Cartoon Network: Punch Time Explosion
|Cartoon Network: Punch Time Explosion|
North American cover for the Nintendo 3DS version
|Publisher(s)||Crave Entertainment (US)
Deep Silver (UK)
|Platform(s)||Nintendo 3DS, Wii, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360|
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. It features characters from various Cartoon Network animated series battling against one another. The game was released in June 2011 in North America, and in April 2012 in Europe. An upgraded port, Cartoon Network: Punch Time Explosion XL, was released for home consoles less than a year later.
Cartoon Network: Punch Time Explosion is a two-dimensional platform fighting game featuring similar gameplay to the Super Smash Bros. series, with up to four players moving and battling on a 2D plane and trying to knock their opponents out of the arena. Each playable character has a unique set of moves they can use to attack their opponents, performed by pressing a direction in combination with one of the attack buttons. When players strike one another, glowing cubes will fall out of them; collecting these cubes will gradually fill the player's special meter. When full, the player can use their character's "Punch Time Explosion", a powerful attack that can deal heavy damage to multiple opponents. For example, Ben Tennyson turns into Ultimate Humungosaur and launches missiles all over the stage. Players can also use various items that appear randomly on the stage to attack their opponents, including an item that summons one of 19 assist characters (22 in the XL version) to aid the player. In the XL version, playable characters can team up with certain assist characters and do Synergy attacks. For example, Chowder eats a plate of cookies and becomes fat, and Madame Foster rolls him around the stage. Players can choose between 21 different stages for battles (26 in the XL version). Many stages shift between multiple phases as the battle continues, and players may use stage elements in order to take out other players. For example, in the Dexter's Lab stage, players can pull two different levers, with one setting off a conveyor belt and the other firing a deadly laser.
Players can choose from eighteen playable characters drawn from eleven Cartoon Network animated series. An additional eight characters were added to the XL version for a total of 26.
^a : XL-exclusive.
The Announcer decides to take the day off and watches various Cartoon Network shows. However, he finds an unknown force causing the worlds of each show to be destroyed, with villains jumping between worlds and many heroes becoming corrupted. The Announcer watches the events unfold, beginning with Ben Tennyson traveling to Chowder's world in pursuit of Vilgax. Ben defeats a corrupted Chowder, freeing him from possession, but Vilgax escapes, and Chowder's world is engulfed in static. Chowder and Ben are pulled back to Bellwood, where they are attacked by a corrupted Buttercup. She too is freed, and after a battle with Ultimate Kevin Levin, Ben's world too begins to fade. However, Dexter arrives and rescues them with a dimension capsule before the world is destroyed. The allied heroes then use the capsule to travel between the worlds of many different shows, defeating the displaced villains while freeing the corrupted heroes and recruiting them to their cause before each world can be destroyed.
Having gathered a large team of heroes, the dimension capsule prepares to make one more warp to save the universes, but it spontaneously explodes, leaving the heroes floating in an empty void. The world around them coalesces as the mastermind behind the events is revealed to be the announcer's remote control, which transforms into a sentient giant robot. The remote control traps the heroes and prepares to destroy them, but the group inadvertently summons Captain Planet, who frees them all. The combined heroes defeat the remote control, turning it back to normal. Ben and Dexter reinsert the batteries, restoring all the worlds and returning everyone to their respective homes. The announcer laments that he no longer has a remote and now must stand up and change the channel himself, pondering the idea of getting a lava-man to change the channel for him with a giant lever instead.
Home console version
On October 3, 2011, Papaya Games announced a home console version of the game, titled Cartoon Network: Punch Time Explosion XL, which was released for the Wii, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360. XL adds eight new playable characters to the roster, four of whom were assist characters in the 3DS version. The port also adds seven new assist characters, five new stages, and additional gameplay modes. An in-game shop allows players to purchase new playable characters, stages, alternate costumes, and clips from the various Cartoon Network shows represented in the game. Alterations were made to the game's story mode to accommodate the new character additions. XL also revised parts of the game's voice acting, with some characters who were not voiced by their original actors on the 3DS version getting new voice clips by their actors from their respective series.
The European release of the game was delayed until nearly a year after the North American release. The game was released on May 18, 2012 in the UK; on June 14, 2012 in France; and on August 22, 2012 in Italy and Spain via the PlayStation Store.
Cartoon Network: Punch Time Explosion 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 similarity to the Super Smash Bros. games. The game was also criticized for not using many 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 at the time of release, as well as not using other popular former Cartoon Network characters like Courage the Cowardly Dog and Ed, Edd n Eddy.
The XL version of the game was slightly better received. IGN's Jack DeVries gave the XL version 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".