Adventure Time: Secret of the Nameless Kingdom is a video game that costs upwards of $40, even for a digital download. That’s the significant point to take away from this review: the game costs forty bucks. Forty dollars. You know how many games you could buy with $40 in this day and age? A bunch, and they’d all be worth exactly what you paid for them. Hell, entire seasons of the Adventure Time TV show (on Blu-ray, no less) cost less than this.
Okay, calming down: Secret of the Nameless Kingdom is a Zelda-style adventure game set in the world of the popular animated series Adventure Time. You play as Finn the Human, the series’ protagonist, along with his sidekick Jake the Dog as they explore the titular unnamed land. As per the show, you can expect the game to be full of “so random!!” comedy, meaning you’re either going to love it or hate it with the ire of a thousand suns. Generally if you get a kick out of LOLCats you’ll at least appreciate what Adventure Time is trying to do. For my part, I tend to enjoy the show.
This is probably the best game to come out of the series. This isn’t saying much, since previous titles (with the possible exception of a web-based DOTA clone) weren’t especially great, but Secret of the Nameless Kingdom does the top-down Zelda thing pretty well. You’ve got your sword, your shield (actually Jake in shield form) and a wide selection of items to use both in combat and to solve puzzles. Said puzzles are, again, “so random!!” so there’s farts, cake, and so on involved, but you can expect familiar Zelda-style gameplay. NPCs aren’t great about directing you to your next goal, so especially early on you’re going to spend a lot of time wandering around lost; that part tends to be more frustrating than funny.
The game’s definitely packed with the kind of humor you’d expect from the series, with characters breaking the fourth wall and riffing on videogame clichés at every turn. Naturally your favorite (or least favorite?) characters from the series, like the Lumpy Space Princess and Marceline the Vampire Queen, make appearances as well. Basically, fans are going to enjoy it one way or the other. The fact that it’s a decent, mostly playable game is more like icing on the cake.
I say “mostly” because this exceedingly simple little Zelda clone crashes. A lot. It crashes all the damn time and apparently does so on consoles as well. I cannot even imagine how it crashes this much, given it’s around on the same level of complexity as your average Flash game on Newgrounds from 2005. Even one of the (very few) reviews mentions crashing issues. Despite being pretty buggy, this game still commands a price of $40. I expect it’s a case of publisher Little Orbit knowing exactly how much the Adventure Time name is worth.
It certainly looks and sounds nice while it’s running, at least. Finn sounds like Finn, and I’ll admit that I continued chuckling when he announced “I’ll TREASURE this!” upon grabbing some loot for far longer than I should have. Everything looks like you’d expect from an Adventure Time game as well. There are no complaints to be had with the presentation, only the lack of presentation when the game craps itself and dies.
Still, if crashes don’t drive you crazy and you really like Adventure Time, uh…well, wait for a sale regardless. $40 is a little silly and too much for a game that’s not especially long and tends to extend its playtime by not giving you clear direction. For $15 I could easily recommend this, but as it stands I’m afraid I can’t put my stamp of approval on Adventure Time: Secret of the Nameless Kingdom.