Powerpuff Girls: Defenders of Townsville Review

Powerpuff Girls: Defenders of Townsville Review

Jul 3, 2014

I admit to being a bit surprised back when Powerpuff Girls: Defenders of Townsville was announced – a Powerpuff Girls Metroidvania, developed by Radiangames, known for their dual-stick shooters and puzzle games? And it released on Steam? I didn’t get around to playing it until now, when it surprisingly released on mobile recently, but it makes a lot more sense that it’s a Radiangames title – and it’s a unique, if imperfect, take on the open-world adventure genre of Metroidvanias.

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The game starts out with Mojo Jojo, famed villain of the Powerpuff Girls, having erased all of the girls’ memories, imprisoning Bubbles and Blossom, with only a flightless Buttercup around. Flight is the first power earned back by collecting in the world, and here’s where the game shows its original qualities. Many games in the Metroidvania vein restrict progress by restraining movement, but this game relies solely on the lack of certain powers necessary to progress. I feel like it’s almost fairer, because it’s kind of nice to not have things that are just out of short jumping reach. It’s more artificial, but it feels more natural in a weird way.

Because the characters can fly everywhere, combat changes dramatically, and thus enemies come from all directions, and there’s often bullets to avoid by flying around them. It’s where Radiangames starts to make sense as the developer of this game: it’s essentially a dual-stick shooter Metroidvania, albeit with the ability to only attack horizontally. So, not the same, but very close. Like many other Radiangames titles, there’s controller support; the virtual controls are fine, but playing this with a gamepad comes highly recommended.

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Each of the girls is practically identical, except for one key power between each of them that can affect certain parts of the environment, allowing for further progress. The specific characters are the only real parts of the game that resemble the show: everything else is represented in the kind of abstract style that Radiangames uses. The enemies wind up not being very memorable, and the bosses are all just kind of giant spheres that shoot out lasers.

DoT is a little on the easy side, and considering it’s a kids’ game, that’s fair: it took me about 3 hours or so to beat it, and I died maybe twice. The bosses are generally pretty easy. There’s replay value in collecting missed items, the Hardcore difficulty, and the post-game Mojo’s Key Quest with remixed levels.

While I regret not playing on “Hardcore” difficulty the first time around, I like the uncommon elements that define Powerpuff Girls: Defenders of Townsville. Fans of the show (which is coming back in 2016 as a full series), of Metroidvanias, of Radiangames’ other titles, or even just those looking for good gamepad-supported games to try out should give this one a shot.