Cartoon Network: Punch Time Explosion

Papaya Studio has clearly been playing a lot of Super Smash Bros on N64 lately, because Punch Time Explosion is essentially a reskinned version of HAL Laboratory and Nintendo's casual multiplayer brawler.

Cartoon Network: Punch Time Explosion is a decent enough stab at this type of fighting game, but it neither possesses the same high level of polish nor inspires the same degree of confidence in its controls as the series from which it takes its cues.

One-two punch

If you're thinking about getting the game for a technical fighter, then think again - the combat engine is about as straightforward as you get.

Standard Attacks like simple punches and more elaborate Signature Attacks are the staple forms of pugilism here, though there is a jump button which can be tapped again for a double-jump.

To block an attack, you can use either the L or R button. And by blocking at the same time as choosing a direction on the D-pad, you can evade your opponent.

You can also interact with enemies and items by grabbing them, and each character has a devastating Punch Time Explosion that can be activated after collecting enough Power Cubes (which fall from foes after they've been vanquished).

There's not a lot of subtlety to each encounter, and fights tend to devolve into a war of attrition. He who can spam the most effective attack at his disposal is, in most cases, the victor.

Combos are possible, but you'll rarely use them, and hits will often pass through an enemy without registering. You're better off holding back and grinding your adversary down with projectiles than going in for the kill when he's weak.

Samurai jacked

Most of your time in Cartoon Network: Punch Time Explosion will probably be spent in the Story mode, for the game only supports local multiplayer brawls. There's a loose narrative involving several Cartoon Network properties coming together to battle a common enemy, but it's mainly filler to introduce each iconic character gradually.

Aside from a few noticeable spikes in difficulty, you'll burn through the main game in no time. And though there are occasional changes in the gameplay - slingshot firing and shmup sequences - the action does become tedious during longer bursts. I also experienced a couple of game-stopping crashes, which were irksome, to say the least.

The voice work is patchy, too. Dexter, Ben 10, and The Powerpuff Girls repeat the same few catchphrases ad infinitum. By contrast, however, the narrator - the incredible George Lowe - is fully voiced, and brings a great deal of zany, wry humour to the proceedings.

For younger gamers with a real passion for the Cartoon Network shows Punch Time Explosion is based on, this uncomplicated scrapper should provide ample entertainment, but anyone looking for a solid 3DS fighter will quickly tire of its simplistic brand of crossover brawling.

Cartoon Network: Punch Time Explosion

Super Smash Bros in all but name, this basic fighter just doesn't do enough with its fighting engine or character-rich licence
Peter Willington
Peter Willington
Die hard Suda 51 fan and professed Cherry Coke addict, freelancer Peter Willington was initially set for a career in showbiz, training for half a decade to walk the boards. Realising that there's no money in acting, he decided instead to make his fortune in writing about video games. Peter never learns from his mistakes.