A Good Adventure

Eventually you do hit special timed floors that change up the formula a little bit. On these floors you have to wait for a countdown to finish before you can leave and during this time you have to deal with a very large number of enemies.  If you are lucky you might get a bonus floor too which is full of gold and no enemies at all.
The enemy variety in the game is quite good even though the dungeons themselves are bland and boring. As you progress through the 100 floors you are offered new foes at a good pace that helps keep it somewhat fresh despite seeing the same environment over and over. You’ll encounter the easy to slay skeletons first, but eventually you’ll run into enemies that have different attack strategies that you have deal with. You’ll run into enemies that dash, shoot projectiles, grab you, multiply, and even ones that explode when they die. Unfortunately there is little incentive to actually kill these enemies outside of hoping for loot drops. It is not actually required to kill anything to continue to the next floor. For this reason if you really wanted to, you could just run around avoiding everything hunting for the exit. Floors that require keys to progress may make this strategy less appealing though if you lack keys.
I was playing the Wii U version so some may be wondering if their are bonus features with the Wii U gamepad screen. The answer to that is yes, and if you are an Adventure Time fan you will appreciate the extra feature it offers. On the screen BMO appears and offers you tips such as telling you about an item you just grabbed. BMO also has silly commentary when you are idle or if you pause the game. As you probably assumed you can also play the game on the controllers screen if you choose.
I did not get the chance to try out the multiplayer with anyone, but I can assume it would make this game a lot more enjoyable. I am glad it at least has some multiplayer option as dungeon crawlers are designed with friends in mind usually. Unfortunately they did not include an online option, which would have been nice in my situation.
Well, the game is not a graphics marvel or anything like battlefield 4 or battlefield 4 hacks, the dungeons themselves aren’t anything special to look at. I did like the beautifully animated pixel characters though. Each of them have a lot of unique animations for different actions and attacks. In particular I liked each characters unique chest opening animations. I’d have to see it in person, but I feel if they did the pixel art style for the dungeons as well it would look a lot nicer. One minor issue that bothered me as well was that the characters didn’t have unique animations for walking in diagonal directions.
Sound Design
The best part of the game easily. Some of the tracks were forgetabble, but I did enjoy many of the dungeon and boss tunes a lot. These thankfully change up throughout the 20 floor areas you are stuck in, so you never get sick of a certain song. Fans of Adventure Time will appreciate hearing all the original voice actors from the show as well.
Wrapping It Up
Overall I feel like this really is a game strictly for Adventure Time fans. While I did enjoy moments throughout the game, too often I felt like I wanted to move onto a new area already. If I was a fan of the show there would be a lot more for me to appreciate. Despite me not enjoying many elements, I think the developer did a great job on what I am assuming was their goal to create a updated version of the original Gauntlet. It essentially is a beefed up, much prettier, Adventure Time themed version of that. Whether you enjoy that classic, yet arguably dated gameplay is up to you though. The 40 dollar pricetag isn’t really helping it at all either. It honestly felt like a Xbox Live Arcade or PSN game and would have been very successful as that probably. It’s not a bad game, it’s just being sold at a unattractive price. Even if you are a fan of the show I have a hard time recommending it unless you don’t mind spending the 40 bucks. I’d say put your adventuring time on hold until a sale shows up.


The Adventure Continues

Upon leaving the dungeon or dying you lose whatever tokens you had equipped too.  I think if they handled the tokens differently such as having their effects activate as soon as you grab them mid-dungeon it would be a lot more fun. It would be more similar to recent roguelikes such as The Binding of Isaac and Risk of Rain. What made those games fun was the further you got without dying you’d keep getting stronger and stronger while gaining all kinds of wacky abilities. In ETDBIDK you are stuck feeling the same through the entire run outside of whatever sub weapons you pick up. For that reason the game can get boring quite fast and does lack the potential replay value it could have.
One aspect I felt the game did do well however was its bosses. Every 10 floors you are presented with a boss fight. The first boss was pretty standard and easy and I was under the impression I’d get rehashed ideas for each encounter, they ended up surprising me though. Each of the bosses I encountered offered a different unique idea. For example the second boss had me running from a crazed mob of monsters frantically avoiding walls and hitting buttons to clear the path. I don’t want to spoil anymore, but each encounter is unique. Some of these encounters aren’t traditional boss fights which some may not like, but I enjoyed the variety.
Despite the variety in bosses, one area the game really lacked in variety was environments. You are stuck in the same looking dungeon for 20 floors before it changes to a new one. It really should have changed up at least every 10 after each boss fight. Because of this it can feel boring for some as you are going through 20 dungeons that are pretty similar outside of enemy types.


Adventure Time Items

The loot in the game comes in the form of temporary sub weapons and tokens, which are items you can equip before entering the dungeon. There are a pretty good variety of silly sub weapons including the kitten gun, a sack of butter, egg bombs, and various melee weapons. Most of these, while funny ideas, just aren’t that great as they have limited ammo. I felt the melee sub weapon options were almost always the best choice since they didn’t use ammunition and were typically better than your basic attacks. I found that some of these melee subweapons did make the game feel a bit more fun temporarily too as they were considerably stronger than normal attacks and allowed you tear through enemies. The fun can only last for so long though as most of these melee weapons attack in a very similar fashion and only have a different appearance.  Randomized loot and an equipment screen to gear yourself up would have increased the fun factor here a lot.
The other loot type, tokens, offer various boosts to your character such as taking less damage, having an extra lump of health, doing more damage, and other strange effects as well like being able to float.  The idea of being able to customize your characters abilities before each dungeon run is a good idea, but I didn’t find many of the tokens to be that cool or interesting.


Adventure Time Abilities

It was pretty hard to time the blocks and the dodging has this annoying movement lock when it finishes and it doesn’t feel right. One of the characters, Marceline, does have a unique block ability though that can be held down to absorb small projectiles. I found having that ability to be more enjoyable and useful than regular blocking since it didn’t require the precise timing
Your last ability is a super move which can be used once your imagination bar fills up from various actions like killing enemies or grabbing a special item. These character specific super moves stop the gameplay momentarily for a quick cutscene and causes an effect such as dealing damage to everything on screen, freezing all the enemies, or summoning a helpful item. I liked how over the top and flashy each one of these are. Special abilities are also granted in battlefield 4 when you use bf4 hacks.
Now that you know how to play you are sent into the first dungeon. The basic structure of the game is very similar to the original Gauntlet, and perhaps too similar. You explore around a simple top down view dungeon battling monsters and collecting loot on the way to the dungeon exit. Every 5 floors you get a checkpoint which gives you the option to return to that floor at any time. You can also choose to return to the hub at these checkpoints if you like.
The hub is filled with a collection of characters and more are added to it as you progress. Some of these are the playable characters you can switch between, while others have different functions. A few of them sell stat upgrades for the playable characters so you can pump in more damage or health to one that might lack in that department. There is also a shop that sells various items. It’s up to you each time you return from the dungeon to decide how you want to spend your hard earned gold. You need to spend it too because when you return to the dungeon, Princess Bubblegum takes it all away as tax. It is very similar to what Rogue Legacy does if you played that indie roguelike title. Some characters in the hub may offer quests too which usually involve basic tasks such as killing a certain number of enemies or finding a specific item. While the hub’s offerings do provide some room for character progression and replay value, I feel it just isn’t enough. I was hoping to see more in depth character progression and maybe a more fun loot system in the game.


Adventure Time

The general concept of Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon Because I DON’T KNOW! (ETDBIDK) sounds amazing to fans of the show when hearing about it. A dungeon crawler based on the popular animated television series Adventure Time, sounds like it has a lot of potential, right? While polished for what it is, its dated gameplay holds it back from being the game I hoped it could have been. The surprisingly high price tag may turn away a lot of gamers too.
The premise of the game is that for some reason the Candy Kingdom’s prisoners are all escaping and Princess Bubblegum wants you to head down to explore the dungeon because I DONT KNOW!
Before heading into the dungeon you get to pick one of four different characters. These are Finn, Jake, Marceline and Cinnamon Bun. As you progress through the game you can unlock four more as well. Each of these characters also have unique stats and abilities, which makes it worth trying them all out. For example some characters may have more health than others or deal more damage. Certain characters that have lower health or damage stats might have a different advantage though such as having the ability to levitate.  This unbalances the gameplay a little bit but we are thankful that all characters in battlefield 4 and battlefield 4 hacks are the same. This ability is very good in this game too as it makes it possible to traverse over holes, water, and avoid other nasty things on the ground. I found myself almost always sticking with a character that has that ability as I felt a huge disadvantage choosing one without it.
Each of the characters has a few basic moves. One of the buttons will perform a regular attack and depending on the character you choose it will either be melee or ranged. This basic attack can also be charged up to do an even more powerful version with a unique animation. Some of these charge attacks do look pretty cool, but I didn’t find myself using them that much as mashing away seemed more effective.
There is also a block button, which if timed correctly can prevent damage and block projectiles. While holding it down you can press a direction to dodge as well. I didn’t really like the feel of the blocking and dodging in the game.