Games based on popular movies or cartoons typically end up failing to meet the acclaim of their non-interactive counterparts. Whenever a game like this comes around and is actually more than decent, it’s always a pleasant surprise. For fans of the beloved Cartoon Network show, those expectations will be exceeded in the series latest gaming iteration, Adventure Time: The Secret of The Nameless Kingdom. The game is a top-down role play gaming, that plays identically to the original Legend of Zelda titles that revolutionized the adventure genre decades ago. Playing as protagonists Jake the Dog and Finn the Human, players are tasked with controlling the two best friends on their adventure.
Within seconds, players familiar with The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening might feel like they’re getting a similar mysterious introduction to Nameless Kingdom. Just as Link wakes up on a mysterious island in Link’s Awakening with little to no explanation, you start the game as Jake, searching for Finn in an anonymous castle. Minutes later, you learn that Finn was in Jake’s pocket the whole time and that Princess Bubble Gum has asked the duo to save three princesses trapped in three different castles in the Nameless Kingdom (I’m sure you know where this is going.)
"The game is a top-down role play gaming, that plays identically to the original Legend of Zelda titles that revolutionized the adventure genre decades ago."
Once you’re caught up with the general mechanics of the game – you have a sword, shield, grab and two buttons for special abilities or items – and hear some of the banter atypical to the cartoon, you’re off on your very own Adventure Time adventure. Despite the game being a complete clone of the original Zelda games, this adventure is unique and fresh with much of the same charm fans of the show are familiar with. Most characters are voiced by their original voice actors, with no shortage of appearances from fan-favorites like The Ice King and Marceline the Vampire Queen.
The map is smaller than that found in most Zelda games, but players will become familiar with every inch of it, exploring all of its multi-level, baddie filled, mountains, swamps, caves and castles. While there is only three main dungeons, players will take Jake and Finn all over the map to obtain special abilities and items such as a fire spell or plastic baggie to complete the abundant amount of puzzles and obstacles.
"Anyone who’s ever played a Zelda game and been confused as to where to go or what to do next may also have a hard time."
The signature Adventure Time humor can at times fall flat in its transition to a video game format. Having Finn constantly yell, “Getting all the Rubbles!” or, “I’ll Treasure This!” gets old fast. I found myself practically muting the sound effects after one hour. Some of the dialogue isn’t as side splitting as the television show either, rarely prompting more than a chuckle or two. Still, it’s much more humorous than other games typically intending to be funny.
Fans of the show who aren’t as experienced with top-down adventure games might find themselves becoming frustrated. Anyone who’s ever played a Zelda game and been confused as to where to go or what to do next may also have a hard time, as the game is sometimes directionless and proves to problematic in its pacing. I believe there’s also something to be said about a certain nostalgia factor in this game as well. Anyone open to the difficulty of a traditional video game will find themselves challenged by the games’ puzzles and will likely admire its sense of open exploration and adventure.
Review by: Chris Suarez | Reviewed on: Xbox 360