio
Publisher(s) Crave Entertainment (US)
Deep Silver (UK)
Composer(s) Billy Martin
Platform(s) Nintendo 3DS, Wii, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Release date(s) Nintendo 3DS
  • NA: June 2, 2011
  • EU: April 20, 2012
Wii, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
  • NA: November 15, 2011
  • EU: May 18, 2012[1]
Genre(s) Fighting
Mode(s) Single player, Multiplayer

Cartoon Network: Punch Time Explosion is a 2011 crossover fighting video game developed by Papaya Studio and published by Crave Entertainment, for the Nintendo 3DS. The game was released on June 2, 2011, in North America and in Europe on April 20, 2012.

The PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 ports of the game had since been re-issued in North America by Little Orbit in 2014.

Plot[edit]

The Announcer (Space Ghost) for Cartoon Network decides to take the day off from hosting and watches Dexter's Laboratory. However, to his horror, he finds Dexter's world facing a very strange and utter destruction. The channel is suddenly flipped to various other shows before showing Vilgax (from Ben 10: Ultimate Alien) attacking Marzipan City. Ben Tennyson (Ben 10: Ultimate Alien) finds a newspaper regarding Vilgax's return and goes off to find him, only to get transported to Marzipan. Recognizing the setting from the Ultimatrix, Ben goes off to find Vilgax. He eventually encounters Chowder (Chowder), who has strangely been recolored and turned evil. After defeating him, the two pair up to find Vilgax, who has Mung Daal (Chowder) held hostage. Upon Ben and Chowder's arrival, Vilgax reveals that Marzipan is not another planet but an alternate dimension. Vilgax later vanishes, leaving Mung to be attacked by Forever Knights and Broccoloids. After saving Mung, the Ultimatrix detects a dimensional disturbance as Chowder's dimension is vanishing.

Ben and Chowder are then transported into Bellwood, where they battle a possessed Buttercup (from The Powerpuff Girls). They are then transported to the Null Void, where they battle Forever Knights and R.E.D.s along the way. As they find Vilgax, he transports the three to Primus, where they must battle Kevin Levin (Ben 10: Ultimate Alien), who has been turned into Ultimate Kevin 11 by Vilgax. After defeating Kevin (with help from Gwen Tennyson in the XL version), Primus (along with the rest of Ben's dimension) vanishes. Luckily, they are rescued by Dexter, who has constructed an inter-dimensional capsule-like travel machine. They decide to recruit other heroes to save the dimensions, starting with Flapjack (from The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack), but they are interrupted by Stickybeard (from Codename: Kids Next Door).

Following Dexter's orders, Flapjack starts searching for his friend Captain K'nuckles (Flapjack). After battling Candy Pirates, seagulls, and Mutant Chickens, they encounter Vilgax and a possessed Numbuh One (Kids Next Door). After defeating the villains, Vilgax vanishes and Numbuh One joins Flapjack and K'nuckles. Stickybeard then appears and reveals that he wishes to claim Candied Island for himself, when Bubbie the Whale (Flapjack) catches them in her mouth. After defeating Stickybeard, the villain retreats and Flapjack, K'nuckles, and Numbuh One are teleported to Dexter's capsule as Flapjack's dimension vanishes off-screen.

Dexter and the others then drop off Numbuh One, Flapjack, and K'nuckles as the KND Sector V Treehouse, where they must defeat Stickybeard and his pirates for good. With help from Numbuh Two (Kids Next Door), the trio is able to defeat Stickybeard's forces, as well as enemy robots (and even Toiletnator in the XL version). As Numbuh Two is unable to figure out a way to send Flapjack and K'nuckles home, Dexter is seen formulating further stages of his "save the dimensions" plan in his laboratory. However, Father (Kids Next Door) sneaks into the lab and sabotages the machinery with his powers. This send the capsule (with Ben, Chowder, and Buttercup in it) to the City of Townsville, where they meet up with Blossom (Powerpuff Girls) and Bubbles (Powerpuff Girls), who were possessed but were easily returned to normal after crashing into the capsule door.

After battling their way past Broccoloids (who are seen wearing construction helmets) and Ultra-Robots and freeing the Mayor (Powerpuff Girls), they decide and battle among themselves who should take on Mojo Jojo (Powerpuff Girls), who is rampaging through Townsville in a giant robot. The victor then destroys the robot's power core, resulting in Mojo retreating. The heroes head off in the capsule as the Powerpuffs' dimension vanishes and arrive at Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, where Cheese (Foster's) is being chased by Beetle Drones. After freeing a possessed Mac and Bloo (Foster's), the two lead the others towards the roof of the house, where Cheese is waiting. After saving Cheese, the heroes leave Mac and Bloo's dimension as it vanishes and pick up Flapjack, K'nuckles, and Numbuh One in the Kids Next Door's dimension as it vanishes off-screen.

They all return to Dexter's laboratory, only to find it heavily damaged and on fire thanks to Father. While venturing through the ruins of the lab, they free Monkey (Dexter's Lab) from captivity, battle waves of Space Nut Boogies and Mojo's robots, and even ride a tank while blasting turrets, mines, and Vilgax's drones. Upon finding father, they battle and defeat him (with Numbuh One's help), yet he is able to retreat. Aku (from Samurai Jack) suddenly appears and (after suffering some misunderstanding comments from Chowder, Bubbles, Flapjack, and K'nuckles) attacks them in his regular form (only to get constantly manhandled by Dee Dee in the XL version) before turning into a dragon. Aku is ultimately vanquished after getting hit by a laser beam weapon. The heroes then escape Dexter's dimension as it vanishes off-screen and arrive in Endsville, which is plagued by raining fireballs and volcanic eruptions, among other natural disasters.

Upon meeting the Grim Reaper (The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy), they learn that "some bad dudes" have kidnapped Billy and Mandy (Grim Adventures). As they venture through Endsville, they escape a deadly tornado and battle General Skarr (Grim Adventures), who is riding in an Evil Cone Carne helicopter. They eventually find and battle Billy and Mandy, who have been possessed, and later learn from Mandy that "the dead are waling again" much to Grim's annoyance. After defeating an army of zombies, Grim discovers that the cause of Endsville's terrors is coming from the Underworld, where they find and defeat Mojo and Father. They are able to escape the Underworld as it (along with the rest of Billy and Mandy's dimension) vanishes, yet Chowder barely makes it thanks to a lollipop K'nuckles had with him.

Realizing that there is only one dimension left, they quickly arrive in Samurai Dojo, where a possessed Samurai Jack (Samurai Jack) is strangely attacking Vilgax's minions. After defeating the samurai warrior, Jack decides to join up with the others heroes, as an army of "unspeakable evil" is gathering. They are later attacked by Vilgax, who they has been watching them throughout the other dimensions. After Vilgax's ultimate defeat, the heroes travels through Jack's world, where they battle Ultra-Robots and Space Nut Boogies. Arriving in the city, they battle a huge army of Ultra-Robots. Following their victory, Dexter concludes that they have everything they need to restore the dimensions and set things right. As the capsule prepares to make one more warp while Jack's dimension vanishes, it suddenly explodes for reasons unknown.

As the Announcer believes the capsule exploding as "incredibly poor planning", the heroes are left floating in a very odd and unrecognized dimension composed of old television sets. There, they find the main villain responsible for the whole dimensional meltdown floating downwards- the Announcer's TV remote! The Announcer then watches, shocked, as his own remote control transforms into a giant one-eyed robot with a retractable blaster weapon that entraps the heroes in an energy ring and is about to send them through a portal to oblivion, presumably to permanently erase them (and whatever is left of their shows) forever. But at the last second, they summon Captain Planet (from Captain Planet and the Planeteers), who frees them and together they fight against the Announcer's TV Remote.

Once the TV remote is defeated and turned into a normal remote control, Ben and Dexter reinsert the batteries to restore the dimensions and (after one last goodbye), everyone is returned to their home dimensions. Chowder is returned to Marzipan, Mac and Bloo to Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, Dexter and Monkey to Dexter's Lab, Numbuh One to the Sector V Treehouse, Samurai Jack to Samurai Dojo, Grim, Billy, and Mandy to Endsville, Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup to Townsville, Flapjack and K'nuckels to Stormalong, and Ben to Bellwood. Everything then goes back to normal, except that the Announcer now does not have a remote and must get up to change the channel himself (as he points out). Then, he wonders if he could get a lava-man to change the channel for him with a giant lever, the idea of which he likes the sound of.

It is implied that, because the last quote is a reference to Moltar's role on Space Ghost Coast to Coast, the Announcer is actually Space Ghost, given that he shares the same voice.

Gameplay[edit]

Cartoon Network: Punch Time Explosion is a mascot brawler fighting game bringing together several playable and assist characters from the Cartoon Network TV Universe and Multiverse in one epic battle on an arena that plays very similar to the Super Smash Bros. series. Up to four players (human or CPU controlled) can control a character and fight on a multi-tiered 2D stage. Players may use various items that appear randomly to get the fighting edge over their opponent. Additionally, the stage may use set elements in order to take out other players. For example, in the Dexter's Lab Stage players can pull 2 different levers, one setting off a conveyor belt, and the other firing a deadly laser.

When players strike one another, glowing cubes will fall out of them. If players collect enough of these cubes, they will fill up their special meter that, when full, unleashes a powerful "Punch Time Explosion" (similar to a Final Smash in Super Smash Bros. Brawl) attack against their opponents. For example, Ben Tennyson turns into Ultimate Humungosaur and launches missiles all over the stage.

In the XL version, fighting characters can team up with certain assist characters (similar to Assist Trophy items in Super Smash Bros. Brawl) and do Synergy attacks. For example, Madame Foster brings a plate of cookies to the arena, Chowder eats them, turning fat, and Madame Foster rolls him around the stage.

Each playable character has their own special move set that uses different elements from their respective TV shows. Each has an up, down, side, and neutral attack. Most characters have a projectile attack. Captain K'nuckles is the only character who has a disabling attack.

Port[edit]

On October 3, 2011, representatives of Papaya Games unveiled a new Developer's Diary featuring the console version of the game, announcing new characters, stages, and new gameplay modes. In addition, some characters who were voiced by stand-ins (IE Grey DeLisle as Blossom, Yuri Lowenthal as Numbuh One and Flapjack, and Tara Strong as Cheese) are now voiced by their original actors (IE Thurop van Orman as Flapjack).

In the XL version, there are new Story Mode changes. For example, in the 3DS version of the Ultimate Kevin Levin boss battle, Ben Tennyson was only supposed to attack Kevin and avoid his attacks. In the XL version, Gwen Tennyson shows up to help Ben in the battle with Ultimate Kevin Levin by trapping Kevin's arms and head with her powers. Also in the XL version is a shop where players can buy playable characters, including several characters who were bosses in the original version, arenas, alternate costumes, and TV show clips featuring all the shows except for Captain Planet and the Planeteers.

In Europe, this game was released on different dates. In the UK was released on May 18, 2012, in France, the game was released on June 14, 2012. In Italy and Spain, the game was released on August 22, 2012, through the PlayStation Store.[2]

Reception[edit]

The 3DS version of Punch Time Explosion has received mixed to negative reviews. Jack DeVries of IGN gave the game a rating of 4.5 (bad) and said "the fun comes in very small doses", and felt that "the levels, though aesthetically varied, are basic and boring", criticizing its gameplay and plagiarism of the Super Smash Bros. games. The game was also criticized for not using any recent Cartoon Network characters and using characters from series that have ended prior to the game's release, with Ben 10: Ultimate Alien being the only ongoing series during the game's release, as well as not using other popular former Cartoon Network characters, like Courage the Cowardly Dog and Ed, Edd n Eddy. The console version of the game however, has seen better reception. Jack DeVries of IGN gave Punch Time Explosion XL a rating of 5.0 (Mediocre) saying that "Having so many characters in one game is cool, but the story is the laziest way to do it."

References[edit]

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