Adventure Time: The Secret of the Nameless Kingdom review for Xbox 360, PS3

Platform: Xbox 360
Also On: PS3, 3DS, PC
Publisher: Little Orbit
Developer: WayForward
Medium: Disc/Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: E10+

The popular cartoon Adventure Time has been given the video game treatment before. Although they’ve been entertaining and mostly retain the charm of the show, they never really captured a huge audience. This time, Finn and Jake go on a vast adventure that is so reminiscent of the classic Legend of Zelda series that even people who have never heard of the show will be on board!

As the game begins, you take control of Finn the Human, the title hero. His sidekick Jake the Dog calls to Finn from inside his mind to explore the castle to find him. It is here you get familiar with the play controls. As the search for Jake continues, you find treasure, and defeat enemies littering the play field. Eventually, Jake says it was all a joke and was in Finns? pocket the whole time. Neither of them can remember why they are in the castle until they find Pillowmint Butler (yes, that?s his real name). Pillowmint explains there is a dark force plaguing the Nameless Kingdom and asks the help of Finn and Jake to set things right. When you are given the first set of tasks, it will not take long for memories of ?A Link to the Past? to set in as almost the entire game seems to be modeled after the Nintendo classic.

Adventure Time 2

Even the enemies, shops, dungeons and the hidden caves (with fairy fountains) bear a striking resemblance to the Super NES masterpiece. Retro gamers will feel right at home with the games presentation, while fans of the TV series will feel like they are interacting with an episode, thanks to the spot on writing and the voice work from the original actors. From the first bit of adventuring to solving puzzles in the many dungeons that await you, I found it difficult to put this one down. Nothing is really spelled out for you as what you have to do, but at the same time, none of the tasks you are given seem to be too taxing or difficult to complete. Since the game provides only cryptic clues as to what you need to do to accomplish a task, you feel a strong sense of satisfaction when you figure something out. This type of genre is a really good fit for the source material!

Controlling Finn is a breeze for the most part. You can move in all 8 directions around the play field which can take some getting used to in an overhead game like this. Sometimes you can be knocked back by an enemy or go to collect an item and be thrown into another part of the map accidentally, which sometimes can be a pain. Along your travels, you can find scrolls that let Jake learn different powers that can help you, such as the Jake Shield. Some of Jake?s powers are needed to proceed through the game, like the Jake Grabber, that helps you open doors and grab items (just don?t try to grab a fairy). Battling enemies works well, but leaving an area and returning will make all the baddies respawn. This is a small annoyance, especially when some rooms require you to beat all of enemies for a door to open, and you?ve had to backtrack through the same room a few times. Speaking of backtracking, you will be doing a small amount of this especially in the dungeons to find certain items. It?s not a large amount, but can get tedious after a while.

Adventure Time 1

Visuals are a mixture of classic 8-bit sprites and High Definition surroundings. The characters are animated well and fit together with the static areas for the most part. It really doesn?t match the look of the TV show, but it is visually pleasing as you play. Sound effects are you typical 8-bit beeps and blips mixed with some great music tracks and voice overs. While the voices in the cut scenes are expertly done by the original cast of the show, the small voices you hear during gameplay repeat a little too much. It?s fun to hear Finn say ?Grabbin? all the Rubbles? when finding money the first few times, but after the 20th time, you?ll want him to shut his trap.

Despite its small annoyances, Secret of the Nameless Kingdom is a blast to play, for gamers and fans of the TV series alike. It never gets boring, but also doesn?t get too difficult. At first, I didn?t think I was going to enjoy playing, but before I knew it, I had 2 dungeons complete and several hours had flown by. Fans of the classic Zelda series will dive right in and feel right at home, while fans of the series will love the humor and character design. This type of game is a perfect fit for the Adventure Time universe and really shows that you can make great games from TV shows if you know what you are doing, which WayForward clearly does. It?s a budget price title, so there?s no excuse for you not to add this to your collection, unless you hate having fun.

Grade: A-