GAME NAME: Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon Because I Don’t Know!
DEVELOPER(S): WayForward Technologies
PUBLISHER(S): Namco Bandai Games
PLATFORM(S): PC, PS3, 360, Wii U, 3DS
GENRE(S): Action Adventure
RELEASE DATE(S): November 15th, 2013
Adventure Time, a show that has very quickly smashed its way into our blurping hearts with its unique humour, lovable characters and overall originality. While Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon Because I Don’t Know! includes many of your favourite characters, this is about all the game delivers on. An unfortunate and shattering fact, even for the most diehard of fans.
Finn, Jake, Marceline and Cinnamon Bun are the initial characters called upon by Princess Bubblegum. It has come to her attention that in her castle’s underground dungeon, there are many foes that need to be dealt with aaaaaand that’s pretty much the story. Calling Explore the Dungeon an actual dungeon explore/crawler is an insult to the genre and all Diablo fans will cringe at the thought of these two titles being mentioned in the same review. The fact is that everything, yes EVERYTHING, in this title is simply a repetition of what happened earlier in the game. This applies to the voice acting, monotonous gameplay, even the humour is recycled, something one wouldn’t expect from Adventure Time.
The idea behind Explore the Dungeon should make for an automatic win in everyone’s book. A top-down dungeon explorer in which you can upgrade various characters with their own unique abilities and loot for treasure in order to obtain more items. All of this while making use of an aesthetically pleasing retro 16-bit environment. If only the execution of these principles wasn’t so half hearted. No, if only it WAS half-hearted, it would actually be an improvement on the end result. Each character plays in a slightly unique way, but it doesn’t really matter who you choose to use as the underlying mechanic remains the same. Sub-weapons initially show some promise, I mean who doesn’t like the idea of a kitten gun? It’s a pity that actually using these sub-weapons is about as effective the Ice King’s dating techniques.
Once you work your way through a number of dungeon levels, you are either presented with a boss fight or you return to the surface where you can spend your hard earned treasure. It is at this point that you can level up and equip yourself with the most unnecessary items you could think up. Once you are done, it’s time to return to slaving away through more dungeons although you’ll have to sacrifice your treasure as ‘candy tax’ and start looting from scratch. This concept might work in some titles but not one in which the progression is as pointless as what it is.
Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon Because I Don’t Know! takes you through 100 tedious dungeons, a handful of uninspiring boss fights and senseless looting that in the long run isn’t even that necessary to progress. The game’s visuals are probably the only upside to the title, if only the gameplay wasn’t as dated as the visuals aspire to be. Very often games with a specific market will be picked up by fans alone. Explore the Dungeon isn’t worth the full retail price even if you are a retro-loving, dungeon crawling, Finn & Jake loving fanboy.