Cartoon Network’s Ben 10 made its way to the iOS world this week with Ben 10 Slammers. Does this card battle game live up to its animated legacy, or is it just another cheap cash-grab?
The first thing you’ll notice upon loading up Ben 10 Slammers is how surprisingly well-put together everything is. The menus all look sleek and functional, the characters are drawn in that distinct, Bruce Timm-esque Ben 10 style, and there are both single-player and multi-player modes to choose from. The battles themselves are akin to a hybrid of Pokemon and traditional card games; you choose three Slammers -- upgradeable combat avatars -- to take with you in battle, each with their own stats, and varied abilities. In battle, you’re pitted against your opponents’ trio of Slammers, and the player whose Slammers are defeated first loses. Your Slammers can attack each other directly, but they also generate Support Points, which are Ben 10’s equivalent of mana, each round. The Support points are used on… your support cards! Gasp! Who’dve thunk it? These support cards can do a variety of things, from attacking your opponents’ slammer directly, to granting you additional cards, to summoning temporary extra characters with their own unique skills.
After winning a battle you’re awarded credits, which can be used to either purchase new cards, or upgrade your existing Slammers. Victories don’t exactly net you enough credits to retire, but they do keep the money trickling in at a decent enough rate to keep you upgrading and expanding your roster as needed.
The audio is a bit of a weak spot here, as the characters aren’t voice-acted. It would have been a nice bonus to get the actors from the series to reprise their roles, and the music is forgettable and bland.
It would be just wrong to have a card battle game without multiplayer, and Ben 10 Slammers stepped up by providing online versus modes so you can duke it out against your buddies. Anyone looking to do a little play-n-swap action, however, will be sorely disappointed, as this is online only. The single-player campaign is fun while it lasts -- which is a decent size of 24 opponents -- and features a variety of cameos from the show’s wide range of characters. If Ben 10 Slammers is successful, the developers have promised to continually expand both your decks and the opponent selection.
Combining the skills of your Slammer with the support cards you have at your disposal makes for some nice strategy, and while things never get as intense as Magic: The Gathering or other similar card battle games, the level of cognition required here is a nice intermediary for anyone looking to get their feet wet in the genre. Ben 10 Slammers is decently priced at two dollars, and while it’s possible to make in-app purchases, the game doesn’t harass you to get you to make said purchases, which is aces in our book.