Like any other day for Finn and Jake, the spirit of adventure festers powerfully in the two. What starts as a prank performed by Jake to get Finn riled up turns into a full on journey to save a triad of Land of Ooo princesses. Adventure Time: The Secret of the Nameless Kingdom is a top down, action-adventure RPG taking place in an unknown region of Ooo. Early on in the game, Finn will be propositioned to well, you know, go on an adventure.
My very first impressions and everyone elses in the office that gazed upon the game said the same thing… “so it’s basically The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.” As much as I try to not compare games to others, this game has to absolutely had to be influenced by Link to the Past. For example, there are doors that look like you could bomb them. Then when you do, it plays a variation of a familiar ‘secret has been revealed’ jingle – so yeah.
Here’s the thing though, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past is classically amazing game. So if you’re going to imitate a specific game for a top down, action adventure RPG, I can’t think of a better choice. If you loved Link to the Past and are a hardcore Adventure Time fan – let me introduce you to your new best friend Adventure Time: The Secret of the Nameless Kingdom. I’m sure you two will get along quite fine.
You play as Finn the Human with support from Jake the Dog who is residing in your pocket. Jake will serve as your shield as well as performing multiple other useful abilities learned throughout the game (at least at the start). Finn will buy/find weapons and power ups while exploring, which can be hot keyed to two buttons. Feel free to swap these buttons with other items as much as want or what the situation requires. These items and powers will be a combination of new and familiar tools from the Adventure Time cartoon.
One of my favorite features of this game is its lack of direction. I know, I know, I know… that sounds sarcastic but it absolutely isn’t. Reminiscent of the original Legend of Zelda or even Dark Souls, The Secret of the Nameless Kingdom doesn’t hold your hand as where to go. After the intro you just go and explore. The game uses gear-gating and enemy challenge to hint where you should be. If you are somewhere the enemies are too tough or if you don’t find yourself having the correct tool to progress then you aren’t supposed to be there yet. I am a huge fan of this method of exploration.
Expanding on the topic of gear gating, the dungeon designs are fantastic. You have to fumble around until you find the one path you can go. As you start solving problems, slaying monsters, and gathering items – the other paths will become clear. Often you’ll have to find a new power or item in a dungeon that you’ll have to use to progress in that dungeon or to use on that dungeon’s boss. Saving princesses is serious business and Finn will need all available tools to do so.
As far as difficulty is concerned, the game is very gentle. While you start with low health, regeneration items are plentiful. If you die, you keep everything you’ve picked up and it only sets you back a wee bit. Boss fights require specific actions and tools but since they are usually the item or technique you just learned, the required action is fairly obvious. If it wasn’t for the lack of direction, this game would be very alluring to any level of gamer.
Once Adventure Time: The Secret of the Nameless Kingdom has been fully boiled down, you’ll realize this game is simple and fun Adventure Time experience. Borrowing from The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, the master of the genre, is a positive. The characters, voice acting, humor, and even action is completely true to the cartoon – which is enjoyable. If you’re looking for nonsensical Ooo fun, look no further. While I played it on the PS Vita (PlayStation TV to be specific), it is also available on PC, PS3, Xbox 360, and Nintendo 3DS. This game continues the theme of these Adventure Time games doing homages/replicating The Legend of Zelda titles. While fun, the price tag of $40 is hefty at launch. How dedicated/zealous you are to Adventure Time should be the deciding factor to buy this game or not.