Adventure Time has been something of a miniature phenomenon with kids and adults alike since it first hit the small screen in 2010.
In that time it has become a mainstay in animated entertainment, and has even made the jump to the game industry with a few tie-in titles. However, with Finn and Jake Investigations, the latest title to make use of the Adventure Time licence, we are treated to a surprisingly playable romp which will tickle your fancy for a short and sweet ride through the Land of Ooo.
The story of Adventure Time as a game follows along the same lines as the cartoon series. Finn is a human adventurer who, along with his magically stretchy dog friend Jake, is out to save the world one quest at a time. However, as we jump into the game the duo have decided to follow in the footsteps of their parents and become investigators, with mysteries coming to them by way of a mysterious magical ticker-tape machine.
Each mystery unfolds itself like an episode from the show itself, showing off classic areas from the show as well as some much loved (as well as some much loathed) characters in a variety of unusual situations. It is then up to Finn and Jake to save the people of Ooo from the myriad problems that arise during each of these adventures.
In terms of the game’s aesthetic, it deserves much praise for its loving recreation of the cartoon’s style. The animated show has a simplistic style which is both unusual and yet also endearing. This has translated beautifully to the game with a presentation of Ooo and its inhabitants shown off in full 3D while retaining the stylised quality of the source material.
The sound design is also pitch perfect, no pun intended, with everything from voice cast to music and sound effects feeling like they are lifted straight from the TV show. This commitment to design is amazing and helps to show off the look and sound of Adventure Time in a beautiful recreation.
Gameplay-wise is where the game does stumble a bit. Being a title dedicated to investigation, the genre becomes closer to the classic point-and-click action/adventure titles such as Broken Sword and Monkey Island, and the more recent Broken Age. This sees Finn and Jake tripping across the world collecting items and combining them to work out puzzles to help push the story further and solve each mystery.
This method is done very well but there are times when the game takes something of a leap in applying its logic, meaning that players will have to try the most mad-cap combinations in order to push themselves forward. This doesn’t make the game itself more challenging, though, as it just leaves players clicking every item in their inventory over and over in different parts of the game world until something happens.
This doesn’t necessarily make the game bad but it does present a few head-scratching moments with solutions that might leave the player thinking, ‘Really?’
There is also something of a letdown with the scripted fighting sequences. Combat in the game is treated like an afterthought, with a few button mashes and clicks on the game controller usually meaning instant victory without really having much challenge for the player. The fact that each combat scenario appears as part of the story also leaves this element of the game feeling underdone, so when it does appear it is usually only as a way to break up the investigations.
Finn and Jake Investigations is far from a bad game; indeed, it is a great treat for fans of the series and will even induct new fans into the Land of Ooo. That said, for all the great work done to translate the series into game form, there are several occasions when the graphics remain on the simple side. This, combined with the relatively short length of the game, makes the title feel more like a downloadable indie game rather than a full-price licensed game.
The result is a costly investment for what amounts to a short foray into this world. This would be a great game for half the price – it might be worth waiting for a price drop before buying, which is a shame since it is actually a really enjoyable romp.
The game as a whole is good fun and will be a great game for fans of the show looking to see a bit more of their favourite characters in a fun and funny setting. It will even convert new players to the series which is a big compliment to give any game that has a license. That said, the experience is a little on the shallow side, meaning that it will be over and done with before you know it.
Pick it up and enjoy it on your next free weekend, and see how you like the Land of Ooo.