[PS3/Vita Review] Adventure Time: Secret of the Nameless Kingdom
Adventure Time: Secret of the Nameless Kingdom is the third “official” console video game based on the very popular Adventure Time TV show. Before going any further, take note that this game is nothing like the previous game, a boring dungeon crawler that was titled Explore the Dungeon Because I Don’t Know.
The Secret of the Nameless Kingdom is a refreshing take on the franchise and is greatly inspired by 16-bits Zelda games (specifically by A Link To The Past on the SNES), and is almost as fun to play as playing that classic back in the days!
Oh my glob! All three princesses of the Nameless Kingdom have disappeared! Finn (the human) and his best bro Jake (the shape-shifting dog) embark on an original heroic adventure created exclusively for the video game. Players journey through the Nameless Kingdom, an unexplored realm in the Land of Ooo, to rescue princesses and choose the one princess who commands the Nameless inhabitants. After all, every kingdom needs a princess who rules.
Adventure Time: Secret of the Nameless Kingdom – Teaser Trailer – Comic-con 2014
In Adventure Time: The Secret of the Nameless Kingdom, you are taking control of Finn (the human), and Jake (the shape-shifting dog), on a quest to rescue the three abducted princesses. Each one of them has been taken to a dungeon that will test your skills. You’ll also meet many characters from the show in your adventure, and each one of them is totally silly (humor is omnipresent in this game), as it should be. The plot of the game is fairly simple, but the area in which this game really shines is in its gameplay!
Exactly like in the 16-bits Zelda games, you can slash your sword at enemies (using the Square button), and bind two items dynamically to the secondary buttons. The game starts very quickly and you’ll be hacking enemies within the 2-minute mark! One of the things I enjoyed the most about this game is how free you are right at the beginning of the game: you can always explore the world to your heart’s content and can reach about 60-70% of the map without obtaining key items in the dungeons that will help you reach further zones.
Speaking of the dungeons, they each take between 1-2 hours to complete and possess the Most Fun Boss Battles I’ve played in a long time. Without spoiling anything, the second dungeon’s boss might be one of the most original and fun battles I fought in the last decade! Finally, I think that the puzzles contained in the dungeons will be too hard for children, and are more accessible to teenagers and up. The difficulty curve increases quickly and already in the second dungeon, you’re expected to master every item and skill you’ve obtained so far if you want to get through. Luckily, the game is aware of its difficulty and is very generous when giving you some extra energy to recover.
In the overworld, there are a ton of side-quests available that you can tackle whenever you want. You can either find Heart Pieces that increases your maximum health (3 pieces = 1 extra heart), or go through a Trading game in which you have to secure items for some of the characters in the game. And completing those quests will award you with stronger weapons, Heart Pieces and trophies!
About the graphics engine, I loved how everything is so colorful and cute! The game has a very stable frame rate, and runs at 1080p. From what I saw, I think that the backgrounds are hand-drawn, and all the characters and enemies are 16-bits sprites. It doesn’t contrast at all and, in fact, it is very beautiful. The soundtrack as a whole is surprisingly good and catchy, and the main overworld theme will stay in your head forever!
Apart from the difficulty, the only other point that I’d like to mention is that the game lacks the legendary precision the 16-bits Zelda games used to have back in the SNES era. While being fair and totally playable, this issue is particularly apparent while using the shield, and makes the game artificially harder than it should be.
Adventure Time: The Secret of the Nameless Kingdom is the Adventure Time game fans have been waiting for! This is one of the hidden gems that sadly might not be given a chance to shine (due to the bad quality of the aforementioned dungeon crawler?), and just so you know how much I loved it, It took me a while to review it because I just kept playing it every evening instead of writing about how good it is!
The gameplay is very fun, the level design (particularly in the dungeons) is exceptionally well thought out, the bosses are fun to fight and the game is beautiful to watch. There is also a lot of humor when other characters are met, and 36 relatively accessible trophies that trophy hunters can unlock.
Adventure Time: The Secret of the Nameless Kingdom is available for both the Playstation 3 and the Playstation Vita, but is neither Cross-Save nor Cross-Buy, so choose your favorite console before purchasing it. I think this would have been better if the game was Cross-Buy, but it came out at a budget price of $39.99 on the PS3 and $29.99 on the Vita, so I think this omission is not a deal-breaker.
TL;DR: If you like the 16-bits Zelda games, buy Adventure Time: The Secret of the Nameless Kingdom!
Cost: $39.99 (PS3)
Cost: $29.99 (Vita)
PSN Game size: 480MB