Adventure Time should be a cartoon that can easily be adapted to a game, many of its episodes tend to fit the very structure of a level in an adventure and the pop culture references provide so much material that it could be the best game ever. This is one of the quandaries that Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon Because I Don’t Know! creates, just why doesn’t it work?
The main concept of the game is that Princess Bubblegum finds prisoners are escaping from her royal dungeons and she needs to know why. You as the player must explore the dungeons fight the monsters and escaped prisoners and generally do what you would normally do in a game with dungeons in it. Why should you do this? Well the princess has no idea and quite frankly I don’t think the rest of the game has a clue as to why either.
The basic concept of the game starts off well, you are pushed into the dungeon of a hundred levels which is full of monsters to fight and treasures to find. On each 10th level you’ll find a boss to fight and on each fifth level you’ll also be given the chance to transport out of the dungeon to spend your treasure that you’ve been collecting. Be sure to spend all of the treasure you have when out of the dungeon because you can’t stockpile it that is your one chance to spend what treasure you’ve found. This is annoying as you can’t stockpile treasure for later use. Luckily though there are plenty of things to upgrade for your character to strengthen them for the battles ahead.
The problem that Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon Because I Don’t Know! hits is that the game tends to not know exactly what it wants to be. The graphics and music have a 16-bit feel and the game does feel that it could happily run on a Sega Megadrive, which for nostalgia fans this will make them happy. The style of treasure hunting could be compared to games like Diablo, but because of the attempt to be a game pushing for nostalgia instead of Diablo the game feels much more comparable to Gauntlet, which is a game that many Adventure Time fans will have no idea what it is. Of course fans of retro will know it well and raise the issue that yes, while it does feel like Gauntlet it still lacks the chaos of that game.
Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon Because I Don’t Know! is a game that bravely does the retro thing, and this does fit some of the themes of Adventure Time itself, but the game just sadly lacks that magic of what Adventure Time is. The gameplay becomes repetitive as the dungeons offer little new, and there is little to push the gamer to keep on playing. Hard-core Adventure Time fans may stick with it to see what characters show up in the game, and they may be rewarded but for the most part the “I Don’t Know!” in the title pretty much gives away the weakness of the game, there is a lack of focus on what the game actually wants to achieve.
I’m sure that fans of the show will give Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon Because I Don’t Know! at least a try just because it’s an Adventure Time game and I’ll admit I’m a fan that did just this but for the most part, most people will notice the lack of focus of the game is its downfall. Aiming at a retro feel for the game is fine, but even then there has to be a meaning to the game and something to fulfil the gamers need for “Adventure Time” it’s a shame that this game can’t do that, and will leave fans reacting to the question of “why did you play this game” with the simple reply “I don’t know!”.
Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon Because I Don’t Know! is available now on PS3, Xbox 360, Nintendo 3DS and Wii U.