Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon Because I DON'T KNOW! Review
This one is a major disappointment. Riding high after last year's excellent 3DS title Adventure Time: Hey Ice King: Why'd You Steal Our Garbage, developer Wayforward had all the ingredients to make this year's Adventure Time game, Explore The Dungeon Because I DON'T KNOW!, a winner. Take the formula that worked in HIK: WYSOG - the top down/2D side scrolling mix inspired by Zelda II - and beef it up into a game that lasted more than six hours. Not only would this year's game be as good as last year's, it'd be better! No dice, unfortunately. Adventure Time: Explore The Dungeon Because I DON'T KNOW! is an ugly, boring cop-out of a game, failing to live up to the previous 3DS title or the show it is based on.
If you are interested in the story, congratulations; you have already invested more time on this aspect of the title than the developers did. There isn't a story, beyond Princess Bubblegum simply requesting you explore this 100-level, randomly generated dungeon. That's it. Players can choose between Jake, Finn, Marceline or Cinnamon Bun and begin clearing floors, either alone or with some unfortunate soul you manage to convince to play this game with you. The sparse dialog you do get from the characters is written, with the voiceover being the actors saying, "blah, blah, blah." Fitting for a game that is just that - blah.
It's clear the developers looked to arcade style dungeon crawlers and roguelikes for their inspiration on this one, but what they took away from those games' styles wasn't what made them great. You (and an unfortunate friend, maybe) tackle every floor of the 100 level dungeon the same way. You view everything top down, you wander around floors that seem both too big and too small and fight a handful of non-threatening enemies. Every five floors gets you a checkpoint, every 10 gets you a slightly more interesting boss fight. And that is what the game quickly becomes - a series of floors raced through to get to the next break or boss. And I mean "raced through"; I found myself barely even pausing to pick up treasure or fight enemies. It is just a straight line from entrance to exit; other objectives seem less important than just getting things over with as quickly as possible.
It doesn't help that the game's "retro" stylings just seems like bad graphics dressed up as "old school" or that the Adventure Time license is barely used at all (you could slap any property at all on this basic game framework and it wouldn't be any different). Admittedly, I am a bigger Regular Show fan than an Adventure Time one, it's still sad to see such a fun show dragged down by the laziness of licensed game hell. It stings even more because the previous Adventure Time game, Hey Ice King: Why'd You Steal Our Garbage, was a brilliant yet woefully short game that appealed to Adventure Time fans and nonfans alike (I know, I was a nonfan before I played that game). It will be a sad holiday if Adventure Time: Explore The Dungeon Because I DON'T KNOW! is on your list of gifts to give or receive. Stay away from this one.
Final Rating: 45%. Explore the Dungeon because I don't know? I don't know why you would want to either.