Friday, November 23, 2012

Review: Adventure Time: Hey Ice King! Why'd You Steal Our Garbage?

Adventure Time

Here I am, back into the habit of buying a game Day 1. After the waste of time that was Mass Effect 3, Adventure Time: Hey Ice King! Why'd You Steal Our Garbage? is a pleasant surprise. A small surprise, but one nonetheless.

Let me shoot straight right now, this is for fans of the show, and those fans happen to be kids. As expected, the game is easy. A real "pick up and play" sort of deal. Not that there is nothing for older fans of the show to enjoy in terms of gameplay, but keep this in mind reading forward. Kids. Game. Kids game.

For all fans of Adventure Time this game does not disappoint. Dialogue between Finn and Jake rings true; same goes for every other character. I can mentally hear the character's voices and their delivery with some of these lines. Should be of no surprise that a few lines were written by Pendleton Ward himself, although Wayforward does a fantastic job as well. The story may be quite simple, and it is, there is a sense of fun and adventure that is emulated right from the TV screen to the DS screen.

Music was something I was on the fence about. Some of the early tunes just didn't hold my attention, actual TV songs notwithstanding. After completing the first dungeon the entire thing changed, moving from serviceable to catchy. The soundtrack may not set the world on fire, but it at least steps up its game.

Graphically Adventure Time is charming. No two ways about that, things are adorable. To Finn and Jake dancing to BMO's face as the bottom screen, everything visually aims to please. Animations are also extremely well done. This isn't your standard shovel ware TV licensed video game, some real heart and soul went into making it.

Going through the wonderful aesthetics, the less than stellar part rears around the corner. The gameplay is a little lackluster, the game can be confusing, and it is short.

Obviously Zelda 2 is a giant inspiration for Adventure Time: HIK!WYSOG?; there really is no denying it. The problem arises because this is a kids game, everything is so easy! Fighting is never a tense affair, because Finn's attacks are always powerful and items are everywhere. Platforming is also incredibly easy, never offering any real challenges. Again, kids game. I'd like to point out a small irk, jumping is finicky. Sometimes Finn has momentum, other times not so much. This became apparent when I kept dying at a simplistic jump and realized that Finn had a 2 second delay after jumping once. The confusing thing, a little bit later he was jumping up and down like Super Mario. Huh.

I'm not a child. I'm slightly more advanced than that, but some of these objectives are real head scratchers. In fact most of the things to complete are not told very well. I wandered around for thirty minutes trying to find out where Ice King hid Finn's sword until I accidentally talked to a "house person" I had previously talked too. There was no prompt, no marker, no in game "go here!" clue. If I had trouble than I can only imagine children will as well. It gets better as the game progresses, but a sense of wandering around aimlessly always exists.

A small aside, the game's color palette leaves a few things to be desired. Jumps and holes are usually the same color as the backround, causing a few needless deaths. In my first attempt at the tree dungeon I became lost, since the black door melted into the dark brown wall. It could be I'm playing on a DS and not looking at the screen in the perfect way, but that was confusing.

The game is short. Now you know, because I sure did not. My eyes sort of popped out when I beat the Tree Dungeon and was 25% complete with the game; an hour later I was 55% done. I've been seeing 5 hour playtimes from online, so don't expect a real sweeping adventure.

With all that Adventure Time: Hey Ice King! Why'd You Steal Our Garbage? has to offer, the game is a solid buy. I would recommend this for parents picking up a game for their kids, and for Adventure Time fans wanting to play a solid game. By no stretch of the imagination is this a classic, but a real solid step up from bad licensing.