PS Vita Review – Ben 10: Galactic Racing

Every system launch has one. There’s always that one title that’s nothing more than a shameless cash-in, a horrendously pandering children’s game, or a line-item on some publisher’s budget spreadsheet. Ben 10: Galactic Racing is all of these.

It should be plain from the outset, but it’s not. Galactic Racing first presents the player with a rather neat-looking menu, and a handful of options, including single-player, multiplayer, extras, and options.

Any kart racer is going to take a lot of cues from the grandfather of the genre, Mario Kart, and Ben 10: Galactic Racing does this almost to a fault, but falls short of doing any of them well. Galactic Grand Prix is exactly like the different cups you’d find in any Mario Kart game. Short Circuit lets you choose a few tracks and create your own racing playlist. Single Race is exactly like it sounds, allowing players to choose a track and race around. Time Trial will set players on a track by themselves with a single goal: run a fast lap. Showdown is the equivalent of Mario Kart‘s battle mode, pitting racers against each other in an arena with items and powerups strewn about.

The game’s nine racers are available from the outset, with almost no variation in stats. Master one character and you’ve mastered them all. The same can be said of Galactic Racing‘s two different go-karts. One is supposed to be light, while the other is supposed to be heavy, but that doesn’t seem to be the case will truthfully no difference in handling between the two.

I will admit that multiplayer can be slightly chaotic fun, despite a complete lack of balancing. It seemed like the lead racers were getting the powerful items just as frequently as those in the back of the pack. Mario Kart‘s genius comes from the way items are balanced, although the seemingly random-ness of races can be frustrating.

Ben 10‘s biggest fault is that there is no randomness. If you’re in first it’s far too easy to hold on to that position. In that way, multiplayer seems almost a wasteful use of the player’s time. Why bother playing against humans if it’s about as mundane as racing against the computer endlessly?

That said, Ben 10: Galactic Racing is a decent use of the license, so fans of the Cartoon Network show will be pleased with what’s on offer here, just don’t waste your time or money if you’ve got no interest in Ben Tennyson and his alien compatriots.

Under normal circumstances, Ben 10: Galactic Racing would be graded on a curve. Launch software line-ups are notorious for this kind of shovelware. Unfortunately for the developers and D3 Publishing, that’s just not the case with the PlayStation Vita. Your attention — and money — is much better spent else where.

PlayStation LifeStyle’s Final Score

– No balance or variety.

– Boring as all hell.

– Spend your money elsewhere on the Vita’s launch.

3.5 out of 10