Preview: Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon Because I Don't Know! is a multiplayer adventure that matters
During the San Diego Comic-Con this weekend, Cartoon Network's Adventure Time had a huge presence, between the Ice King booth where you could literally walk into his mouth (there were stations inside) and the star-studded panel that brought out hoodie-wearing fans in droves. But that wasn't all, as the ShiftyLook Arcade housed an upcoming console game that fans could check out.
The game, officially titled Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon Because I Don't Know!, is a nearly top-down action/adventure where you control up to four characters as they work their way through dungeons and overworld maps, collecting items while defeating enemies. In a way, it's almost kind of like Gauntlet, but with the presence of familiar characters from the show. Oh, and it's silly. But you knew that.
Adventure Time will feature numerous playable characters, but, for our hands-on time with it, we stuck with Finn the human and Jake the flabby-armed dog. Players can drop in and out of a session at any time, though there's no confirmation whether it will have online support or not. (It's not looking likely, but you never know…)
In the game, you begin by going into an open world hub, where you deal with a variety of characters to prep yourself for the quest. This includes talking to Loose Goose, among others, and picking up supplies and weapons you're going to need. From there, you'll head over to a manhole, where you'll decide which level you'll start on (beginning the first time around, you'll automatically head to level one) and venture into the catacombs.
From there, the game uses a nearly top-down perspective as you explore through the caverns, defeating enemies with your attacks – Finn with his sword, Jake with punches – and collecting items like gumballs and other power-ups. Occasionally, you'll need to destroy generators, in pure Gauntlet-esque fashion, to avoid new enemies from popping up. It's relatively easy to do, and the more people you have in your party, the merrier. (As stated before, up to four can join in.)
The gameplay is easy to get into. You've got an attack button, and you can also call upon secondary items that enter your arsenal should you find another weapon to use. You can also block and evade attacks from larger enemies, a tactic that works very well when it comes to larger enemies that can take a lot of damage. It reminds me of the simpler dungeon action games of old, but set on a level that all fans can enjoy.
And if you somehow lose all your hearts, your buddies can come over and resurrect you so you can get back into the fight. The only way this fails is if all your characters are defeated, in which case you'll need to start over again. Guess things aren't easy for Jake or Finn – or the giant orange slice that you can play as. (Anyone know his name? The PR rep didn't say.)
As for the graphics, they're still in a somewhat unfinished state, with blurry textures. However, the dungeon design is unique, and the action is fairly easy to keep track of as you work your way around. It can be tough spotting an entrance to a room at times, due to the fixed perspective, but it's still enjoyable running around and seeing so many elements from the Adventure Time world. Due to the loudness of the ShiftyLook Arcade, though, we weren't able to hear any audio. (The final game will include music and voice acting from the show.)
Explore the Dungeon Because I Don't Know!, which is currently in development at WayForward (DuckTales Remastered, Regular Show), is a different take from the side-scrolling 3DS game that introduced the franchise to video games last year, but it's certainly looking to be a lot more fun. We'll see how it fares when it arrives later this year for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii U.
One thing's for sure – we need to play as B-Mo!