Adventure Time has been a juggernaut series for Cartoon Network since debuting way back in 2010. With The series ending soon we have gotten our 6th instalment of a video game that is based on the cartoon.
The gameplay is like your stock-standard turn-based RPG fare, the story feels most like an episode of the show when it comes to the game’s very abrupt, and frankly anti-climatic ending. The humour and back and forth banter between the characters is brilliant, and livens up your journey when you’re simply sailing from one island to the next.
Not only is the entire voice cast present here, but there are also many locations and characters fans will recognise, as well as many references to the lore the show has created over the past decade.
Sadly this design leaves out in the cold the many adult fans the show has garnered over the years as well. For them, the combat will provide so little challenge that it risks becoming a bore. Even as the combat is so easy, it remains fun to level up your party and watch as their abilities and stats grow. This is a feeling with which genre fans are surely familiar, and it works really well here yet again.
The game suffers from a few technical problems, like occasional frame rate drops, but mostly in the way of desynchronised audio and video for cut-scenes, which manifested in the voice work beginning a moment after the video and meant speaking lines would get cut off often in cut-scenes as the audio failed time after time to catch up to the imagery.
Adventure Time: Pirates of the Enchiridion gameplay is just like the story: enjoyable, but hardly original. On paper, the game offers an interesting take on the role-playing game formula. Following the flooding of Ooo, Finn and Jake can explore, thanks to their ship, the whole land, disembark at certain points to complete main and sub-quests and collect treasure. The basic game progression is lifted straight from the Zelda series, with the whole flooding theme making the game feel like a lite version of The Wind Waker’s exploration. Progression is also eerily similar to the recent God of War, with locations becoming available only after certain story parts have been cleared. In the end, Adventure Time: Pirates of the Enchiridion only feature an illusion of an open-world experience, as many locations are locked behind story progression. Thankfully, exploration is somewhat varied, as each location comes with a couple gimmicks which spice the experience a little, such as simple puzzles, stealth segments and more. The four playable characters also come with unique field abilities that are required to complete quests and find secrets: Finn can use his sword to destroy objects, Jake can turn into a scooter to speed up movement and so on. Interaction with NPCs is also limited, with only Interrogation Time, where Finn and Jake interrogate select characters to obtain crucial information, spicing things up in this regard. Sadly, there are no real consequences for failing to understand the characters’ moods, so it feels like it has been implemented only for the comedy.
While the combat is enjoyable, there is a mechanic that lets you interrogate characters. It will mostly start automatically during some conversations where you are trying to figure out what happened. It works with a good cop and bad cop routine where Finn and Jake will take turns to play this routine with the person in question. I particularly enjoyed these short segments but I was also annoyed to find that there was no option to skip text if you fail it and replay everything again.
The rest of Pirates of the Enchiridion’s presentation is a mixed bag. Much like the show it represents, the game’s surface has a pleasant and charming appearance at first glance, but there’s a seedy side and heavy melancholy that lurks beneath it all. In other words, it all seems great at first – until it all begins to fall apart.
Beard Score 6/10
Genre: Adventure, RPG
Publisher: Outright Games
Format: Steam, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One