Thursday, October 25, 2012

3RM @ NYCC 2012: Adventure Time: Hey Ice King, Why'd you Steal Our Garbage?


Nowadays, there are few cartoons that are as crazy and unique as Adventure Time.  While the series has several moments reminiscent of video games, there has not been a full video game release using the franchise, until now.  Adventure Time: Hey Ice King, Why’d You Steal Our Garbage? is the series’ debut video game onto the Nintendo DS and 3DS, and D3 Publisher was showing off a build of the game at New York Comic Con for us to play.  While we were not permitted to show showfloor footage of the game, we got to interview Senior Marketing Manager Fernando Bustamante about it for you to enjoy in the video above.  After having played a bit of the game, I will say that Adventure Time is shaping up to be a fitting game for the show with great animation and humorous monsters and scenarios.

In Adventure Time: Hey Ice King, Why’d you Steal Our Garbage?, our story begins when Finn has a nightmare involving the Cosmic Owl and Jake, but when he wakes up, his best dog buddy helps him feel better by letting him destroy his secret teacup collection.  Just as they run outside to start another day of adventuring, the Ice King emerges to inform them that he has taken their trash.  Now while Jake is quite content with this, Finn thinks something is up (and taking someone else’s stuff is not right, even if it is trash), and so the two go on an adventure to get their garbage back and kick Ice King’s butt, as always.

Adventure Time is an adventure game with inspirations from a variety of games with a unique twist in the mix.  The game is primarily a side-scroller in which players control Finn and Jake working together to progress through the wilderness of The Grass Lands, The Candy Kingdom, and other memorable locations in the Land of Ooo.  Initially, Finn and Jake have few means to fight off the rock and sign monsters around, but over the course of the game, they can obtain battle abilities to boost their strength and fight enemies in a multitude of ways.  The gameplay feels very similar to that of Zelda II: Adventure of Link, and the callback to it only gets greater when you travel around the map.  In an overhead view, Finn travels around the Land of Ooo to his next location, occasionally getting help from the shape-changing Jake to cross gaps and traverse the land.  If they wander off the main path, however, monsters appear and can take the heroes into a random encounter!

Outside of the obvious callbacks to older adventure games, Adventure Time's gameplay is enhanced with the help of BMO, the heroes' companion gaming device.  Once he joins the party, he takes up the bottom screen, and players can use him to see Finn and Jakes' stats, the world map, and their inventory.  The inventory ranges from food to magic crystals, and using these items in-game can help heal the duo or temporarily boost stats or attack enemies on screen.  Also, items can be used on each other, providing a boost of effects; for example, adding syrup to pancakes will boost the healing effect they provide.  However, combining items incorrectly can do more harm than good; nobody wants ketchup in their milkshakes!

I got to play the game from the beginning, and on the 3DSXL, the game looks very good.  The character animations are extremely smooth, and the colorful worlds display very well on the 3D display.  It looked like a diorama of the Adventure Time world, with highly-animated characters and monsters abound.  The game did not have much in the way of voice-acting, but from what I was told, there should be more voice acting implemented in the final version of the game.  How much, though, I do not know.

My experience with the game was good, but I must mention that the game is quite difficult to start.  I found myself dying often in the earlier stretch of the game.  I imagine that it was more my rushing through the demo than it was the game's difficulty, but even so, there are a lot of enemies to fight in each environment.  I hope the later parts of the game experiment more with the level design, too, as I only really saw flatter landscapes rather than vertical and wide-open mazes to explore.  I did not use the inventory system much through my playtime, but I suspect using BMO in conjunction with newly-acquired battle abilities will break away from any potential monotony.  Of course, what chance is there for monotony in an ADVENTURE TIME game written by creator Pendleton Ward?  Probably very small.

Adventure Time: HIKWYSOG? looked great at the show, and while the mechanics were simple early on, it was just the opening of the adventure, after all.  With WayFoward and the show's creator behind this game, I have a feeling it will be a worthy component to the series and our handheld collections.  When it comes out this November, I have a feeling I will know what time it is.

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