What time is it?! It's Adventure Time… well at least it's time for us to review Adventure Time: The Secret Of The Nameless Kingdom. Of course this would be the latest installment for the franchise in video game form from WayForward Technologies and Little Orbit for the PS3, PS Vita, Xbox 360, 3DS, and PC. The first time I believe an Adventure Time title has been on these specific platforms and the 3DS but that's another issue. Does Adventure Time: The Secret Of The Nameless Kingdom give you the bang for the reduced buck is the issue here. So without delay let's dive into the Land of Ooo and the review. Ah…verse…
Finn, the human, and Jake, the dog, have found themselves in a new adventure set upon them by Princess Bubblegum. Try and stay with me here if you are not fans of Adventure Time already. They are set to the titular Nameless Kingdom to do what they do best; kick butt and save princesses from the perils that they somehow always get themselves into. In this case it is Lullaby Princess, Slumber Princess, and Nightmare Princess. There is a coronation they are needed to be in attendance for and they just haven't shown up. Insert Finn and Jake and then we have Adventure Time! Sometimes I wish I was making this stuff up…
The largest gripe I have for Adventure Time: The Secret Of The Nameless Kingdom would have to be the control scheme and how that was all managed. It was even the basic Legend Of Zelda style and it seemed to get plagued by issues that caused huge game affecting problems. Like when you are in the menu screen and you go to exit; the natural thing to do is press the Circle/B button to back out. This does the case but gods help you if you have an item assigned to that slot as the game will automatically think you meant to exit the menu and use said item. Even if it is a one use item that you can only get on the exact opposite side of the game's world. That happened too many times during my play-through where I would have to shut the whole game down instead of breaking my controller.
Another aspect that ground my nerves was the fact that outside of story dialog in Adventure Time: The Secret Of The Nameless Kingdom there are only TWO canned voice clips for pretty much every action in the game and they like to fire off every other time you do it. You can only here "I'll treasure this!" and "Collecting all the rupples!" so many times before you want to put your game on mute and miss out on the actual dialog that was recorded. Adventure Time: The Secret Of The Nameless Kingdom has a 16-bit style to it so I know it wasn't a storage issue to try and cram in a few more variations to try and not grate the nerves. It also couldn't have been the voice cast schedule that limited this too as other options could have been easily lifted from the show directly and blended in perfect. This just seemed like an easy way out was taken.
Lastly, Adventure Time: The Secret Of The Nameless Kingdom gives so few clues as to what to do next. Some would label it is as difficult but when you have absolutely no clues as to what to do you make a game unplayable. For instance there is a part of the game where you need to make a character blocking your path move away. He is looking for a good laugh. That is your ONLY clue. You have access to the whole world in the game and there isn't even a point of reference to start looking. As Adventure Time: The Secret Of The Nameless Kingdom is filled with good laughs EVERYWHERE there is no way to truly know what the character is looking for. No one else in the game's world offers up anything on top of that. Vague clues like this almost made it so I couldn't progress further into the game and that a fun game does not make.
I am a huge Adventure Time fan. I've been one for some time now. Adventure Time: The Secret Of The Nameless Kingdom completely plays the fan service and then some. With callbacks to very specific episodes and events the game totally gives the feel and fun of the cartoon. Being a fan of all of the references, characters, and everything kept me going in the game even when I was frustrated and could move on. Even minor things like finding a book based on the adventures of Fiona and Cake showed that WayForward took their time to try and include all kinds of aspects from the show for the game. None of which felt like it was shoehorned in to try and force a love for the game because of the love of the show. Everything had a purpose and wasn't there just for the "WOW" factor. Great use of the IP overall.
If you've been reading here for a while now then you may know that I am not a fan of "retro" gaming at all. That era had its time and we need to move on. Adventure Time: The Secret Of The Nameless Kingdom actually brought back the love for games like the original Legend Of Zelda and Paladin's Quest for me. So much to a point that I seemed to forget that the whole game was built and designed in the retro game theme. This is something I thought I was going to loathe about Adventure Time here but it felt more like its own game and not just a re-skinned version of something we all loved when Saturday morning cartoons were still a thing to wake up and get excited for. This is not a nostalgia game as it is more of an introduction to that style of games for the new generation of gamers.
Lastly, again, don't mistake this for the gripe I had above but Adventure Time: The Secret Of The Nameless Kingdom did have some good challenges mixed in with the lack of clues. This comes in the form of the boss fights and trap puzzles more than anything. There are no clues as to how to bypass them short of visual and trial and error. Unlike other games were you are told "Use weapon Y to kill boss Z," Adventure Time: The Secret Of The Nameless Kingdom makes you look for the enemy's weakness. This is the same for how to disable things like spike traps and other pitfalls that you will encounter. You don't need to be Sherlock Holmes to figure things out but it is not easy. If only that would have translated over to world exploration and story progression then I wouldn't have differentiate between the two.
If you are a fan of Adventure Time and have the extra $40 USD to drop then I would be surprised if you haven't done that yet. Adventure Time: The Secret Of The Nameless Kingdom is a huge fan service title that true fans of the show and franchise will fall in love with. If you are looking at it as just another game then you will be let down as there are many development choices or flaws that plague the game. If it was not for all the fun references and addition to the Adventure Time universe then I most likely would have given up on Adventure Time: The Secret Of The Nameless Kingdom in the first few hours. But even the most passive Adventure Time fan will be able to enjoy the game enough to work past the issues I encountered.
Adventure Time: The Secret Of The Nameless Kingdom — Launch Trailer
Adventure Time: The Secret Of The Nameless Kingdom was developed by WayForward Technologies and published by Little Orbit for the PS3, PS Vita, Xbox 360, 3DS, and PC. Adventure Time: The Secret Of The Nameless Kingdom released on November 18th, 2014. A copy of the game was provided by the publisher for reviewing purposes.