Namco Bandai Games Inc.’s Thundercats for Nintendo Co.’s Nintendo DS, an action game based on the 2011 remake of 80’s classic cartoon, is a fun and challenging arcade button masher that brings home the characters and story lines from the TV series.

Playing as the heroic and brash Thundercats leader Lion-O, players romp through Third Earth, and battle the forces of Mumm-Ra as they try to take over the universe. Along the journey, Lion-O can teams up with stalwart allies, like Tygra, Cheetara, Panthro, and twins – WilyKit and WilyKat, to battle Mumm-Ra’s hordes.

The control scheme for Thundercats is simple – Lion-O can jump, slash, and slide. Combos are completed by mashing on the slash button. Holding down while pressing the jump button makes Lion-O perform a slide attack that covers ground in the process. The Nintendo DS touch screen activates Lion-O’s Sword of Omens special attack, as well as calls up the other Thundercats.

There are plenty of baddies to hack and slash, and some fairly challenging boss battles. The action rarely slows down, which harkens back to memories of playing old SNES beat ‘em ups. While it’s commonplace to get stuck in a slashing combo sequence, Lion-O is plenty maneuverable, and never gets too much in the way of controllability.

The levels are straight-forward – move in one direction, and kill everything in sight. In some areas, it’s easy to get trapped by four or more enemies on screen, but the action doesn’t slow down and animations remain fluid.
Between levels, the story’s narrative takes place using images from the show. In fact, the level’s designs do a decent job of porting over locales from the animation series. The music, while being fairly generic, does a great job of keeping with the action. About the only thing that will grate on gamers’ nerves will be Lion-O’s constant yells of “Thundercats ho!”

Thundercats is a traditional video game take on a classic cartoon remake. It’s enjoyable without being too easy and challenging without being frustrating. There’s enough going for Thundercats that makes it more than just a nostalgic trip.

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