DC Super Hero Girls has lit up the small screen for several years now, with both of its incarnations providing adorable takes on the DC Comics characters fans know and love. Later this summer, the franchise is set to expand into another medium with DC Super Hero Girls: Teen Power, a Nintendo Switch-exclusive game exploring the world of the show. Earlier this week, ComicBook.com was able to attend a virtual demo for Teen Power, diving head-first into what the finished game will be like. If that preview is any indication, Teen Power has the makings of a delightful all-ages hit — one that could be a perfect gateway to gaming for the franchise's young fans, and an engrossing, Easter egg-filled journey for more seasoned gamers.
Our preview of Teen Power showcased the two modes of the series' gameplay — "Teen" mode, which sees the civilian versions of the DC Super Hero Girls exploring Metropolis and all of its various neighborhoods, and "Superhero" mode, which sees the girls suit up and take down a various string of baddies. Both aspects follow a multi-chapter campaign narrative centered around legendary DC villain Toyman, who uses an army of robots to attack the Metropolis neighborhood of Hob's Bay, which the supervillains are then framed for. As Lex Luthor allows Hob's Bay to be rebuilt and customized by Metropolis's teenagers, the girls go on a quest to figure out who the real Toyman is and stop him. At the start of the game, players unlock heroes like Wonder Woman, Batgirl, and Supergirl, with more supervillains and additional characters being involved as the game goes along.
Once you do begin to unlock additional characters, Teen Power's single-player RPG gameplay is only strengthened, and the idea of repeating previously completed missions (which the game allows you to access through "VR mode", which is activated by approaching certain civilian NPCs wearing VR headsets) with each possible character quickly becomes enticing. Given how diverse the franchise's cast of characters is, it was safe to assume that the gameplay would match, and it does so in spades. Each character has a wildly different gameplay style — for example, Harley Quinn's is more sporadic, Catwoman's is more agile, and Star Sapphire's is more focused on range attacks. There are also a number of tools and special attacks at each character's disposal, whether it be Harley Quinn's "No Time" bomb, Batgirl's grappling hook, or Wonder Woman's shield, which can be used as both a projectile and a platform to step onto.
This variety in gameplay is arguably one of the strongest aspects of Teen Power, but with some caveats — players are able to only control one character of their choosing per mission, with the CPU controlling the other two. This ability to play as your favorite extends even as the story is focused elsewhere (So, for example, even if a cutscene tees up a fight between Supergirl and Livewire, players still have the chance to fight the actual combat as Batgirl or Wonder Woman.) The mechanics themselves appear to be just the right mix of approachable and challenging, with a goal of helping introduce those battle systems to younger audiences.
Success in each mission — and in the overall game — varies from context to context, but in ways that will become enticing collectibles for players looking to grind. Each mission ends with your snapshot being taken for an article in the Daily Planet, as well as an awarding of coins and power stars. Coins will provide you with the ability to purchase various elements within the game, including outfits and actual pieces of real estate within Hobb's Bay. There are other forms of incentives and collectibles as well, including plushies based on Metropolis High School mascot Hammy the Hamster, some of which can only be found in the middle of battles. There also is the element of "Superstapost", the franchise's social media platform, which not only provides key updates regarding the game but ties the action of taking in-game photos to certain side quests.
When it comes to the overall world of Teen Power, the developers appear to have knocked it out of the park, creating an experience that will delight both diehard fans of the franchise and of DC Comics at large. For starters, the translation of the very specific two-dimensional style of the animated series carries over pretty well into a 3D video game, allowing for the combat to feel decidedly cartoony without being too static. In addition to featuring the same voice actors from the series, there are a number of key locations, such as Sweet Justice, and oodles of Easter eggs and homages to certain pieces of canon from previous seasons. On a larger level, the game will have elements of wish fulfillment that will appease DC fans as a whole, especially when it comes to the unlockable costumes. The idea of getting to play in a video game as New 52 Wonder Woman, Crisis on Infinite Earths' Supergirl, or Sean Gordon Murphy's recent Batgirl redesign will definitely appeal to even casual fans, especially seeing those costumes rendered in the game's style.
Sure, DC Super Hero Girls: Teen Power's first trailer arguably became a bit of a meme when it was first unveiled earlier this year. But when you actually spend time in the world of the game, you can undeniably see its appeal, both for fans of the series and DC Comics-savvy gamers in general. The gameplay is just the right amount of challenging and inventive, the candy-colored world is fully realized, and the narrative feels like just another chapter in the ensemble's journey. It definitely feels like the kind of game families and fans of all ages can get lost in, all while developing a newfound appreciation for the franchise in the process.
DC Super Hero Girls: Teen Power will be released on June 4th exclusively on the Nintendo Switch.