DC Super Hero Girls: Teen Power Review
It’s a comic book! It’s a TV show! No, it’s a video game based on a TV show based on comic book characters! DC Super Hero Girls is a television show surrounding the lives of DC’s most and somewhat beloved heroines and villains, reimagined as teenage students. The Nintendo Switch game DC Super Hero Girls: Teen Power is an extension of that universe in a semi-open world. It has platforming, beat ’em up, and life-sim elements that make for a not-too-deep, but at the same time, kind of surprisingly deep experience.
I will get my main complaint out of the way. I may have just been a hopeful, naïve lad, but I was under the impression all the heroes on this team would be playable. Out of Wonder Woman, Batgirl, Supergirl, Zatanna, Bumblebee, and Green Lantern, only Wonder Woman, Batgirl, and Supergirl are playable. The rest are reduced to quest givers and side characters. The same goes for the villains. Only Harley Quinn, Catwoman, and Star Sapphire are playable.
I’m a sucker for superheroes and playing as different characters, so this revelation was a pretty big letdown. Some of the more interesting powers were sidelined, like Giganta’s increased size, Poison Ivy’s plants, and Zatanna’s magic would have been such a welcome addition to the gameplay. Even Green Lantern’s abilities are found in Star Sapphire’s move set, so what gives? Alright, rant over.
Serving Up Justice
The combat is pretty bare-bones, but as the game goes on, it does get slightly more interesting. Slightly. You have your mash Y to unleash a combo, press A to dodge, and B to jump/fly/glide. In that respect, all the characters are pretty much the same. Once you start unlocking abilities you will find which characters you prefer using. Your girls get their Special, Skill, and Action, which are pretty unique. Your Special, like Wonder Woman’s Bracelet Blast or Harley Quinn’s No Time Bomb, is mainly used for scenarios where you want big damage, AOE-type moves. The Skills, like Batgirl’s Batarangs or Supergirl’s Freeze Breath, are for attacking multiple enemies at once. The Actions, like picking up nearby cars or grappling to a rooftop, are almost completely useless in combat.
The enemies are surprisingly varied. With the exception of the street thugs, all the enemies fall into the category of “toys, but deadly.” There are teddy bears of various sizes, strengths, and speeds, but we also fight against telepathic dolls, toy soldiers, robots, and flying saucers, all of which have different variants with different abilities.
As far as missions go, they are usually pretty simple and follow similar routines. Defeat all the enemies, defend the structure, fight the big robot boss. Occasionally, you will have to escort an NPC through a dangerous area, chase a baddie, or defuse bombs, but there aren’t really any curveballs thrown at you beyond the first couple of chapters.
I will say though, that the optional objectives during the missions are kind of difficult. In no way are they necessary to complete, but they do offer extra Power Up points and money, which are important, but we’ll get to that later. All the missions have basic objectives, like complete within the time limit, finish with 80% health, or perform 3 perfect dodges. Even for a veteran, but not a great gamer like your ol’ pal Zane, these things can be pretty hard to do. Then there are platinum objectives, such as complete in an even tighter time limit and take no damage whatsoever. Is this a kids’ game or Dark Souls?
The rewards for completing missions allow you to upgrade your abilities, but the number of points required for each upgrade, compared to what you receive from the missions, leaves you with some grinding to do. Is the game hard without upgrades? No, but by the end of the game, my heroes and villains had only half their upgrades, which made my heart feel sad.
Hit My Socials
Though the draw to the game is playing as superheroes and villains, the game shines when exploring the city as a teen. Though there are simple fetch missions and collectibles to go through, the social media system is surprisingly engaging. The app called Superstapost (which is tragically named) is basically Instagram. Your characters can take pictures, selfies, and full-body pictures with different filters and at different angles. Sometimes these features are necessary for completing side quests, but they are also pretty fun. Listening to citizens will let you know what is currently trending and how to boost your followers/likes.
My favorite part of Superstapost was how other characters in the world interact with your images. Comments are made by random people, other heroes and villains like Carol Ferris or Jessica Cruz, and organizations like Sweet Justice and the Daily Planet. Though they aren’t actually in the game, other heroes from the larger DC universe also comment on your photos, like Barry Allen and Oliver Queen. As someone who loves attention, I found myself constantly opening Superstapost to see what NPCs said about my photos, which now that I see it written down, is kind of sad.
The downside to the city exploration is that there are no masks allowed. Players cannot explore the city or interact with its inhabitants as a character’s costumed persona, which means no flying and no grappling hooks, which also means you got to huff it on foot from one place to another. On the bright side, players are able to dress up each of their characters by buying new clothing items for their civilian and superhero personas. While each villain and hero has their own outfit from the show, there are also unlockable outfits based on other iconic looks, such as the New 52 series, Crisis on Infinite Earths arc, and their current look in the comics.
While I have strong criticisms of DC Super Hero Girls: Teen Power. Yet it is fun to play as these iconic characters on the streets and in battle, clunky as they may be. The locations and dress-up options are colorful and interesting. Fans of the TV show will definitely like wielding Wonder Woman’s sword and shield, Catwoman’s whip, and Batgirl’s gadgets.
***Switch code was provided by the publisher***
- Characters are fun to play as
- Engaging social media elements
- Good looking outfits
- Limited playable characters
- Simple gameplay
- Slow upgrade system