"WHAT TIME IS IT?" There's two answers to that popular question. Either it's time for some regular adventures in a suburban neighborhood or it's time for a group of adventurers to wreak comical havoc upon an animated kingdom.
WayForward has a long history of crafting the type of games that are throwbacks to the golden era of 16-Bit gaming. Their first foray into the world of Adventure Time (Hey Ice King! Why’d You Steal Our Garbage?!!) was an enjoyable outing that made series fans believe there were more good games coming their way. WayForward’s goodwill with fans/gamers may take a huge hit to the gonads though, because Adventure Time: Explore The Dungeon Because I DON’T KNOW! is an epic fail.
What’s immediately noticeable about this game is its loyalty to the source material. The top down, 2.5D graphics do a good job when it comes to capturing that cartoon feel. Finn, Jake and the rest of the Adventure Time cavalry look good enough. Their random quips and super move animations bring out the personality and quirkiness that fans have always loved. It’s just too bad that these attributes are being wasted on such a monotonous and drab dungeon crawler.
The plot is silly, which is expected of a cartoon franchise that has a character named “Cinnamon Bun.” The story is used as an excuse to take four characters onto 100 floors within a randomly generated dungeon. Each of the floors is divided into 20-floor segments that focus on a particular theme. This hurts the fresh factor of adventuring through so many floors, since a majority of them will look too similar to a previous one. While the first few stages will amuse you, you’ll quickly grow bored of the repetitive “bash enemies, collect loot” formula that makes up the bulk of this title. The four-player co-op may also be entertaining in quick spurts, but any prolonged gaming sessions will quickly send your finger to the eject button.
The gameplay itself is a huge detriment to a release that had the potential to be great. But a few other game mechanic tropes really damage this game’s quality. Players can’t return to the surface until they complete five floors, which really sucks when you’re low on health and far away from a life saving checkpoint. This game may look easy, but its difficulty ramps up as you head to higher numbered floors. In-game tokens provide the necessary boosts/perks your character needs, but you’ll notice no major difference in the minute to minute gameplay. Sure, your attack power is better but you’re still doing the same boring attack the whole game.
The lack of a map icon is entirely frustrating as well. This issue really rears its ugly head on the Wii U Gamepad. Why couldn’t WayForward include a map on the touch screen? It makes total sense, yet it’s not an implemented feature. This problem is also prevalent on the two-screen equipped 3DS, as well as the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions. All of these aforementioned knocks on the game suck the life out a dungeon crawler that could have been something special.
Adventure Time: Explore The Dungeon Because I DON’T KNOW! is not worth anyone’s time. Casual gamers who just want a Diablo 3-lite adventure they can play with the young ones will grow bored within minutes of bashing the same attack button on the 3rd floor. Adventure Time fans will be left wondering what went wrong. As for everyone else, they probably won’t care enough to spend their time with this torturous experience.