Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon Because I DON’T KNOW! Review


The Land of Eww

I suppose I’m a fan of Adventure Time.  Its brand of subversive humor is right up my alley, and I’ve actually enjoyed the episodes I’ve seen. When I first read reports that Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon Because I DON’T KNOW!  would be like Gauntlet  and Diablo,  I got excited. How foolish of me. Adventure Time  left me feeling colder than the Ice King.



The writing in the Adventure Time  show is great. The game was written by the show’s creators, so what went wrong? Prisoners have been escaping from Princess Bubblegum’s Royal Dungeon, so she sends the player(s) to investigate. The story then almost comes completely to a halt before an admittedly good twist at the end of the game that provides a huge secret about one of Adventure Time’s  main characters. The writers were attempting to explain why the game is a dungeon crawler, but they’re capable of so much more than this.




On the surface, Adventure Time  is very similar to Diablo.  Princess Bubblegum’s Royal Dungeon is full of all sorts of unsightly creatures that must be dealt with. Up to four players can hop in and explore each floor of the dungeon. Each player is granted a special ability that can be used once every several minutes when a meter is filled. Loot is everywhere, even if most of it is gold and food that regenerates health. Sometimes a key or two can be found, which unlock treasure chests or level exits.

Players have the option to leave the dungeon after every five floors in order to purchase upgrades or save the game. Upgrades are purchased using the gold found in the Royal Dungeon. Any unspent gold will be forfeited upon reentering the dungeon. Upgrades are extremely difficult to obtain, so the decision to take away the players’ only means of obtaining them is a confusing one on the developer’s part.

Enemy after enemy can be brought down with a few button mashes. The AI hardly ever provides a challenge save for a few bosses and a random near-invincible enemy that carries a lantern and pops up several times throughout the game (running away is the smartest decision when he shows up). If a player dies before reaching the end of whatever section they’re on, they must reload their last save. For example, if a player dies on the ninth floor of the dungeon and they didn’t save after the fifth, they must start over at the first floor again.



Graphics & Sound

Adventure Time’s  16-bit art style and chiptune soundtrack are the best things it has going for it. It really does look and sound like several SNES games (which are all more than likely way better than Adventure Time). The Adventure Time  theme song got a retro makeover for the game and it sounds awesome. All the voice actors from the show are present in the game and they are all just as good as they are on the show.




I thought after Farming Simulator  it would take me a while to come across another game I could call one of the most boring I’ve ever played, but then I played Adventure Time.  It comes very close to taking the crown away from Farming Simulator.  Adventure Time  is absolutely lifeless. It’s moment after moment of mashing a few buttons to do pointless things. I’m talking pointless.

It’s pointless to defeat enemies because they offer nothing—no experience points, no challenge, nothing. Seriously, if one of the standard dungeon enemies scores a hit at all in Adventure Time  it’s because they got very, very lucky. However, Adventure Time  is somehow still challenging. It’s because players are given a very limited amount of health and if they are accidentally hit a few times, they’re done. The difficulty in Adventure Time  is extremely unbalanced when it comes to boss battles because the bosses are all of sudden extremely difficulty whereas every enemy that came before them was a cakewalk. Don’t even get me started on that near-invincible lantern-carrying idiot, who pops up at the absolute worst times to further ruin an already excruciating experience.

Then there’s the realization that the developers consciously made the decision to decide to take the only means players have to purchase upgrades away from them when they reenter the dungeon. If you want to upgrade your health, but the upgrade costs 100 gold coins and you only have 98, too bad for you! Say goodbye to your gold! Get ready to save up a bunch until the next time you exit the Royal Dungeon and lose it all as well! It’s one of the most ignorant and ill-advised design choices in video game history.

SpawnFirst Recommends…

AvoidI’m disappointed. I expected more from Pendleton Ward, the creator of Adventure Time,  who was involved in the development of Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon Because I DON’T KNOW!  The game is an affront to the show and to fans who may make the mistake of purchasing it because they like the show. 20 years from now I’ll still be playing Diablo III  and will have forgotten this game ever even existed. I don’t know why anyone would want to explore the dungeon either.