Teeny Titans Review

Little Heroes, Huge Fun

Teeny Titans
Cartoon Network

When Pokemon first sprang onto the scene back in the 90's, it was followed by a wealth of "me too" titles like Digimon and Monster Rancher. Everyone wanted to put their own spin on "gotta catch'em all," but few releases really managed to understand what made Pokemon so appealing in the first place.

It took a while, but thanks to releases like Pocket Mortys and Teeny Titans, I think we might just remember 2016 as the year where Pokemon-inspired titles got things right.

Titans, Assemble!

Based on the hit Cartoon Network show Teen Titans Go (which itself is based on the DC Comics sidekick-driven Teen Titans franchise), Teeny Titans offers a fantastic mix of compulsive collecting, smirk-inducing humor, and tight gameplay to deliver a capture-and-battle game that's perfectly suited mobile devices.

The latest craze to sweep Jump City (home of the Teen Titans) is a figure-battling game called Teeny Titans. Discovering these adorable toys based on himself and his friends, Batman's protege Robin rushes into town in search of his tiny toy doppelganger. Finding one, he soon gets a terminal case of collecting fever, and begins a player-guided journey from toy store to tournament that takes him to every corner of Jump City, slowly uncovering the game's bigger plot along the way.

Fight like a sidekick

Rather than trying to copy the combat seen in other monster capture games, Teeny Titans wisely found a system that drives quick-play sessions while also offering enough strategy and depth to keep players entertained.

Players will bring a team of three heroes into each battle, each possessing three unique skills (this starts at two, but grows fast for each character). These skills sit at different places along a timeline at the bottom of the screen, and can only be triggered once the timer juice fills up to a certain point. Battles are as easy as tapping your chosen skill whenever it's ready -- but choosing that skill is going to require some careful thought.

School's in session

Once you get to know your heroes and their capabilities, it's just as important to learn the skills of your enemies, too. Knowing the skills they've brought into battle can help you determine which hero to line up (switching is as easy as a tap, with no penalty for doing so), and which skills that hero can use to counter a tough foe.

To give you a quick example, Robin has a great skill that increases the power of his attacks. It's the first skill on his timeline, so I can trigger it multiple times and stack that skill to make a crazy powerful move -- but if I'm going up against a hero with the "Nuh Uh" power in their arsenal, they can negate all of the power I've built up in a single tap. In this situation, Robin might not be my strongest player.

Keeping things even more interesting, Teeny Titans sees powers like these affecting your whole team -- so I could use Robin's power up move to increase the strength of a more devastating move for another hero, or I could switch to a hero whose dancing powers will speed up my timeline, then switch back to Robin and make my chain of power-ups happen at a much faster rate.

Teeny Titans surprisingly deep design will easily scratch your itch for strategy, yet its gameplay remains accessible enough that even the youngest of Teen Titans Go! fans should be able to grasp its mechanics.

A Super Success

Whether you're familiar with the cartoon or not, Teeny Titans is an absolute must play. It's silly, it's strategic, and it might just be the best Pokemon-inspired game on the App Store yet. If you've ever found joy in collecting and battling creatures of any kind, you owe it to yourself to pick this one up.

Teeny Titans is available now on the App Store as a paid download. Android gamers can also enjoy Teeny Titans by downloading in on Google Play.

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