Cartoon Network Punch Time Explosion + XL (2011/2012)

Type: Sumo Game (Smash Clone)

Release Date: 2011 for North America, 2012 for Europe

Developer: Papaya Studio

Available On: 3DS (original release), Wii, PS3, 360 (XL Version/Console port)

Gameplay System:

Both versions of this game follow the framework of the Super Smash Bros. series very closely with very few changes.

-You have two attack buttons; the normal attack button, and the special attack button. Just like Smash, there are tilts, dash attacks and smashes as well as air attacks. The same applies for the special attacks; up special is universally a recovery move, while the rest of the special attacks will depend on the character.

-You have a grab button, however, grabs do not work quite the same as Smash; there is no pummel option, you cannot choose what direction you throw your opponent and there is always a strange delay before you toss your enemy. Every character also throws opponents at the exact same trajectory. Additionally, it seems like it is actually possible to “combo” into grabs (it is unclear if they are true combos; more testing will be necessary, but you can do a ground neutral combo with Grim, replace the third hit with a grab and then use his side special for an easy 20% combo)

-You have a shield and dodge rolls but these are also only similar on a surface level. Your shield will drain the longer it is out, and you may be stunned if you leave it out for too long, but it is not affected by attacks; the shield operates purely on a timer. Additionally, while there are dodge rolls, it is wholly possible to hit an opponent in the opening frames of a dodge roll. It is unclear whether this is an error or an intentional design choice but it makes rolling far less useful and safe than it looks.

-Additionally, it seems that at lower percentages you can recover from hitstun faster than an opponent can attack and it’s very possible to simply take a hit from an opponent’s neutral combo, then recover from that hit and block the remaining hits and then simply punish the opponent with a grab or special move.

Mechanics Breakdown:

Despite following the Smash Bros games closely in a visual sense, the game is not nearly as fluid.

Gameplay Analysis

-Many, many moves are extremely unsafe at a low percentage as most characters will recover long before an attack animation will end. Even the regular neutral A Combo is laughably unsafe at low percentages (I’ve tested this; even if you land the first hit, the struck player will be able to recover from the hitstun faster than the second strike will come out,and they can even choose to block the second hit of a combo). Only grab attacks can deal decent amounts of damage while also creating reasonable distance between players

-While the game has a percentage system, it’s not at all like Smash’s percentage in terms of pacing. 0-10% in Smash is really 0-60% in Punch Time, and the equivalent of 100% in Smash is around 200% in Punch Time.

-Projectiles are very interesting in this game. Some projectiles are very, very strong in this game. Grim or Teen Ben’s projectiles will consistently KO standing opponents if said opponent is at the 200% mark. Most are capable of going full screen (but some projectiles only have a single point of durability and will effectively be harmless if they’ve struck one target, despite the visual). There are also several characters with beams like Aku. And the game is also fond of recovery moves that cover a Player’s approach with projectiles. Hoss’ recovery fires Ninja Stars in 6 directions; Bubbles’ recovery fires three beams in a diagonal angle; Teen Ben’s recovery is an ice jump etc.


Character Analysis

The stronger characters, in my opinion, are Grim, Jack and Father. I have yet to play the entire cast, but these seemed to be the strongest/more difficult to fight.

The Grim Reaper
-Most of Grim’s normal moveset is rather terrible and Grim himself is stuck with a tall hitbox alongside a terrible recovery move, but his special attacks are very, very good.
-His scythe blast (neutral special) as mentioned before, can consistently KO at 200%, but even at 60% the move begins to have considerable knock back. All while having full screen coverage as well as relatively short start up and ending frames. The latter element can let Grim put out several of these projectiles on screen at once (you can either spam it on the ground, or double jump and start firing) and it can make recovering from a stage very difficult. This move is the one move that really makes Grim strong.
-His scythe slash (side special) is a bit difficult to land, but it is a very, very good move for forcing enemies off screen and for also catching enemies above him (and also behind him). He can also very, very easily combo into it from a grab for an easy 20% combo (this is for low percentage only)
-His hell fire (down special) seems rather useless initially; there is no knockback on the move after it ends and enemies can actually block the move even if they’re caught in it to minimize the damage. What makes it useful is the fact that
=1) it has a larger hitbox than it looks; if used on a floating platform, it will actually catch opponents directly below him for easy damage and this also makes it easy for him to approach from above (he can fall as the move occurs)
=2) even if the enemy blocks, the enemy is still trapped, as it is impossible to roll through (because of the vulnerable frames at the start of a roll) and the move itself lasts so long that enemies are forced to take a few hits or they’ll have a tiny shield by the end.
=3) the move is still very damaging; unblocked it does 25% damage, and if an enemy has to drop their shield they’ll still take considerable damage.
-His super attack is also among the more effective supers in the game, since it is a beam type move. It also fits into his gameplan quite well.

Jack and Father require a bit more experimentation but the AI can make them feel very, very difficult to fight. Both characters have very fast dashing specials that are really strong because of the implementation of this game’s mechanics.


The characters on the weaker end were:

The Scotsman and Hoss Delgado. Both of these characters have absurdly big hitboxes while having some very slow and unsafe attacks. The Scotsman does have some very good smash attacks but most of his supers are very, very unsafe (his neutral special has terrible ending lag, his side special’s attack hitbox doesn’t come out until late in the move, and his up special leaves him very, very vulnerable). His super at least is decent, being able to stun and hold enemies in place.

Hoss probably has it worse off; his smash attacks are far worse than the Scotsman’s (they’re slow, don’t cover as much range and don’t knock that far back) and his specials are just poorly implemented. His up and down specials prevent him from using any extra air moves (limiting their usefulness) and his neutral special is too slow to compete with stuff like Teen Ben or Grim’s fast projectiles. His side special is somewhat useful mostly due to its broken hitbox (it can hit behind him) but that’s about it. His super may be among the worst in the game.


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