Few can deny that Adventure Time has a way with people. Not everyone can say that they “get” the show, but it still maintains a rabid fan-base. Lately, video game adaptations of the show have been released to try to capture some of that lightning in a bottle. The latest game, Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon Because I DON’T KNOW!, features the same cast of characters any fan would expect, but this time around, the crew is reimagined in a dungeon-crawling RPG. While most fans could probably get behind a project like that, the execution of this game in particular, leaves a lot to be desired.
The premise of the game is simple. You pick from a handful of characters from the show including Finn, Jake, Marceline the Vampire Queen and Cinnamon Bun and explore the dungeon beneath the Candy Kingdom. Princess Bubblegum hires you to do this because prisoners are escaping and it is up to you to determine why. You and your friends will fight your way through 100 floors with light RPG elements sprinkled in-between. Each character has their own stats and abilities, that can be upgraded by purchasing power-ups and finding badges throughout the dungeon. As you can tell, the premise is simple and it is even recommended for children to pick up and play, seeing as the control scheme is very simplistic.
The game itself consists of exploring a randomly generated level with enemies and loot generously distributed on each floor. You and your team are tasked with finding the next staircase to progress to the next level. Unfortunately, as you sink your teeth into the content described, nothing that the game creates ever feels inspired or grabs your attention. The enemies have nothing to do with the show and the objectives never change no matter what weapons you pick up. The game feels like a pointless grind and you’ll soon find yourself running to the next staircase just to move the game along. With a property like Adventure Time, you don’t want players running from point A to point B without experiencing the nuance along the way. Unfortunately, with the way this game is constructed, you find yourself doing just that.
If you find yourself able to get through the monotony of the game, you’ll encounter a game-breaking feature called the Candy Tax. See, as you progress in the game, you’ll earn money. You can then return to the Candy Kingdom, at any time, to get new items, buffs, weapons, etc. However, getting back to the Candy Kingdom requires you to pay a tax which gets very expensive quickly. This tax makes you give up a portion of your earnings for no reason at all. In addition to an ever-increasing tax, the price of items goes up as well. This leads to a situation where you are constantly getting less value for your hard-earned money. This system on discourages the player from continuing and leads to many frustrating situations.
Adventure Time fans may also be disappointed to learn that a lot of what makes the show so charming, doesn’t translate to the game. Much of the humor is lost and we are left with a rather sterile attempt at appealing to the fan base. If you were looking for the video game that finally immerses you into the wacky world of Adventure Time, this is not that game. The overall story in the game is dull and simplistic to a fault. The game naturally draws a comparison to the show, but when you compare the vibrant show to this uninspired game, the game dims in comparison.
In the end, Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon Because I DON’T KNOW! is a mess. The game seems to miss everything that fans love about the show while simultaneously creating a poor video game. The source material doesn’t emulate the show in any meaningful way other than allowing you to play as the main characters and hearing the original voice actors act. All of the humor and punchy-fun that is part of the life-blood of the show is just not present in the game. Even putting the source material aside, the foundation of a game is fatally flawed. The gameplay is extremely repetitive and when the game tries to challenge the player, it does so by using unfair tactics and uninspired methods of punishment. There really isn’t much to love about this game, so we are recommending that if you are an Adventure Time fan, stick to playing Hey Ice King, Why’d You Steal Our Garbage until the next game comes out.
This review is based on a review copy of Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon Because I DON’T KNOW! developed by WayForward, Published by D3 Publishers.
- Original Voice Actors
- Rushed / No Multiplayer
- Misuse of the Franchise