DC League of Super-Pets: The Adventures of Krypto and Ace Review

Three things I like about this game, and one I don't

DC League of Super-Pets

By Paul Hunter

Whenever I review a licensed video game for kids I always have to go in with the mindset that I'm not the target audience. My child's take on the game is way more important since it's designed specifically to entertain kids like him. Such is the case with DC League of Super-Pets: The Adventures of Krypto and Ace, the latest title from family friendly games publisher Outright Games.

The Adventures of Krypto and Ace is a tie-in game for the DC League of Super-Pets animated movie hitting theatres on July 29 and starring Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart. Curiously though, the game is not based on the movie and instead tells an original story where Superman and Batman's caped canines are out to foil Lex Luthor's plot to pet-nap Metropolis' strays for his new LexCorp Zoo.

Do you have a young DC League of Super-Pets superfan in the house and are wondering if this game is worth their time? Over the past week I played through the 15-level campaign with my child, plus we checked out the pet adoption mode this game offers. So let's take flight and head on into Metropolis to see what this game is all about, here are three things I liked about it...and one I didn't.

Liked: Fun On-Rails Blasting

Usually when I think of licensed movie titles the first thing that comes to mind is simple platformers like Disney's Aladdin or SpongeBob HeroPants. 3D on-rail shooters is about the furthest from what I'd expect, but that's exactly what The Adventures of Krypto and Ace is.

Inspired by classics like Star Fox and Panzer Dragoon, this game has you flying through Metropolis on-rail blasting Lex Luthor and his legion of LexBots. And just like in those titles you can accelerate, brake and barrel roll to survive the 15 levels, broken up into three areas with five missions each.

The controls are very intuitive to pick up—a young child just needs to hold down the fire button and move around for basic combat. While barrel rolling or braking can help out in pinch, they're rarely necessary, so younger kids can largely ignore them if they want. The only exception are the three boss battles that conclude each area: they're quite a bit harder than a typical level and I had to step in to lend my little one a hand. While the boss difficulty spike is steeper than I'd ideally like, it did provide some fun father/son gaming moments, and my little guy was overjoyed every time I destroyed Lex Luthor's newest robot menace.

For each mission you can choose to play as Krypto the Super-Dog, who blasts bots with his heat vision, or Ace the Bat-Hound, who unleashes a barrage of Batarangs. Each doggy has a super power capable of clearing the screen of enemies in seconds. This includes Krypto's focused Arctic Breath laser beam that shreds LexBots like butter, or Ace's lock-on homing Batarangs that quickly blows up the bots. While the pair of powerful pets feel mostly similar in action, for kids even a visual swap can be enough incentive to play each mission twice, once with each character. That was certainly the case in my home: my child insisted we immediately replay a level to beat it with the other character.

Liked: Partner Pet Pals

To add greater replayability, before each level you can partner up with one of three Super-Pet pals that help in their own unique way.

You can buddy up with PB, Wonder Woman's pig, who provides your super doggy with a tough protective shield. The second choice is Merton, Flash's tortoise, who temporarily gives you unlimited agility points used to accelerate, barrel roll or break. And finally there's Chip, Green Lantern's cat, who creates a lantern double of your caped canine for double the fire power.

Not only is it cool to see other Super-Pets in the game, but their powers come in handy, particularly PB's shield that protects you from all harm for a set amount of time. As you play through the campaign you'll earn Stars that can be used to upgrade your doggy or your pet pals, such as increasing your health, stamina or the duration of ally abilities. It's a simple, effective skill tree that kids can easily get a handle on.

Liked: The Adoption Agency

The Adventures of Krypto and Ace features an entire second game mode that revolves around re-homing the strays you save. To free the strays you'll need to nab stray collector cards found within each level. From there, the strays move into the adoption agency with the goal of finding them their forever homes.

To get each pet ready for adoption you'll need to nurse them back to health, which means pampering them with their favourite toys and treats. My son had such a fun time with the adoption minigame as you need to read their bios, which gives hints for their favourite toys and snacks. For instance, a cat might like riding on a boat (a hint that it loves eating canned fish) and enjoy playing with shiny things (like a laser pointer!). My little one nursed well over 30 pets back to full health, and even though some of their bio descriptions started to repeat at that point, it didn't stop my child from laughing and enjoying himself the whole time.

Once you've made your pet happy enough for an adoption, it's time to review all the potential new pet owners. You can then review short bio of the humans and use this information to try and make the best pet match possible. For instance, you might find a buyer that loves to knit—perfect for a cat that enjoys pushing balls of yarn. You're awarded an "Okay Match!" if the match is decent, or a "Good Match!" if you did a bang up job matching their bios. Funny enough, my child didn't care which rating he got, simply matching pets with owners was thrilling enough.

Didn't Like: Levels Are So Same-y

OK I should preface this is a complaint solely from me, because my little guy didn't care at all. But I was entirely surprised at how similar the levels were. Each one takes place in Metropolis at midday and you'll mostly travel forward on top of buildings that all look very similar. There is the odd moment where the camera pans up or down as you skirt up/down a skyscraper, but that's about it.

The sheer visual repetition in levels caused me fatigue and it's puzzling why the developers didn't at least give us a few levels at dusk or night. Or even better, why couldn't Lex Luthor escape to Gotham City, the Fortress of Solitude or even have dramatic final battle in the Hall of Justice? Anything to mix up the visuals would have been welcome. Kids are less discerning though and my child didn't mind at all. For this reason alone, kids are likely to get way more enjoyment out of this game—older gamers may want to avoid buying it for yourself unless you're fine with fun gameplay in very repetitive locations.

The Verdict

In my family, DC League of Super-Pets: The Adventures of Krypto and Ace is a tale of two gamers. For me, I thought the game offered decent fun, the type of game I'd play and platinum over the weekend and likely not touch again. But my child's experience was much better, he's totally into the game and had incredible fun playing it. Over a week after first playing the game he's still asking me everyday to play it, so that means for him, it's a hit.

The big plus is the inclusion of the adoption minigame—my little guy liked it just as much as the main game, if not more. Even with the minigame, the overall amount of content on offer is still on the low side, but that didn't bother my child one bit. So bottom line: if your little one likes DC League of Super-Pets or action games in general, odds are they'll simply adore this title.

Final Score: 7.5/10 - Good

DC League of Super-Pets: The Adventures of Krypto and Ace details

Platform: PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC
Developer: PHL Collective
Publisher: Outright Games
Genre: Action
Modes: Single-player
ESRB Rating: E10+ (Everyone 10+)

A key was provided by the publisher.