Thundercats Review

ThunderCats is the handheld game tie-in to a dead show on a dead platform. What could go wrong?

The ThunderCats TV show reboot was, by most accounts, pretty good. Despite that, Cartoon Network decided to not renew the show for a second season, leaving it on “permanent hiatus.” And then this travesty of a game came out, ensuring that the show will never, ever receive another episode.

There was actually another ThunderCats game once, back in the Commodore 64/ZX Spectrum era (1987). It was a side-scrolling brawler where you battled wave after wave of similar enemies on your way to defeat Mumm-ra, and, for its time, it was really quite good. This is practically the same game, but with graphics upgraded to, say… Game Gear quality. The mechanics? Exactly the same.

You have an attack button, and a jump button. If you connect with enough attacks or get hit a lot, you build up a special meter allowing you to do a super-powered beam laser. Collect tokens strewn throughout the levels (you can hold three at a time) and to summon your allies for a screen-clearing attack or health item drop. Note that any time you use a special attack, summon an ally, start a level, end a level, or restart after a game over, Lion-O will shout, “Thundercats, HOOOOOOO!!!” This is quite possibly the most gratingly infuriating sound clip of the year, and it is the only sound that will come out of your DS’s speakers that even approaches memorable.

And, ummm… that’s all. Repeat that for two hours. The game is actually only two hours long and you’ll die a lot. The movement is clunky (featuring the most awkward double-jump in gaming history, which is nonetheless completely necessary because every platform you’re aiming for is just a bit too far away to reach with the standard jump), hit detection is iffy at best (especially in the repetitive boss encounters, of which there are many, and often all in a row due to the pretty terrible game pacing), there are no checkpoints throughout levels, and I was never really sure if the game saved my progress when I got fed up and wanted to quit.

There is one randomly generated temple level near the end that was particularly rage-inducing. You trudge through room after random room battling waves of lizard men, jumping clumsily between platforms perched over a bed of spikes, dodging buzz saws, or fighting statues that spit far-too-damaging fireballs at you. The battle strategy is always the same: get the enemies on one side of you, then hack away. If they all have guns, you’re going to get shot. It doesn’t matter how good you are at games; it’s basically that scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark where Indy has a gun and the other guy has a sword, but you’re the guy with the sword.

There is another level that’s exactly the same. This second level has a boss at the end. If you quit, you have to do both of them again. They’re around ten minutes each, with no checkpoints. Trust me on this – it didn’t save after the first one, even though I got the end-of-stage stats screen. My soul died when I came back to it the next day.

This is a $30 original DS game featuring the bare bones of what even constitutes a video game in 2012. When classic licenses like He-Man can get an incredible new game on iOS for 99 cents, but ThunderCats can’t even get a passable game on a traditional platform despite both titles being released in the same week, something is wrong with the world. A lot more things, unfortunately, are wrong with ThunderCats, a game with really no redeeming value or place in today’s world.

“Thundercats, NOOOOOOOOOO!!!”


  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Myspace
  • Google Buzz
  • Reddit
  • Stumnleupon
  • Delicious
  • Digg
  • Technorati
Author: Nick Simberg View all posts by
Nick has been gaming since before he was born. He was weaned on the original Legend of Zelda and sees the recent entries as far too easy. Today, he has a beard and usually spends his nights writing for his own self-made game blog,

Leave A Response

You must be logged in to post a comment.