ADVENTURE TIME: FINN & JAKE INVESTIGATIONS
Console: Wii U
Start Date: November 24, 2015
End Date: December 4, 2o15
Long before I ever watched the Adventure Time TV show, I played an Adventure Time video game. The game was 2012’s Hey Ice King Why’d You Steal Our Garbage, and I played it because reviews compared it favorably to one of my old favorites, Zelda II. The game was indeed great, but all its jokes and references went straight over my head. This (along with the terrific Adventure Time comic book written by Ryan North) led to me finally checking out the show, which I promptly fell in love with.
I returned to the world of Adventure Time video games earlier this year with The Secret of the Nameless Kingdom. Where Hey Ice King took its inspiration from Zelda II, this game was pretty much a cover version of A Link to the Past with Adventure Time skin slapped on it – in other words, I adored it. Unfortunately I encountered a game-breaking bug in the final palace, had to stop playing, and haven’t revisited it. This made me sad.
When the next Adventure Time game was announced as a point-and-click adventure, I knew I had to travel back to the Kingdom of Ooo one more time. Not only is this one of my favorite genres, but it’s absolutely perfect for the franchise. Still, this was an adventure game based on a kiddie franchise, so I was a little bit worried it’d play like Freddi Fish or some shit like that.
I needn’t have worried. Finn & Jake Investigations, at its best moments, feels a hell of a lot like a pre-Walking Dead Telltale game, which is really high praise in this day and age. It’ll never really fuck your brain up the way those classic Sierra and LucasArts titles did, but the puzzles throughout the game’s five episodes are still fairly challenging, diverse and imaginative, even for a genre veteran like myself. Perhaps more importantly, the humor of the show is translated flawlessly, and feels perfectly at home in this type of game. And like the best point-and-click games, that humor is often intentional…
…but just as often accidental:
And in the grand tradition of the LucasArts classics which came before it, it can sometimes get amusingly self-referential:
In spite of all these great qualities, the game is far from perfect. One of its major flaws is something you might have already noted while looking at those screenshots: For whatever reason the developers decided to take the beautifully minimalist world of Ooo and its inhabitants, and reimagine them as ugly-ass generic-looking 3D models. This is really frustrating because there are so many examples from the past which prove this is a terrible idea. With some characters, you eventually get used to it, but others…
…are just unspeakable horrors. 2D graphics, or at least a cel-shaded approach, would have worked much better here.
The developers also decided to include really dull and repetitive combat segments. You’ll be going about your business of solving mysteries when all of a sudden you’re thrown into an arena-like setting and forced to fight waves of identical enemies for what feels like hours.
I don’t know why game creators feel the need to do this shit. It’s never any good, and it reeks of last-minute cowardly bet-hedging. God forbid you let an adventure game stand on its own two feet without forcing in pointless action elements! Blah!
Luckily these issues are not problematic enough to mar what is otherwise a satisfying little experience. If you’re a fan of the show and of this genre, there’s no reason you shouldn’t find this game to be at least a little bit mathematical.
Emily is Away