Adventure Time is one of Cartoon Network’s most popular animated series, with tons of episodes (at least one even won an Emmy), as well as other products and even a previous console video game that I reviewed about this time last year (click here to read that). Now Jake, Finn, and the rest of the Adventure Time crew are ready to go multiplatform in a brand new quest (360 version reviewed here). Criminals are escaping from Princess Bubblegum’s dungeons, and she doesn’t know why. So she sends Ooo’s bravest heroes down into the depths of the dungeons to find out what’s going on down there. Play as Jake, Finn, and a host of other Adventure Time friends in this multiplayer dungeon crawler.
First choose a character to play as, and up to four can go at it at the same time. You start out with four characters: boy hero Finn, his stretchy dog friend Jake, vampire girl Marceline, or Cinnamon Bun. As you complete floors in the dungeon, you’ll unlock other playable characters, like Lumpy Space Princess, the Ice King, and more. Each character has his or her own strengths and weaknesses. Some excel at close range combat with swords or fists, while others use long range attacks. Some have more energy hearts, while others can heal themselves. Floating characters like Marceline or the Lumpy Space Princess can even fly over pits. Only problem I had was I couldn’t play as MY favorite character: BMO. He is in the game, though.
When you’re ready to delve into the dungeons, talk with Princess Bubblegum. She’ll give you a mission to complete, and it can be anything from collect a certain amount of treasure or defeat a boss. Gameplay is a mix of classics like Mystery Dungeon and Gauntlet titles. The floors are randomly generated I THINK (like the Mystery Dungeon series), but the action is more like Gauntlet, with enemy lairs you must destroy to keep baddies from regenerating. Collect money to buy upgrades on the surface, food for health, and even sub-weapons. After every five floors or so, you have the option to leave the dungeon and come back to the surface. You can choose to go back to every fifth floor you’ve completed on subsequent missions.
On the surface, you can talk to various other characters from the show who can upgrade your stats and let you buy items, so long as you have enough collected treasure to do so. You can also store items you’ve gathered in the dungeon to keep so you don’t lose them later. You can also find tokens in the dungeons that you can equip to your characters on the surface to give them stat boosts on the next mission. There are even hidden secrets in the dungeons, like game cartridges you can use to play mini-games with BMO (I wish I could unlock one of those). Just make sure to spend all your money and treasures before talking with Princess Bubblegum again. Once you venture back into the dungeons, you don’t get to keep any of your collected treasures. Candy Taxes, she says. Luckily the further down you go, the treasures become more valuable.
The game features authentic voice acting from the show, and plenty of humor, too. They even make fun of others games in this style, as sometimes characters and enemies have an 8-bit or 16-bit look to them. WayForward developed this game, too, so you know it has an air of quality to it. Only problem I had with the game is that it can be a little repetitive, plodding, and slow-paced. But then, I mostly played as Cinnamon Bun, so that may be the reason right there. And if you’re not a big fan of the cartoon, you won’t get a lot of the jokes or recognize the characters. But if you love the show and don’t mind slower-paced gameplay, you’ll enjoy this one. And it’s lots more fun when you do multiplayer, too.
Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon Because I DON’T KNOW! is rated E-10 with ESRB descriptors of Cartoon Violence and Comic Mischief. While you do hit enemies with weapons and spells, characters just fall over and disappear when defeated. If you’re OK with your kids watching the cartoon, they’ll be OK with the game, too. Reading skill is a must for the text, but as a multiplayer title, older gamers can help out younger ones if need be. Some kids might get bored at the repetitive nature of the gameplay, though. Die-hard fans of the show who enjoy slower-paced dungeon crawlers should still enjoy this one, however.