Ben 10: Alien Force (Nintendo DS) - Review by Andrew



Like 505 Games' Cooking Mama, Ben 10 has been a huge hit for publisher D3 and after the global success of the first outing it was inevitable that a sequel was just around the corner. In case you have no idea what all the fuss is about, Ben Tennyson is a pre-teen boy capable of transforming himself into different variety of aliens. This is all due to the watch-like Omnitrix, which Ben discovered deep in the woods during a camping trip with his grandfather Max and cousin Gwen. Clearly, this type of material provides endless possibilities to your average game designer and after last year's Protector of Earth, Ben's at it again in his latest adventure: Alien Force.


At its heart Alien Force is a simple platform brawler but unlike Protector of Earth it's a bit too straight forward for its own good. This means that you'll simply breeze through the majority of levels, selecting your favorite character with little obstruction or threat. Sadly this makes the whole experience completely shallow. Not only are there no time constraints on how long you can spend transformed into your chosen alien but there's also little in the way of puzzle-solving and you'll never be forced to transform because an area is too small or a jump is too difficult. This only happens when you are on one of the boss levels and even then, as soon as you have selected the right alien for the job, it's all over in a matter of minutes. As with most platformers there are a whole host of collectables and, while some of these recharge your health, others can be used as currency in the shop. These can be traded for a variety of upgrades most of which improve your attack capabilities although you can get by without them for the most part. In fact you'll complete Alien Force in no time at all and with only a bland mini-game to extend the gameplay you'll be left wondering whether it was all worth it?


As you'd expect with a platform based brawler everything is controlled in the traditional manner with a very intuitive control layout.


Visually this is not nearly as impressive as Protector of Earth and the various locations are bland and uninspiring. The main characters are worse still and although this is based on an animated series, the various creatures are very stiff in their movements and require considerable more frames of animation than was clearly put into them.


The background music isn't bad but as we've come to expect from this type of game but it still repeats a little too often especially of the later levels. The various sound effects are not nearly as impressive, in fact they are just about as basic as you can get regardless of how big your alien happens to be.

Dual screen

Other than selecting Ben's Alien forms and some basic level navigation, nothing really.

Final comments

If you've played Protector of Earth then you're likely to spot some differences with this outing but unfortunately they only serve to make the whole experience a lot less satisfying. It doesn't look as good, the audio is pretty poor and the gameplay is basic and linear. In fact there's little to recommend Alien Force even to fans of the show. It's still a solid platformer but the developers haven't really taken advantage of the source material and extended characters such as Gwen and Kevin only make a brief appearance as icons in the bland mini-game leaving Ben to handle all the action. If you are a fan do yourself a favor and seek out the previous Ben 10 title. It's far more enjoyable and, what's more, a lot cheaper now that it's a year old.

Pro: Some Interesting Unlockables.
Con: Not as Good as Protector of Earth, Little Replay Value
Final score: 5.7


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Boxart of Ben 10: Alien Force (Nintendo DS)
Platform: Nintendo DS
Genre: Action
Developer: Monkey Bar Games
Publisher: D3Publisher