The Powerpuff Girls: Defenders of Townsville

Common Sense Media says

Supergirls' fun comeback heavy on fighting, short on story.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

There's really not much of a story, but light themes of friendship and loyalty can be found within the action.

Positive role models

The Powerpuff Girls are strong, independent kids and good, dependable friends/sisters. That said, this game makes it seem as though their only interest is combat.

Ease of play

The controls are comfortable, especially if you use a gamepad in place of a keyboard and mouse. However, combat can be surprisingly tricky in later levels, especially considering the assumed target audience's age. Pre-teens may want to consider bumping down the difficulty below normal, which will make things a lot less frustrating toward the end of the game. 

Violence & scariness

The Powerpuff Girls fight hundreds of cartoonish robots using punches, energy waves, fireballs, and ice blasts. The robots sputter a bit before blowing up and disappearing.

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

This game is an official offshoot of The Powerpuff Girls TV show, and arrived shortly after The Powerpuff Girls: Dance Pantsed special. Kids who play the game may be interested in seeking out the TV show as well as Powerpuff Girls paraphernalia, which remains readily available despite the show's 2004 cancelation. 

Privacy & safety

No privacy or safety concerns.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know The Powerpuff Girls: Defenders of Townsville is an action game aimed squarely at fans of The Powerpuff Girls TV show. It's pretty much pure combat, but the fighting is highly cartoonish and the girls only fight non-humanoid robots (mostly metal spheres with flashing lights). Bubbles, Blossom, and Buttercup are, as always, a curious mix of cute girlishness and superhuman power, and strongly devoted to helping one another and ensuring justice is done. That said, the game is largely devoid of dialogue and doesn't really let these latter traits shine through. The focus here is clearly on fighting.

What's it about?

Bubbles, Buttercup, and Blossom have forgotten how to use their superpowers in THE POWERPUFF GIRLS: DEFENDERS OF TOWNSVILLE, and it's all Mojo Jojo's fault. The game begins with the titular heroes getting ready to face off with their simian nemesis. But the loquacious chimp stops the fight before it can get started, explaining that he's lured them into combat to make them forget how to perform superhuman feats so they can no longer foil his dastardly plans. A hypnotic beam erupts from his ship that knocks the girls cold. When Buttercup -- the first of the girls kids get to play as -- wakes up, all she can remember is how to run. And not even particularly fast.

Thankfully, she and her sisters (players can switch between the girls at will once they're reunited) slowly begin to remember how to use their powers over the next four hours as they explore caverns, sewers, and other mazelike areas teeming with Mojo's robot minions. First comes simple stuff, like flying. Later they remember how to turn punches into powerful energy waves and dash quickly to avoid attacks. New areas of the labyrinth become accessible with each new ability, but so do new robot enemies that move faster and attack with greater gusto, gradually increasing the challenge of combat.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

The Powerpuff Girls: Defenders of Townsville is a throwback to side-scrolling classics like Metroid and Castlevania. Just when a player thinks she might be starting to get bored exploring the same passageways over and over, she'll find a fun new superpower that will let her access areas that were previously blocked off, providing motive to keep playing a while longer. It's an old formula, but effective. Plus, fans of the show will appreciate the voice work performed by the original cast, as well as the ability to switch between the series' modern CGI presentation -- as seen in the recent Cartoon Network special -- and the classic hand-drawn look of the original animated series.

However, what the game's creators seem to have forgotten is that the great appeal of The Powerpuff Girls isn't their powers -- which are the focus of this game -- but instead the colorful cast of characters from the show and the girls themselves. Storytelling and character development are virtually absent from the game, making it a hollow shell of its source material. It might look and sound like the Powerpuff Girls, and it can even be pretty fun to play, but it doesn't quite capture the spirit of the show. 

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the Powerpuff Girls' social dynamic. Sometimes they fight with one another, but in the end they always remain great friends/sisters. Does this ever happen with you and your friends? What's the key to a friendship that can endure squabbles?

  • Families can also discuss whether the Powerpuff Girls are good role models. Which of their qualities would kids do well to emulate? What kind of shenanigans do they get up to that kids should avoid?

Game details

Platforms:Mac, Windows
Price:$7.99
Pricing structure:Paid
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Cartoon Network Games
Release date:March 14, 2014
Genre:Action/Adventure
Topics:Superheroes

This review of The Powerpuff Girls: Defenders of Townsville was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
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  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
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  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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