To be honest, I was looking forward to the all-new Adventure Time game after the rather good AdventureTime: Hey Ice King! Why’d You Steal Our Garbage?!! on 3DS. After seeing positive previews for the console versions of the title, I couldn’t help but wonder why there were no 3DS impressions to be found. Now that I have played the game, I know exactly why- the 3DS version is, unfortunately, a jumbled mess.
What upsets me is that with some more time and effort, this could have turned out to be a solid game, but instead it feels like a heavily watered-down port of the console version. You are tasked with taking control of one of four characters from the TV show, each with their own unique stats and abilities (there are four more unlockable characters). The gameplay consists of venturing through plenty of the dungeon’s floors, slashing away at monsters and collecting treasure while you’re at it. Doesn’t sound too bad, does it? While the game’s premise seems like it would provide a fun experience, the execution is laughably bad.
There is very little variety to be had here – each floor of the dungeon is undeniably similar to the last, making the game turn very stale very fast. While there are different areas to explore, they are all essentially re-skins of the last, in spite of a couple new enemy types. The occasional boss fights help break up the tedium, but even they aren’t all that fun to play. Every five floors you are allowed to return to the surface, and dying before then forces you to replay those floors, which is an absolute chore. Above ground, you can swap characters and purchase upgrades and items. However, you can’t save money between trips to the hub, so if you don’t have enough money on hand to purchase an item – that’s too bad. I find it baffling that the developers chose to include this limitation.
The combat in the game is very simple, which is its greatest fault. Players are given a standard attack, charge attack, super attack, and subweapons to use. It’s truly a shame that there are no combos to be pulled off, something that surely would have made the game less of a bore. The combat can be avoided by running past the brainless enemies to the exit, but then the game feels like nothing but a simple maze. Speaking of mazes, the map can be brought up at any time but frustratingly isn’t displayed on the touch screen during the action. The reason for this omission is a total mystery – how could the developers have left something so simple out? Also, the multiplayer mode is one of the game’s most advertised features, but is nowhere to be found on 3DS. Trudging through floor after floor with others via Download Play is certainly something the 3DS could have handled, and the game would’ve benefited greatly from it.
Explore the Dungeon’s – well, dungeon – is fairly bland to look at, and the game’s visuals suffer heavily on 3DS as a result of being downscaled from consoles. The character and enemy sprites are vibrant and true to the show, but the blocky 3D environments they inhibit clash with them violently, creating a visual style that is rather unpleasing to the eye. The game doesn’t look any better in motion, chugging along at a painfully slow framerate whereas it runs silky smooth on consoles. Simplifying the environment into 2D drawings probably would’ve fixed this problem, but clearly the developers were too focused on rushing the game to market. To top it all off, the steroscopic 3D effect is minimal and adds nothing to the game. The graphics in the game are the biggest sign that it was ported carelessly and lazily to the platform.
I’ll gladly admit that Explore The Dungeon’s audio is its strong suit, but that really isn’t saying much. The game features only a handful of songs, and a few of them are actually pleasing to the ear – the first 20 times you hear them. Since the tracks are very short, they’re on an infinite loop and will eventually drive you insane. A nice touch is that the voice actors from the show lend their talent to the characters, but not actually in the dialogue. Characters blurt out one-liners while you explore, which are only funny the first time around. However, since the audio files have been shrunken down onto the simple 3DS hardware, everything comes out very fuzzy and difficult to hear at times. This is a game best played with the the volume off. Enjoy it with your own, hopefully better, music.
Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon on 3DS is very disappointing. It is the worst version of a game that is only decent to begin with. If you buy it at all, pick it up on the home console of your choice. This dungeon is one best left unexplored.