There have been a few Adventure Time games released for various systems over the years, each one providing the show’s humour along with a new genre for you to dive into, be it a dungeon crawler, point-and-click or a top-down Zelda-clone. The gang are all back in Adventure Time: Pirates of the Enchiridion, courtesy of developers Climax Studios and publisher Outright Games, in a brand new open-world action-RPG along the vein of The Legend of Zelda: Windwaker. Specifically aimed at fans of the show and younger children – what’s the game like for someone who has never seen an episode of the TV show before (me)?
The story in Adventure Time: Pirates of the Enchiridion is nice and simple to follow yet you’re always kept on your toes as new ‘conclusions’ are suggested by Finn and Jake. One night, our two protagonists go to sleep in their small rowboat lookout tower (Yeah, I don’t know either…) unaware that their life is about to change overnight! They awaken not perched upon their house but afloat in a vast ocean – an ocean they soon discovered is actually the Land of Ooo which has become flooded. They set off to find out what’s going on.
Our two investigators discover that Simon, the Ice King, had accidentally melted his entire Ice Kingdom whilst trying to do so redecorating due to a glitch with his powers. As such, he threw away his crown, which is the source of his powers, which is rather unfortunate as it would have been our first clue. So, off goes Finn and Jake as they travel to the various kingdoms in search of not only the crown but other allies from the TV show. Some will join with you as swappable characters whereas the others will offer advice and guidance from the sidelines.
Adventure Time: Pirates of the Enchiridion took me approx 10 hours to complete last night and along your journey you will meet lots of crazy NPCs and enemies, help out with a bunch of side missions, join forces with two other allies, and via the process of ‘interrogation’, suspect about five different people for you to chase!
Adventure time: Wind Waker?!
Adventure Time: Pirates of the Enchiridion doesn’t play like any of the previous Adventure Time games you may have played. For me, the closest comparison would be The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker crossed with old-style Final Fantasy games, with their turn-based combat. That’s right Adventure Time: Pirates of the Enchiridion is a full-on RPG this time around with many traits we know and love, only made more accessible for younger gamers. For me then, this is like the ‘Mystic Quest Legends’ of the ‘Final Fantasy’ Series – if you get my analogy there!
The gameplay is all in a 3rd person 3D playing field as you run, jump, smash items, and pick up collectables – with the added benefit of utilising Jake’s abilities to cross gaps and climb walls. Travelling to the various Kingdoms is a little tedious at times though as, just like Wind Waker, you must manually drive your boat through the newly created ocean with no forms of fast travel or auto-pilot. The waters are quite empty at times, due to it simply being a flood and not an actual ocean, but luckily all of the people of Ooo have gone crackers and believe they are pirates!
As you sail from one place to the next, you’ll sometimes encounter pirates – well, people who have taken it upon themselves to think that after four hours of being flooded they are now classed as pirates! You can engage in combat with these if you wish to work towards getting one of the trophies. You’ll also see a giant sea creature, which you can shoot in the face, and plenty of floating garbage which can either be collected by Jake or destroyed with the cannon. So, even though the waters are kind of empty, the developers have given us things to do along the journey.
Arrr, me hearties!
Speaking of pirates, these are the main enemies you’ll encounter whilst on land as well. Again, these are made up of crazy ‘people’ who have allowed the disaster to warp their minds! Engaging in combat is easy – simply walk up to someone and touch them. This proceeds to an in-location turn-based combat instance (in-location meaning you battle where you are, no loading a random background like in the Final Fantasy games). Combat itself is simple enough for everyone to pick up. You simply choose what you want your active character to do – attack, use a skill, use an item, block, or run. Once chosen, the action will take place and then move on to the next characters turn, be it ally or foe.
Your special attacks are all unique and some of them are quite funny as well. You begin with one special attack, which can be levelled up through three stages, but you can unlock more by completing the side missions throughout Ooo – this means that in total you can have nine special moves for each of the four playable characters, which isn’t bad! Other characters you’ll unlock, such as BMO, can also restore your energy meter (used for special attacks) instead of using its turn for combat. There is a bit of strategy behind the game, but there wasn’t really any enemy I struggled with as you have an abundance of health and booster items at your disposal.
In regards to the side missions – these all vary but when you break them down, it appears a lot of them are very similar. I’ve had to clear rubbish from appearing near an island, as well as destroying a number of stinky mounds that had appeared near a character. I also had to collect bags of sugar for a living piece of candy, as well as lighting torches for another character. So yeah, they are pretty similar but they are easy to complete, you don’t spend much time on them, and they unlock cool new moves in most instances!
You also have two ‘big’ side missions, the safe return of penguins and marshmallow creatures?! These require you to scout the various Kingdoms and place any of these you find on your boat so that you can drop them off at their relevant dock. These are a bit harder as there isn’t really an indicator as to where they are, other than a small blue glow when you get near one. However, there is nothing cuter than driving your boat with six penguins all yapping away. That’s the only issue I had though – you can only carry six at a time. This means you must spend a while going back to drop them off before going out and looking for more. Once you’ve killed the sea creature and the pirates on the water, travelling back and forward can become a chore…
One of the features of this game which I found highly amusing was the ‘interrogations’ which you perform with various characters as you progress. This is basically Jake and Finn playing good cop-bad cop where you must stop a spinner on which action you wish to participate in. If you push the victim too far then you fail and can either try again or just continue without getting the clue. Alternatively, if you manage to get all the info out of them then you get a big reward and a hint on where to go next. What I loved was the writing – at one point Jake farted in the face of one of the victims just to try and get them to talk! Now that’s an interrogation!
Whilst on the topic of the writing and the humour, this game is perfect for fans of the show and those who just love hilarious childish humour. As soon as the game started I was laughing, then they started singing their own sea shanties and I was laughing even more. As the game progresses, more jokes are thrown in, more one-liners are presented, and more sea shanties are created and sang for our delight. I really must praise the people who came up with the script for the game – they kept it very funny and light-hearted all the way through.
RPG for everyone!
One thing I almost forgot to talk about was the actual RPG elements. In Adventure Time: Pirates of the Enchiridion, you don’t actually pick up new weapons or equip yourself with new armour or accessories – the developers have kept it nice and simple so that it’s easier to manage and control. You collect money as you open chests, destroy items, kill enemies and complete side missions – this money can either be spent on buying items or upgrading your stats.
It’s all done in an intuitive menu as well – you simply open the pause menu, select a character and you’ll be shown all of their ‘standard’ options, such as attack, health, defence, and accuracy. Simply pour money into whatever you wish to upgrade and boom, you’re done. You can also upgrade the special attacks so they deal more damage and even boost BMOs energy ability so that you get more energy points back per usage.
At first, you can only increase various stats to a certain point, but every time you level up your character the bar is increased and you can beef yourself up even more! So, if you are stuck on a certain boss or enemy then you can technically go and grind for a while, increase all your stats and then take them on again.
Graphically, Adventure Time: Pirates of the Enchiridion is awesome. It looks just like the cartoon and because of the dialogue and the jokes, it feels like you’re actually playing an episode of the show. I would even go as far as saying this is the second best recreation of a TV show, just behind South Park. Does that mean the game is smooth sailing? Unfortunately not. On the PS4 Pro, I did notice some occurrences of slowdown and the movement didn’t feel 100% smooth. To me, it feels like it might be a frame pacing issue rather than a drop in the framerate – but that’s just going off by eye. Does this mean the game is unplayable? Of course not! Most people won’t even notice it either – I just saw a few instances of it for a few seconds.
Audio wise you can’t go wrong with Adventure Time: Pirates of the Enchiridion. As I said above, the original cast members are all back to fully voice all of the characters, the script is hilarious, the presentation of the voice acting and the soundtrack is second to none and the game will certainly cater to the millions of Adventure Time fans out there.
I’ve never seen the show?!:
So, as a person who hasn’t ever seen an Adventure time show before, yet has platinumed the Jake and Finn: Investigates game, what do I think? I thoroughly enjoyed it – the humour was right up my alley, the combat was solid as a ‘my first turn-based RPG’ style game, the environments were all varied and very interesting, and above all the game kept me interested right until the end. The only thing that let me down was the very end of the game, which I obviously won’t talk about, but up until that point, the game was amazing. I’m actually more inclined to go and watch the TV show now, after playing Adventure Time: Pirates of the Enchiridion, than I was after playing the Investigates game last year. Sure, I found the combat a little easy and the travelling between Kingdoms a bit monotonous and time-consuming, but everything else more than made up for it – other than the long loading times which occurred every now and again.
First 25 minutes with no commentary:
Adventure Time: Pirates of the Enchiridion is the best Adventure Time tie-in game out there. It’s packed with all the humour, charm, quality, and jokes from the TV show along with the original cast as the voice talent. Sure, some moments can get a bit tedious as you’re sailing from point A to point B with no form of fast travel, but it’s all worth it for the excitement and fun you’ll have once you get there. The game is clearly aimed at fans of the TV show and I feel they will be the ones to get the most out of this game. However, even if you’ve not watched the show (like me), the game is hilarious is most parts and will entertain both small and big kids for hours.
Adventure Time: Pirates of the Enchiridion£29.99
- Very funny dialogue and great sense of humour
- Very loyal to the show with the original cast members voicing all the characters
- Lots of side missions to complete as you traverse a big map with four Kingdoms
- Graphically the game looks great, one of the best adaptations of a cartoon I've seen
- Even though it's an Action-RPG, it's been simplified so everyone can pick up and play
- The travelling from one place to the next can be a bit tedious once you've defeated all the pirates
- I did notice a small amount of frame-pacing or frame drops during play
- Some of the loading screens are a little long