Previously released games in the Adventure Time line-up have been, well, less than favorable. I’m still trying to get over the poor Gauntlet knockoff Explore the Dungeon Because I Don’t Know!, and the other games, well, have been pretty down there in terms of quality.
But there is a minute spark of hope with Adventure Time: Finn and Jake Investigations, which doesn’t go for the usual action approach. Instead, you follow the duo as they attempt to solve a series of mysteries, using clues that are strewn about through stage. These are told in the form of “graybles,” which is Cuber’s way of saying “fables,” I suppose. Still, just roll with it.
The gameplay mainly consists of the point-and-click style of mystery, where you roam around and talk to various characters in the hopes of finding the right clues to solve the current mystery at hand. You’ll also explore through the stages in order to find particular items, where Jake will lend Finn a hand with his transformation abilities. For instance, you won’t be able to climb down into a moat unless Jake forms some kind of slide form to get down easily. They work together pretty well.
In addition, there are combat scenarios, in which Finn battles a certain amount of enemies with slash attacks. If he hits them a certain number of times, he can team with Jake on one of four super abilities, such as the Jake Suit, which creates a huge Hulk-like being. They have their charm, but don’t really connect to the rest of the game. It’s like they were added on just for the sake of being added on. (Or someone REALLY likes the Jake suit.)
In general, it’s not bad, but it’s also not as involving as you would prefer. The mysteries do have some humorous moments throughout, but it can take a while to get through each one, and having to gather up clues can be a little tiresome, especially for veteran players. Kids, however, should feel right at home here.
The presentation isn’t too shabby, as it’s closer in nature to Adventure Time than most of the previous releases. That said, it still smacks of first-generation Wii U fare, instead of something that takes advantage of today’s stronger hardware. There are lots of unpolished edges in the level design, and the animations can be a bit too loose for their own good. Still, kids will love it.
And the voicework is probably the best part of the game. Pendleton Ward and John DiMaggio lend a hand with the rest of the cast, and sound just like their cartoon counterparts. Also, it’s great having the goofily wonderful Emo Philips on hand as Cuber, narrating you through most of the game’s proceedings. I just really wish that intro song would go away – it’s too annoying.
So while I’m still not quite sold on Adventure Time having a quality game release, Investigations is better than most of the previous ones. It’s pretty well told as far as its mysteries go, although its shoddy combat and pacing could use a little sprucing up. The presentation also isn’t bad, although it’s not the greatest either, but at least it’s true to the show. Fans may want to give it a look, but it doesn’t quite make the top “graybles” list to add to your collection.