Preview: Adventure Time 3DS/DS Game

Developer: WayForward
Publisher: D3Publisher
Release Date: Fall

Adventure Time Hey Ice King! Why’d You Steal Our Garbage?!! is based on the Emmy nominated animated series on Cartoon Network.  Instead of follow any particular episode, the game has a completely new story that series creator, Pendleton Ward wrote.  There is a fair amount of dialog in the game, but that’s balanced with fun action sections.

Before I truly started playing the game, I decided to listen to the music contained in the title screen.  Game Director James Montagna from WayForward informed me that the music has been remixed specifically for this title.  Once I received that tidbit, it was onward to sample the adventuring. When you begin a new game, it puts you squarely in the shoes of Finn, the human boy.  Jake, his magical dog pal tags along in your backpack.  Finn has a variety of starter moves that include kicking and punching.  Unfortunately to begin, Jake is limited to a simple punch style attack from the backpack.

Although the two had basic attacks, there is an upgrade system in place that allows the heroes to gain new abilities.  For those who enjoy the show, you’ll be happy to note that Finn will eventually snag his golden sword down the road.  Jake’s upgrades weren’t really talked about at this particular event.  However, when I asked if “Jake’s Songs” in the menu options on the lower screen referred to him playing his violin, I was met with a bit of laughter.

The combat system is fairly basic and easy to use.  You’ll jump around obstacles, attack enemies, and gather items.  While attacking a few enemies, I noticed some gameplay that felt like a throwback to old school NES games.  First, if you are hit by an enemy, it can knock you back slightly.  This can make jumping over pits much more difficult if an enemy stands in your path.  Second, Finn’s down-thrust attack can only attack one enemy at a time, so you can’t pogo from one to the other in a chain. Another vague hint was dropped that this would be different once Finn acquired his sword.

A combat system wouldn’t be complete without a way to recover from battles.  That’s where the “Condiment System” comes into play.  Enemies will randomly drop items, some food related.  By tapping on these on the bottom screen, they will heal up Finn’s life which is represented by hearts on the top left screen.  The interesting twist to this is that you can combine different items such as a hamburger and ketchup to provide more of a health boost than the items alone.  Results will vary as to the effectiveness, which I can attest for with a salty hamburger giving lower results than the combo above.

Inspiration for this game was clearly from Zelda II: The Adventure of Link and starts to hit home once you make it to the over-world.  This consists of a top down field view with Finn and Jake walking where you direct them.  If you start to wander for a longer period of time, a random dark colored enemy will come for you.  These are easily avoidable, but if you happen to run into one, you’re whisked into side-scrolling combat.  You’ll not be allowed to leave until you’ve defeated all the enemies and opened the chest.  This could be annoying for those trying to quickly get through certain areas, but the enemies are all easily dispatched.

While wandering, you’re encouraged to explore the map for cities and other hidden goodies.  Towns can contain side quests for Finn and Jake to complete.  An example in the demo was the town of Housies where Princess Bubblegum was waiting at the end.  She tells you to go find an item that will allow you to gain the map.  Once the task is completed, it’s time to move on.

Even though wandering around isn’t linear, the boss encounters are for the most part.  You’ll fight a variety of enemies from the show including Donny who’s a real pushy jerk.  If you are defeated during a boss fight or otherwise, you’re sent all the way back to the last save point which are presented as Water Nymphs.  It shouldn’t cause too much of a fuss however considering Donny was a push-over.  He is the first boss though and it was hinted that the game does become more challenging.

WayForward is doing a phenomenal job with Adventure Time Hey Ice King! Why’d You Steal Our Garbage?!! so far.  The combat is fun and engaging.  The 3D effect works decently and is reminiscent of the way Colors! 3D does the stereoscopic layering.  Even the music is interesting to hear while playing.  Adventure Time fans will want to keep their eyes on this one.