Adventure Time: Explore The Dungeon Because I DON’T KNOW!
Publisher: Namco Bandai (Europe), D3Publisher (North America)
Platforms: PlayStation 3 (Reviewed), Xbox 360, Wii U, 3DS
Release Date: 21st November 2013 (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360), 12th December 2013 (Wii U, 3DS)
Price: $57.99 – Available Here
One of the very few good Cartoon Network shows that is present in this day and age, Adventure Time came almost out of nowhere and exploded into popularity in such an extravagant way which, if you’ve seen the show, is exactly the way they would have wanted it to be. Created by Pendleton Ward, this show began its run in the April of 2010 and still to this day we’re all seeing brand new episodes every week, each more insane than the last and audiences of all ages are absolutely in love with this show. Adventure Time has branched into many different mediums like apparel, action figures, video games, the list goes on. With two console games under its belt at this point in time, as well as some browser based titles and some iOS titles, Adventure Time: Explore The Dungeon Because I DON’T KNOW! has instilled excitement into fans, with its four player co-op and it’s extensive dungeon crawling it truly seems like a perfect Adventure Time game.
Adventure Time itself has a very unique way of storytelling; it starts off as something quirky but small yet grows into something that you’d sooner find in a fever dream rather than in a TV show aimed at children and sometimes it can become a little overbearing but that’s the show and that’s also its appeal. The game is basically like that, it starts off simply with Bubblegum Princess calling for help from within the kingdom walls, obviously Finn and Jake (the main characters) rush to the Princess’ side, she explains that every enemy of the kingdom that has previously been defeated is locked up in the enormous dungeon below the castle and, slowly but surely, they’re starting to revolt and escape…that’s where you and your friends come in.
You can choose between a handful of Adventure Time favourites and you also unlock some along the way while you go through the story, characters don’t entirely matter within the story, you can choose whoever you want and still feel included, so they’ve done that correctly. The overall story is completely original and is also written by the series creator which is fantastic for fans of the series because that way you know for sure that it will be silly, quirky and all your favourite characters will still be as appealing as they are in the series.
As you travel through dungeons, slashing and bashing everything in your way, you come into contact with bosses and sub-bosses which you will remember from the TV Show, most of them have some sort of dialogue that relates to the overall story too so I guess you can say they’re not just there for the sake of it. Without going into a great deal of detail I’ll say without a shadow of a doubt that there is nothing wrong with the story throughout this game, you’re given just enough of a reason to actually play through the game and just when you hope for some sort of cut scene or character interaction, boom, it’s there to keep you interested.
Despite the fact that you constantly go on little side missions for a bunch of the cast, the story in its entirety floats along with you like a happy little cloud, you remember what’s going on and what you are ultimately heading towards time and time again, and I think it’s just a nice reminder that you’re actually playing this game for a reason and, just a bit of forethought, you NEED that reminder the more you play this game.
Dungeon crawlers are fantastic little games that are pretty much guaranteed to keep you busy for hours on end, what this game does better than anything else is bring friends together to make playing it all the more better but before I get into that allow me to give a basic explanation of how the game works: You begin each of your gaming sessions in a small overworld populated solely by familiar characters, each of these characters do different things for you when spoken to; some may give you quests, some may swap out with the character you’re currently in control of, some may beef up your character to make them stronger and some may sell you items.
Once you’re done with with the overworld you head into the levelled dungeon areas where a great deal of the game is played, this is where you travel through dungeons and mazes while fighting off hordes of enemies one level at a time. Obtain gold, pick up weapons and stat buffs, find hidden areas with rare treasures…I think you get the gist of it. Back to the overworld you can equip tokens to your characters to make them faster, stronger, more sturdy, etc.
It’s repetitive to say the least. As much as I love this franchise I have to be honest in a review and the honest truth is that it gets boring after a while. Now I played this game with a fellow Capsule Computers employee and it did make the gaming experience better as we sat back and laughed at each others on-screen antics and the antics of the characters themselves, us both being Adventure Time fans really added to the experience and I can NOT imagine playing this game alone.
I really feel like this is what WayForward were going for while creating this game, it is ONLY local co-op which forces friends to be physically near each other, something I feel a lot of games are lacking in this day and age, it’s also the aspect of this game that enticed me the most, being able to sit there with good friends and enjoy a simple game is one of the greatest gaming experiences I can think of. Unfortunately for the game it gets highly repetitive and I understand that “highly repetitive” is a very common insult to give to a game but this one truly felt as though it was getting old. All I can say is; if you can get a whole bunch of happy-go-lucky friends together to play this game…you should, it will definitely make it a whole lot better.
Every character you could be within the game differed slightly which gave you the option to play in different ways; some had more health, some were close-range fighter while other were long range, some could block and dash, others could absorb projectiles, what I’m trying to say is that WayForward gave these characters individual traits so that these characters weren’t just re-skins of a basic animation, it gave you a reason to think twice about who you’d choose and, while playing with friends, it added a level of strategy to the game; having a person who can absorb projectiles being a shield for another who was a long-range attacker is just one example and it was one that we actually used while playing so I can tell you first-hand that there is a certain degree of strategy to it.
The addition of “special moves” is, I think, something great because it breaks up the constant hack and slash of it all, though it does literally take you away from the game which means all other players stop their fighting just to watch an individuals special move, had this feature been downgraded to allow a constant flow of action it would have been mush better.
Much like the series, this game was aesthetically brilliant! Somehow WayForward mixed both sprite animation and CG animation in a way that just worked so damn well. Everything was absurdly smooth, the game flowed so well within itself, you didn’t mind the clash of vibrant colours and the darkness of a dungeon because it looked great! The only thing I’d have to take points away for would be the art style of the “special moves”, while everything else was either pixelated or CGI, the “special moves” looked as though they were animated like the series and THAT didn’t fit, in some cases it actually looked pretty ugly but fortunately they didn’t turn up that often.
The dungeons get a little repetitive, you go through about fifteen levels before you see the introduction of water panels within levels which add the colour blue to a stage, THAT was exciting for us because we were getting bored of the dullness of the greys and blacks. Don’t get me wrong, the dungeons DO change and you’re thrown into different environments but it’s just that you’re playing for hours on end before you see any drastic change. Characters all have their little mannerisms and signature poses or dances as well as their creepy or cute facial expressions that, once again, fans of the series will find infinitely funny, much like we did. Despite what it lacks, the game is animated well, it doesn’t look dodgy as a whole and does great justice to the series.
The audio throughout this game works almost the exact same way as the visuals did. The voice acting was fantastic and so were all the sound effects and a great deal of the music throughout the game. Characters had their little quips, they sang a small tune while doing certain things, and they always had a comment that related to what you were doing in the game, it’s great! It does make you feel like you really are playing as these characters; Marceline’s “yummy” as she absorbs a red projectile, Lumpy Space Princess’ “I gotta’ tell Brad” while picking up an item, they make for big laughs over long periods of time as you and your friends start repeating the lines alongside the characters.
Unfortunately, much like the visuals, some of the music gets extremely repetitive and annoying, especially when you’re travelling through areas with no enemies making any noise to fill what becomes a sense of annoying “silence”. For the most part though, the game has a fantastic soundtrack and the voice actors and actresses do an extremely good job with the characters, I cannot fault them because it seems like they’ve gone above and beyond to really make it feel like their characters are right there with us.
Adventure Time: Explore The Dungeon Because I DON’T KNOW! is a down right great game for fans of the series, unfortunately though, people who are NOT Adventure Time fans will not be as forgiving as those of us who are, while we continue to play through because it’s simple, easy and reminds us of one of our favourite shows, others will most likely not feel that way and that’s entirely justified. One fairly big thing I want to outline before the end of this review is that, had this game been released as a downloadable title, it would have been received so much better.
If the game was released as a cheaper game just through digital distribution a great deal of the audience would have cut it some more slack, it’s a fantastic game but with the price tag that is slapped on it it’s not only going to drive people away but it’s going to force people into expecting more from it and, while that’s extremely unfortunate, it’s the honest truth. Like I’ve already mentioned several times; the game is great, it has a lot to offer and even though it lacks certain key things it is still a nice little game for a bunch of friends to get together and play.
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