The Adventure Time cartoon is known for it’s high quality, great animation, wacky stories and for being a major influence in western animation post 2010. But the series is known for gaming through having a lot of nods toward gaming culture and a number licensed games from WayForward.
This studio is famous for it’s work on the Shantae series and made a few games in based on Adventure Time. All of them take influence from Zelda in some fashion. This installment in the series, which released back in 2014, is a top down Zelda-like title where you explore a new location to he series The Nameless Kingdom.
With charming wit from the show and taking inspiration from one of games classics, does this game offer a fun Adventure?
Finn and Jake are sent out on a new adventure under the request of Princess Bubblegum, with her asking to help the land of the Nameless Kingdom in finding it’s three princesses to decide which one will rule the land. Finn and Jake accept this task and venture to this new land, alongside many iconic characters in the series like the Ice King popping up.
As someone who enjoys the series, it was nice seeing the voice cast (most of them I believe) return to voice Finn, Jake and everyone else in this title, as it matches the dialog which mirrors what we see in the show. Very funny moments happen and I enjoyed most of the story of this title.
While it is nothing major or grand in the series, it is nice seeing Finn and Jake go on an expansive adventure with us joining them on their quest.
Gameplay & Design
Adventure Time is a series that focuses on Adventure, so the game taking many notes from The Legend of Zelda series makes a lot of sense. Finn and Jake move across a large world with four different sections in a top-down perspective. Finn can use his Grass Sword to attack foes (like how Link can in A Link to the Past or A Link Between Worlds) while also using Jake as a shield with the R button (mirroring Link’s ability to block attacks with his shield). You also get various items like Baggies (which function like the Bottles in the Zelda series), tools like a Banana-rang and new powers for Jake (which range from a hammer-like ability and grabbing things with a giant hand).
Exploring is the name of the game here, with various spots to use items in opening up new locations. For example, you need a Baggie to access the first dungeon and the Jake Hand ability to store items like Bombs in Baggies. I loved exploring the world as it really felt like a well-designed Zelda adventure. Different spots have cracked walls, pillars and more that can be interacted with once you have the right tools. This makes the world push backtracking, which is easy thanks to a detailed map that you have access to right from the start of the game. The Nintendo 3DS version of this title has the maps and items on the bottom screen, making it easier for exploration if you own that version.
Dungeon design is also well done too, with simple puzzles that can be challenging but not overtly challenging. The game has a nice balance, ensuring that everyone can just hop in and have a good time. This is further pushed thanks to a very generous check-point system, so when you die all the progress you made in exploring dungeons (puzzles that you completed, items you used/found, keys you used/found, ect) are saved.
One issue with the game that similar to the original Zelda, you are thrown into the world with little guidance. Meaning that if you wanted to just go from dungeon to dungeon, you will be doing some mindless exploring until you realize “Oh! I had to do find this item, okay.” I didn’t mind this, as I love exploring the overworld’s in Zelda like titles but I can understand the frustration people may have over this design mentality.
Overall the core gameplay and design is solid, with it creating a very fun and enjoyable adventure that all gamers can find fun with.
Adventure Time mixes 3D visuals with 2D sprite work to great effect. The world itself is in 3D but all the characters and animations are using sprites, which creates a nice tone matching the series. Story scenes are with drawn character stills, which are well drawn and match the show.
Music is adventurous and is well composed. The overworld’s two different themes are fantastic, with one pushing for grand adventure while the other pushing towards a serious tone telling the player ‘You NEED to save this Kingdom!’.
The voice acting and sound effects should be noted though, as the VA’s from the show are great here and show the same level of energy and heart that you see from the series various episodes. Sound effects are good, with sword swings and different effects being satisfying to listen too.
On the Vita the game pops off the screen thanks to the great sprite work and other platforms this game is released on mirror the high quality presentation.
This game offers a wealth of content if you explore everything. Collecting every important object and completing various side challenges for the many NPC’s will take some time and completing the game should take a good 5-7 hours for the main story alone.
Story – 4 out of 5 / Gameplay & Design: 4 out of 5 / Presentation: 4.5 out of 5 / Lasting Appeal: 4 out of 5
Adventure Time: Secret of the Nameless Kingdom is a quality action/adventure game that any fan of either the cartoon series or the Legend of Zelda series can find a lot of enjoyment with. While not perfect, the game does a lot right with fun core gameplay, solid design work, plenty to do and a strong presentation matching the tone of the show. This is a quality adventure everyone can enjoy.
Overall: 4 out of 5
I reviewed this game using the PlayStation Vita version through purchasing my copy. The game is out now on the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Nintendo 3DS. The game is currently at the price point of $0.99 on the North American PSN Store for the PS Vita version as of November 11th, 2016