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Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon Because I Don’t Know! (Wii U) Review

/ Dec 6th, 2013 No Comments

Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon Because I Don’t Know! was developed by WayForward Technologies (with help from Adventure Time creator Pendleton Ward under Cartoon Network Interactive) and published by D3 Publisher. The game serves as the second game based off the popular cartoon show. Its predecessor, Adventure Time: Hey Ice King! Why’d You Steal Our Garbage?!, was released exclusively on the handheld Nintendo DS/3DS.

The latest Adventure Time title received a multi-platform release, including handheld and home consoles. Ultimately, Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon Because I Don’t Know! is a dungeon crawl-style game with a wide cast of fully-voiced characters who either help or hinder the adventure.

 

The main HUB world of the game, complete with characters!

The main HUB world of the game, complete with characters!

Story

Princess Bubblegum (P.B. for short) yet again has a problem revolving around strange science, post-apocalyptic enemies and a dungeon for the adventuring duo of Finn & Jake to explore. Oh, also Marceline and Cinnamon Bun show up for some reason. The story for Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon Because I Don’t Know! is literally just that — explore the dungeon because P.B. doesn’t know what is going on down there (which she blatantly states in a joke breaking the fourth wall).

The jokes are all very in-line with the show and enemies and allies all keep the Adventure Time feel alive despite technically only getting to explore one location in the land of Ooo. Dialogue of cutscenes (which are rendered simply using the same format as gameplay) does vary based on the characters engaged in said instance, which adds a nice touch writing wise. Acutal cutscenes of the game are rendered in an old-school 8-bit style and are prescripted regardless of which characters are present. The moments keep the story moving forward while providing hilarious moments that fans of the cartoon will appreciate. One particularly good instance of writing is an encounter with the first boss of the game, Demon Cat. The enemy says, “Ah welcome approximately one to four adventurers,” which keeps in line with the character’s recurring joke of “approximate knowledge” as well as serving as a fourth wall joke regarding the genre of dungeon crawl games.

 

Finn, the human boy, attempting not to suffer the fate of the rest of his species.

Finn, the human boy, attempting not to suffer the fate of the rest of his species.

Gameplay

In exploring Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon Because I Don’t Know!, all of the characters available to the player come with their own stats which can be upgraded throughout the course of the game. All of the characters also have a different series of moves, special abilities and innate bonuses that allow for a diverse party selection and add a fine level of replay value overall.

The gameplay is a dungeon crawl and players will find themselves exploring similar looking floors in search of a way down and any items to assist them on their journey. The medal selection (medallions equipped at the start of the delve downward to boost the player for their exploration period) as well as weapon options allow for diverse combat despite rapidly pressing the same button for attacks.

 

In the immortal words of Monty Python, "RUN AWAY!"

In the immortal words of Monty Python, “RUN AWAY!”


Enemy patterns change as the player descends further downward and new enemies appear to up the challenge. While not a novel concept in any way, Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon Because I Don’t Know! takes a common gaming formula and puts solid effort into it with such oddities as “cat guns” and “ice throwing stars” to add variety to combat while also referencing the show. Overall, the upgrade system is fairly simple; collect treasures in the dungeon, return to surface, spend to enhance character, wash, rinse, repeat. However, the fact that you do have to collect all the necessary treasure in one run as P.B. will take all remaining treasure as “candy tax” should you attempt to re-enter the dungeon, does prove incredibly annoying for the casual gamer as it requires somewhat of a time-sink for the higher priced upgrades.

Graphics/Sound

The overall look of Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon Because I Don’t Know! is very simplistic as it seeks to emulate older games with 8-bit graphics. All-in-all, the outcome isn’t unpleasant but it would be nice to play an Adventure Time game fully utilizing the current graphical capabilities of the modern age as opposed to simply trying to pay homage to the games of yester-year. That being said, it is a colorful and fun game to look at and play through without a doubt.

Sound, on the other hand, simply knocks it out of the park. The tunes of the game are catchy and entrancing while still paying homage to the past. The fully-voiced cast of the game (by the original voice actors no less) makes it very easy to fall in love with Ooo all over again as the player enjoys feeling like part of an Adventure Time story. As per usual with dungeon-crawl games, the sound effects can get repetitive at times, and the same sound-clip over and over for special attacks will wear on the senses after numerous floors of exploring. However, Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon Because I Don’t Know! does a fine job of making the repeated sound clips fun and interesting, particularly Cinnamon Bun’s summoning of The Royal Tart-Toter, which spits out a couple lines from his infamous “Cosmic Dance” speech.

Multiplayer

Prepare to be frustrated if you play Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon Because I Don’t Know! solo. While the number of enemies is increased according to the amount of players, the game is significantly easier with more people as they are able to revive fallen comrades and simply help handle the overwhelming swarm attacking beneath The Candy Kingdom.

Powerful combos such as Ice King & Marceline help weed through the enemies as Marceline can absorb certain ranged attacks while Ice King is able to dish out the pain from a far. The main complaint for multiplayer is the fact that treasure is not shared, each player must collect their own treasure, and while it can be given to another player once returned to the surface, the competition created by this factor does hurt the cooperative nature of the game.

 

Just a young boy slapping around a bunch of penguins, nothing to see here folks.

Just a young boy slapping around a bunch of penguins, nothing to see here folks.

Overall

Any gamer that loves Adventure Time will also find copious amounts of happiness in Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon Because I Don’t Know! Little things such as BMO appearing on the Wii U’s main controller to provide commentary throughout the game go a long way towards fan service in addition to carving out a funny and delightful little niche. Those unfamiliar with Adventure Time may feel like the sad loner at a party who didn’t catch the latest episode of “insert popular TV show here,” but everyone can find the game enjoyable from a simple gameplay standpoint. With the review finished and the scores tallied, what time is it? ADVENTURE TIME!

  

Greg Johnson

Greg Johnson

Associate Editor at Gaming Illustrated
Greg is a Nintendo fanboy who would cry if they ever went third party. He writes news, previews and reviews at Gaming Illustrated.
Greg Johnson

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ADVENTURE TIME: EXPLORE THE DUNGEON BECAUSE I DON’T KNOW! (WII U) REVIEW

Gaming Illustrated RATING

Overall82%

Gameplay8

All in all a varied combat system with fairly simple controls, but little things such as a surprisingly lack of tutorial and more importantly a treasure system that demands you collect all the treasure needed for upgrades in one go ultimately hurt the game overall.

Graphics7

Some of the smaller items in the game can be hard to recognize and while the old school feel to the game is mostly delightful, the want for a "modern" game in the graphical sense does sting the player a little bit despite the colorful and inviting look to the game.

Sound9

This fully voice acted game gives off the wonderful feeling of actually being a part of the Adventure Time universe, this mixed with a fun soundtrack make the game a delight to listen to and engage in.

Multiplayer8

The difficulty of the solo game is definitely helped by the multiplayer aspect and adds a great dynamic as exploring what characters make great combos for dungeon exploring serves as a lot of fun. However the fact that treasure is not shared does lead to a bit of competition in a game that overall gives off a purely cooperative feel.

Story9

Fans of Adventure Times will find themselves highly pleased with the amount of references and cameos that appears within the game, and the jokes inside will delight even the most stoic of game players.

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