I love Adventure Time. I think it’s one of the best cartoons on TV. As such, I was worried about the video game adaptation. Yes, Adventure Time: Hey Ice King! Why’d You Steal Our Garbage?!! sounded great in theory. Pendleton Ward was helping WayForward create it. It was following a classic action RPG formula. The screenshots looked amazing. Still, I fretted that the interactive incarnation wouldn’t do the show justice. Fortunately, all people involved have come through and though the game is shorter and easier than I would have liked, probably to appease the younger audience, it is everything I hoped it would be.
Adventure Time: Hey Ice King! Why’d You Steal Our Garbage?!! starts out like many episodes of the series. Finn and Jake discover the Ice King is up to no good. In today’s instance, he’s started stealing people’s garbage to make garbage princesses for himself. Jake’s feeling lazy, so he hitches a ride in Finn’s backpack offering limited assistance. Jake and Finn then go off to teach the Ice King not to steal everyone’s garbage to make princesses, inadvertantly saving the garbage princesses and recovering people’s property along the way.
Adventure Time on the 3DS has made me go back, re-experience and appreciate Zelda II: The Adventure of Link for what it is. I had it on the NES as a child and never got into it because it was so different from the other games. After enjoying Adventure Time: Hey Ice King! Why’d You Steal Our Garbage?!!, I’ve actually gone back and played it because the two are so similar. In Adventure Time, Finn and Jake are two icons walking on the world map until they happen upon a location or a random battle. Then, the game shifts to a 2D world with platforming elements. Finn has to hack and slash his way through enemies, occasionally noshing on food, using an item or using one of his or Jake’s special abilities to proceed. Town areas have people to talk to and quests to complete. It’s a fantastic homage to the original game and works well in general.
Though I’d actually advise avoiding the random battles. You gain nothing by fighting them. They just take up valuable time and often award some extra food products or a power up. Trust me. Adventure Time is simple enough where these power-ups will never be needed.
The food might be, but even that is debateable. The only time I found Finn needed to eat something was when he was facing the 100 Gunter clones in what I have now determined is the cutest boss battle to ever exist in a video game.
The food and condiments as healing items is an interesting mechanic, but never felt terribly critical in Adventure Time. It’s neat that the condiments can be added to make base foods more effective, but once you realize that you probably won’t be needed food all that often, it’s more a waste of inventory. That is, if you really needed the inventory space. There’s a special section for necessary quest items, like Wildberry Princess’ diary, so I found my inventory was clogged with foods and power-ups that I only ended up occasionally using in boss battles, if I remembered, "Hey, this is here and I could use it!"
The special abilities will also not be needed in general battles. Finn and Jake both learn special moves as they progress through Adventure Time: Hey Ice King! Why’d You Steal Our Garbage?!!. Jake’s mostly consist of abilities that allow the duo to reach new areas on the map or in dungeons and are helpful in exploring new areas. Jake’s are primarily for attacks, though there are some like a ground-pound move performed with the sword that open new areas. The first playthrough is so easy that using special attacks is really quite unnecessary, so it got to the point where I never used ones that weren’t essential to moving through areas and even forgot how to use general special attacks.
No, people won’t be coming to Adventure Time: Hey Ice King! Why’d You Steal Our Garbage?!! for the challenge. They’re coming for the story and the experience. Fortunately, that delivers. The game looks, reads and even sounds like an episode of Adventure Time. It feels like the plot and dialogue could have come from a made-for-TV-movie and the character art and environments look just as they normally do. The only downside is, there isn’t enough voice acting. The little bit that is there leaves me wishing there were more. On the plus side, there are some new songs and more Adventure Time music is always a good thing.
I’d say Adventure Time: Hey Ice King! Why’d You Steal Our Garbage?!! is a good first step. It isn’t the Adventure Time video game fans have dreamed of due to its length and easy difficulty, but the quality and attention to detail we crave is there. You can tell Pendleton Ward was involved in its creation and WayForward once again proves it can be handled to work magic and make games that could have been cash-grabs worthwhile experiences. This game is a good thing, I’d like more of it and I hope there will be a more ambitious and expansive sequel.
Food for Thought
1. I liked the use of relatively minor characters as well as major ones. As an example, Neptr, the Earl of Lemongrab, Dr. Ice Cream and Choose Goose all appear. Donny is even the first mini-boss.
2. If you have the 3DS version, enter the Konami Code on the title screen.
3. New Game+ cranks the difficulty up to a normal level, so I recommend playing the game twice.