E3 2011: Ben 10: Galactic Racing (Hands-On)

by: Tina -
Game: Ben 10: Galactic Racing
Developer: Monkey Bar Games
Release Window/Date: Fall 2011
What works: Galactic Racing transforms the lovable Mario Kart gameplay with the content of the Ben 10 series. Players can attack their opponents while racing in various galactic tracks.
What needs work: Galactic Racing can benefit from a few more original ideas as well as varying power ups. Most power ups involve attacks that, while visually different, don’t seem to involve any noticable difference in impact.

The Ben 10 video game series is traditionally a reimagination of the animated cartoon hosted on Cartoon Network in an action-adventure setting. Players take control over the form-shifting adolescent who adventures across perils and battles nefarious enemies by using his ability to transform into one of several different alien life forms. This next iteration in the Ben 10 series by D3 Publishers, Ben 10: Galactic Racing, involves Ben and his alien alter egos partaking in a different kind of competitive environment in a galactic race across a variety of tracks.

During this year’s E3, I was able to go hands on, racing Ben and the other playable aliens selecting between a light or heavy vehicle. I’ve always been one to be keen on drifting, so I selected the lighter vehicle to take on the transparent track featured at the demo. I couldn’t help but immediately compare the game to Mario Kart, which isn’t to say is a bad thing. It is said that imitation is a form of flattery, and Monkey Bar Games couldn’t have selected a more quirky and market-appropriate title to emulate.

Of course, Ben 10’s racing game still has several unique features. Being that Ben’s transformation into alien forms is the staple of the franchise, it is a given that his transformations are retained, yet geared towards the new genre of video game. Instead of transforming into alien forms to battle enemies, Ben can transform once his defense bar is filled - which is accomplished by performing tricks while mid-air - in order to attack his opponents on the track. I saw Ben turn into an invisible haze that, once knocked into other cars, force them to veer of course giving you the tactical advantage to speed ahead. Along the way, Ben can also pick up power ups. This is where the Mario Kart influence (whether admittedly or not) becomes very apparent. Power ups range from dropping the equivalent of Mario Kart’s banana peels, to forms of the blue shell attack hit that hone in on fellow racers.

Monkey Bar Games has transformed the video game-related franchise of Ben 10 to suit a fun racing style that is very reminiscent of Mario Kart while still retaining the familiar qualities that fans love about Ben 10. The maps themselves are - again, like Mario Kart - riddled with obstacles such as sticky floors and large door-barriers that players might find themselves accidentally slamming into. With these gameplay elements added to the fact that Ben 10: Galactic Racing includes a multiplayer component - the game is fun to toss around between teammates, particularly if you are a fan of the franchise. Although it breaks no creative barriers save for those that are inherent to the franchise, fans will appreciate the contextual application to gameplay. 

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