Cartoon Network: Punch Time Explosion Review
Cartoon Network: Punch Time Explosion Box Art
System: 3DS
Dev: Papaya Studios
Pub: Crave Entertainment
Release: June 6, 2011
Players: 1-4
Screen Resolution: N/A Cartoon Violence, Crude Humor

The largest failure of the game is its lack of online multiplayer support, which in this age should be the first order of business. The best matches are always when four players can unleash carnage on a tiny map, with the prospect of being sent flying across the screen adding to the intensity. But unless you have four friends who also have a 3DS and are Cartoon Network junkies who've also purchased the game, you're pretty much stuck playing against the A.I. If you're lucky to have a 3DS-toting friend, you can use the Download Play feature, but you're severely limited in your options, making the lack of any online play even more disappointing.

The 3D display is a double-edged sword for Cartoon Network: Punch Time Explosion. Despite the action being confined to 2D platforms, the depth of the backgrounds is well-detailed. Even distant buildings give the condensed play area a more expansive landscape.

Cartoon Network: Punch Time Explosion Screenshot

The global destruction occurring as you progress gives a great sense of the urgency of your mission. The downside is that during frantic battles against bosses, you must keep a close eye on your character at all times, much like a ball-in-a-shell game; take your eye off the action for a second and you'll lose. With the 3D effect on, trying to keep your eyes adjusted to the screen is as difficult as battling some of the bosses, and you'll inevitably switch it off after the umpteenth failure because you lost the sweet spot. The character animations and cartoon vistas are both translated well and look gorgeous on the 3DS. The only small complaint I have is that the game is basically a single canvas for several cartoons, all with their own unique style on television, making the game feel too conjoined.

The Story Mode narrator does a good job mixing the anxiety and humor of the adventure, as well as providing hints throughout. The combat and item effects are all crisp and engaging, which adds an extra punch when successfully landing a knockout. The music, however, is poor, with an unoriginal blend of synthesizers crucifying the ambience of the action. Thankfully, it can be turned off, and the game is much better without it. The character voices, which although authentic, are limited to only a couple sound bites, most of which want to make you rip your ears off after hearing the same line a million times.

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Plainly, Cartoon Network: Punch Time Explosion is not nearly on the same level as the Super Smash Bros. series, despite having a grossly similar gameplay style. More custom options for matches, better multiplayer features, and a more diverse soundtrack may have put it close. Also, the lack of collectables and achievements makes for poor replayability after you've unlocked all the maps and characters. But it's still the closest thing to SSB on a portable, so if you just can't wait for Nintendo's first-party entry, or are a diehard Cartoon Network fan, this game is right up your alley.

By Sean Engemann
CCC Contributing Writer

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
3.8
Graphics
Nice landscapes and character animations present a lot of action in a small space. The 3D effect hinders the gameplay though, so you're likely to keep it off while battling.
3.0
Control
Poor item mapping and bad camera controls make it more of a struggle to be victorious in battle. The variety and responsiveness of character moves are the only saving grace.
3.0
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Music and character voices are best left silent. Battles are great with just the wonderful clashing sound effects. The narration is great though.
2.4
Play Value
So much more could have been added, from online features to trophies and other collectibles. Sadly, after finishing the story and having a few battle rounds, Punch Time Explosion has little more to offer.
3.1
Overall Rating - Fair
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.
Review Rating Legend
0.1 - 1.9 = Avoid 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 3.5 - 3.9 = Good 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair 4.0 - 4.4 = Great 5.0 = The Best

Game Features:

  • Battle as one of 18 different Cartoon network characters. 19 additional characters can assist in combat.
  • Experience 32 levels of action-packed adventure that takes place in 21 unique battle arenas.
  • Unleash special attacks, discover hidden objects, and take on devious bosses.
  • Compete in either Battle Mode or Story Mode, complete with multi-player Wi-Fi.

  • Screenshots / Images
    Cartoon Network: Punch Time Explosion Screenshot - click to enlarge Cartoon Network: Punch Time Explosion Screenshot - click to enlarge Cartoon Network: Punch Time Explosion Screenshot - click to enlarge Cartoon Network: Punch Time Explosion Screenshot - click to enlarge Cartoon Network: Punch Time Explosion Screenshot - click to enlarge Cartoon Network: Punch Time Explosion Screenshot - click to enlarge Cartoon Network: Punch Time Explosion Screenshot - click to enlarge Cartoon Network: Punch Time Explosion Screenshot - click to enlarge Cartoon Network: Punch Time Explosion Screenshot - click to enlarge Cartoon Network: Punch Time Explosion Screenshot - click to enlarge

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