Adventure Time: Secret of the Nameless Kingdom Review
“Adventure Time! Come on grab your friends! We’ll go to very distant lands.”
Now that we got that out-of-the-way, Wayforward and Little Orbit bring you the next installment of the Adventure Time video games, Secret of the Nameless Kingdom. Join Jake the Dog and Finn the Human as they embark on a new journey in the mysterious Nameless Kingdom. All your favorites from the show are there, like Finn, Jake, and Ice King. Finn and Jake will have their work cut out for them, trying to rescue the princesses of the Nameless Kingdom. They can handle it; it’s their destiny.
Along the way, Finn and Jake will have to take on some pretty tough customers. Not to worry, our heroes have lots of gear in their arsenal to fight with. Jake can use his magic to change shape and become helpful items like a shield or big-hand to grab things. Finn has some helpful attacks as well, like his grass sword and bananarang. He can also use Jake’s grabber-hand attack to grab enemies and store them in zip-lock baggies, for tidy storage.
The Game Behind The Game
The game plays so much like The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past it’s scary. When I played the game at E3 this year, the developers said that ALttP was used a lot for inspiration, and it shows. A prime example of Secret of the Nameless Kingdom using SNES Zelda as “muse” is the world map. The castle is in the middle and each of the 3 Princesses are in a separate location of the world, like the Southern Palace, Desert, and Death Mountain. The Bananarang does the same thing the boomerang did in ALttP, stunning enemies for a short time.
The overworld map has that Zelda feel to it, as do the graphics. If you didn’t know any better, you would think you were playing a Zelda game. The writing is an example of how the game differentiates itself from Zelda. At the start of the game, Finn can’t find Jake, but he can hear him. Logically, Finn thinks Jake is speaking to him through telepathy but he is actually in his shirt pocket. The voice acting for the main characters is the same as the show so Jeremy Shada and John DiMaggio bring Finn and Jake to life,like only they could. The writing makes you feel like your watching another episode of the cartoon and that’s what good writing does.
A Link to the Past is my favorite Zelda game and other fans like me will get the in-game references like the first dungeon boss’s fighting style/movements being very similar to the Southern Palace dungeon boss. You defeat them by smacking their “hams” with Jake’s Grabber-hand that you got in the dungeon, just like the Zelda dungeon formula.
Now, with every game there are high points and then there are low points. Adventure Time: Secret of the Nameless Kingdom is no different. I was playing the PS3 version and the control scheme kept giving me problems. What I mean by problems is when you hit the wrong button to attack time and time again. I wanted Finn to attack with his grass sword and I kept pressing the wrong button, that didn’t have any action assigned to it. You would think that you would be able to change the control layout in the menu but that wasn’t the case. The game isn’t forgiving at times and puts the player in a lot of “have to take damage to get up the stairs/into the area” type movements. Blind jumps were an annoyance in the past and it seems they rear their ugly head in Adventure Time.
The game sends you on quests to deliver items to certain characters all over the Nameless Kingdom. This is a hassle over time since most of these characters are located in caves that you’ll have to backtrack to. This type of game-play adds to the replay value but hurts the immediate gameplay because it feels like you're getting the runaround from the game.
The Mr. Pig/Treetrunks quest is a prime example of the runaround. You find Mr. Pig, wondering where Treetrunks is. Then later on, you find Treetrunks and she gives you a love letter for Mr. Pig. Then you have to remember where Mr. Pig was, which isn’t an easy task, and bring him the love note. You then get the chance to buy an item that can heal. You get the run around for health. If it was a special item, I could understand the quest but it just feels like running around for the sake of running.
Adventure Time: Secret of the Nameless Kingdom should be perceived as a very good game for the Adventure Time franchise. It parlays the Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past into a modern feel with an Adventure Time twist. However there are moments that hurt the game, like control issues and pointless quests. In the end, Adventure Time: Secret of the Nameless Kingdom is worth a look from any fan of Adventure Time or A Link to the Past. It just has a few “scratch your head” moments that make you think it could have been done better.