As far as Adventure Time goes, any time I get to pretend I’m Finn and dance with Jake and Beemo… it’s a good time. Naturally, one would assume that that a videogame featuring the inimitable Finn and Jake would be a party. MATHEMATICAL!
…or sort of. Way Forward’s attempt to capture the ever-expanding world penned by Pendleton Ward results in a 12-hour-plus ditty for the 3DS titled Adventure Time: Hey Ice King! Why’d You Steal Our Garbage?! The game plays similarly to early 90s sidescroller adventure RPGs, in fact, almost precisely modeled after Zelda II: The Adventure of Link.
Finn and Jake wake up one morning in their tree fort and lo and behold, they realize the Ice King has stolen their garbage. It’s up to them to discover the reasoning behind the Ice King’s kleptomaniac activities and help a few friends along the way.
The hodge-podge of the Land of Ooo translates pretty well on an over world map format with enemies to fight between places. As the story develops, Finn and Jake pick up more abilities to help defeat enemies, though these enemies vary from pushovers to downright slam-your-console hard. Unfortunately, abilities are intertwined in the storyline, so at certain points you will find yourself wandering and hitting some questionable dead ends. Abilities picked up are listed in a handy little Beemo touch screen, which also serves as your backpack of stuff and a map. And the abilities are funny as they are useful. Though a dog as a boat, I question.
A unique feature includes adding condiments to food, which allows you to experiment with things like bug juice and milkshakes, ketchup and cupcakes, etc. Controls are fairly intuitive and combat is based on an HP scale. As this is a videogame based off an all-ages cartoon, Way Forward focuses on beat-em-up until they pass out or cry rather than death.
Despite this, the story is solid, with plenty of tasks that you can immerse yourself in. They’re simple, fun and all sorts of silly–a sticking point in Adventure Time. The Land of Ooo is represented by four different regions that you’re tasked with visiting and finding out just what shenanigans the habitants are getting into, which tends to be more fun than the overall plot of finding the Ice King and… discovering just what the heck he’s doing with Finn and Jake’s garbage. Crossing in between worlds happens often, as the game requires you to visit people all over the Land of Ooo. Be prepared to get tired of certain enemies and laugh at the sheer hilarity of others.
Gameplay is fairly straightforward, where you add HP and strength to your character the further you go into the story. I found that the game felt way more fulfilling towards the second quarter, where you do lots of tasks to help other characters. It was most noticeable in Candy Kingdom, a place that translated well from TV to the 3DS. The characters were true to their nature, equal parts goofy and totally honest. It was a refreshing bit in the game, and a sharp contrast to Marceline–who I punched a few times. In all honesty, I actually love Marceline but in the game, she was just difficult enough to be irritating.
The game toes the line between fun and totally Rhombus! to… kind of not cool. Its pitfalls tend to fall in its Zelda II-mimicry. That is to say, if you don’t remember where the Ice King told you to go to find him and his weird as heck garbage princess…you’re going to wander a lot. I spent almost three hours just wandering around because my attention span was so short during two key plot points. Also, the bosses are stupid hard at odd points–right in the beginning, nearly three fourths into the game, and at the very end. Boss progressions don’t match and accumulating tons of abilities/food doesn’t always help.
While the game has some highs, there are some lows that tend to irritate me a lot, but that’s probably due to the game it is formatted after. Adventure Time: Hey Ice King! Why’d You Steal Our Garbage?! at the end of the day is a game that you play because you enjoy the expansion of the show. Fans of the show will dig the dialogue and squee at the well-translated adorableness of all the other characters.
It might not be totally algebraic, but Adventure Time: Hey Ice King! Why’d You Steal Our Garbage?! has a whimsy that is worth visiting, which can be totally rhombus if you’re looking for it. It’s just hidden in the details.
(Editor’s note: A publisher’s copy of the game was provided for this review. Review copies are provided as a courtesy, and do not influence the opinions of Pixelitis.)