Friday, March 8, 2013

Review: Adventure Time, Hey Ice King! Why did you steal our Garbage?!

Review by EggBeatr8. 

Title: Adventure Time: Hey Ice King! Why did you steal our garbage?!
Developer: Wayforward
Platform: Nintendo 3DS
Bottom Line: Even if you don't watch the show, this game will keep you entertained at least until the Credits roll.

 For the sake of brevity I'll just call the sub-title "3DS" for this review. 
Many video game heroes have a good reason to set out on the adventure: princesses being kidnapped by fire-breathing turtles, finding some 16 year-old girl's memory because she has amnesia, to tracking down a maniacal warlord set on controlling all worlds (but first, let's go sing with Ariel!)- Finn and Jake are out on an adventure because a wizard stole their garbage. Now they have to trek the land of Ooo in search of Ice King to see what he's up to, while helping Princess Bubblegum find her stolen panty hose on the way. You can probably guess by now that this is based on a ridiculously weird Cartoon Network show, but it's just like any other Adventure Time episode, albeit in video game form. While licensed games are usually bargain bin material, WayForward steps in and makes a very decent game while retaining the odd charm of the show. The adventure lacks some depth, but it's still a very enjoyable game. 
Fans of Zelda 2: Adventures of Link* (*raises hand) will really enjoy the retro shout-out to that game, for Adventure Time 3DS is inspired heavily from it. On the map screen you'll travel top-down RPG style, while enemies appear randomly on screen, and you have the choice of either confronting them or avoiding them altogether. All battling/exploration turns the game into a side-scrolling action game, again, akin to Zelda 2. Rewarded items in random battles can be viewed on your BMO, the Game Boy look-like-alike that appears on the bottom screen, and any item can bee used by touching it twice or holding down L and using the D-Pad to help Jake rummage through the bag. Both method makes you a sitting duck, so using healing items early on is a much wiser tactic against boss battles. You can also mix and match items to make better items with even stronger healing properties. Some of the possible item combinations will produce some very weird concoctions that are surprising still edible. (Salt on their Ice Cream anyone?) 

Adventure Time 3DS captures all the goofiness of the show and adds much more than just used fart jokes. The writing is hilarious, though it may lead to a confusing adventure at the first half of the game when you get the Ragged Sock for instance: "Yeah give it to the elephant, Tree Trunks, to make a pie of course!", but even when the storyline is obscure as it is I couldn't help but to play it through just to see what happens next. I couldn't help but chuckle when "It's Dangerous to go alone, Finn" was quoted, and the amount of implied innuendos the game offers will make you wonder how this game got just an E+10 rating.

The game also has a few customization options to make the journey feel a little less tedious. Jake's special powers like morphing into a bridge or an umbrella, and smashing road blocks with his fist are fun to use and makes backtracking less of a chore later in the game (though it can be tedious in the beginning of the game). Finn can't level up by just defeating enemies. You'll have to search high and low for stat boosting up stars in treasure chests in key locations in the land of Ooo. Leveling up gives you the choice of increasing either your Health, Attack, or Attack; at a maximum of four stat boosts for each stat. While this allows more experienced gamers to make the game a little harder, it still doesn't change the fact that Adventure Time 3DS is pretty easy throughout the whole game. Enemies always go down in a few hits no matter how great your attack power, and there is always an abundance of healing items- so great in fact, you'll fill up your bag in a matter of a few battles. I played almost the whole game with only two hearts, and I only died a few times at one boss fight and only because I was paying too much attention to the finicky item screen; the other instance where I failed was at the final boss fight the same way. The rest of the game was a pushover. Thankfully, a New Game+ offers a harder challenge, but it's a shame it's not an option at the beginning. 

While Adventure Time 3DS may not pose a huge challenge to some, it's still a very good game in my book, particularly for a licensed game. If nothing else, Adventure Time 3DS will give you a good laugh for your money (but maybe find it for cheap).

The Good:
+Gameplay inspired from Zelda 2 will make retro fans happy.
+Hilarious writing. SO SPICE! 

The Bad:
-An abundance of  health items and generous stat boosts make the game a little too easy.
-Backtracking at the beginning of the game is tedious.

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