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Adventure Time Hey Ice King Why’d You Steal Our Garbage

Submitted by on November 17, 2013 – 2:28 pmNo Comment

Adventure Time Hey Ice King Why'd You Steal Our Garbage 2Needless to say, I love Adventure Time dearly. So, when I first heard about WayForward’s Adventure Time: Hey Ice King! Why’d You Steal Our Garbage?! for the DS and 3DS, my initial reaction was one of both joy and concern. I want there to be a game for my favorite cartoon, of course, but “portable game based on a Cartoon Network property” isn’t usually a phrase that inspires confidence.

Well, be confident. Hey Ice King isn’t going to win any awards for innovative design, but the soul of the show is present in gratuitous quantities.

Rather than recounting past events from the show, Hey Ice King sends heroes Finn the Human and Jake the Dog on a new adventure, in which Ice King has stolen piles of garbage from various locations around The Land of Ooo. Innocuous, sure, but as Ice King’s plans generally lead to the greater annoyance of several kingdoms, Finn and Jake set out to stop him.

You traverse the Land of Ooo via a Zelda-esque top-down Overworld and are thrown into a sidescrolling environment once a location of interest is entered, be it a Tree Dungeon or Princess Bubblegum’s castle. Once sidescrolling, Finn’s abilities are limited to forward slashes with Scarlet, his Golden Sword of Battle, whereas Jake (occupying Finn’s backpack, Banjo Kazooie-style) accrues various shape-shifting abilities as the game progresses.

While there’s only one additional attack for Finn to gain, his overall attributes are leveled up by finding special treasure chests located in dungeons and elsewhere around the Land of Ooo. The pacing of these discoveries is handled well, and Finn never feels under-powered for the task at hand, nor are the challenges facing him ever exceptionally easy.

Various items and temporary enhancements are also found in dungeons and earned after random encounters in the overworld, all of which are playful nods to events in the show’s history: The “Stars of Frozen Rain” from The Chamber of Frozen Blades, for instance, or the “Vorpal Hand,” “Tiger Claw” and “Beauteous Wings” spells from Wizard.

These items scratch that fandom itch in a magnificent way, but none of them ever felt entirely necessary. Finn and Jake’s default stable of attacks is always perfectly adequate in combat, and eventually I found myself using combat buffs in order to save inventory space for health items, rather than to gain an advantage over the environment. The only caveat to this universal rule comes in during a couple of Hey Ice King’s excellent boss battles, which can get pretty difficult.

In order to reach those bosses, however, there’s generally quite a bit of back-tracking involved. The dungeons the bosses are usually contained within are well designed and filled with delightful monsters and fairly challenging platforming, but gaining access to a kingdom’s dungeon requires questing. And, structurally speaking, Hey Ice King’s quests are inelegant.

Quest objectives aren’t always clear and completing an objective often requires traveling back to previous kingdoms or areas, rather than exploring somewhere new. This is mostly due to the fact that, despite covering a respectable amount of land, Ooo doesn’t have an abundance of usable living space, as it were, and therefore previous zones are re-tasked for new quests. There are items designed to make moving through the overworld more efficient, by making you immune to random encounters or letting you walk quicker, but their effects are removed upon changing zones and/or screens, and therefore only last for less than a minute at a time.

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