Adventure Time: The Secret of the Nameless Kingdom Reviews

  • Danny Dubs 86Danny Dubs 862,038,735
    23 Jan 2015
    8 8 4
    Originally posted on my blog at http://takeaimandgame.blogspot.com/

    There aren't a whole lot of top-down action-adventure games on the market these days, and many of the good ones are part of the Legend of Zelda franchise. As a result, I'm always excited to see a new one pop up, and combining it with a popular series like Adventure Time seems like a recipe for success.

    And the Secret of the Nameless Kingdom would be a success if it had more depth and wasn't riddled with small flaws.

    Let's start with the obvious: being an Adventure Time game, many established characters appear, and the overall style is reminiscent of the series as a whole. It looks great, with still images during dialogue that could have been taken straight from the show, and a sort of pixelated appearance during gameplay that presents a smooth update to classic gaming aesthetics. The soundtrack is also fantastic, though there are only a few major songs, so it gets repetitive after a while. But those features are probably the game's biggest strengths.

    The story follows Finn and Jake (the main protagonists of the Adventure Time universe for the uninitiated) on a mission to the "Nameless Kingdom." The kingdom's three princesses disappeared the day before one would be chosen to rule; Finn and Jake are there to rescue them and set the kingdom straight.

    The whole thing is sprinkled with the kind of silliness you'd expect from Adventure Time. The dialogue is very well written, and the voice actors do a fantastic job with their lines, but there's just not much there. The storyline is really thin for this kind of game, giving very little beyond a flimsy excuse to visit the major dungeons. It's really just "go here, then here, then here, then you're done."

    It ultimately feels like a squandered opportunity to apply and expand on the Adventure Time universe, and for that it's pretty disappointing.

    Sadly, the gameplay doesn't do any better. You'll guide Finn through an overworld and a few dungeons, dispatching monsters and discovering treasures along the way. There are a few important items to collect, each unlocking new areas of the world (by enabling you to pass obstacles) and aiding in fights against big bosses.

    It evokes a "Link to the Past" vibe, borrowing heavily from classic 2D Zelda games, but the details don't push it beyond a mediocre experience.

    The biggest problem is the scale of the game. The overworld isn't very big, and there are few side areas to explore, stripping a large part of the "adventure" side of the game.

    That said, the "adventure" isn't completely gone: Nameless Kingdom suffers from a common problem in adventure games. For a relatively short game (it took me about 8 hours to complete the story and get all the optional upgrades and collectibles), I found myself in a surprising number of situations where I had no idea what the game what the game wanted me to do. I couldn't progress because the proper combination of items was far from apparent, and that makes for a horribly frustrating experience.

    And the frustrations keep coming. The general lack of overworld space is somewhat mitigated by increasingly lengthy dungeons, with the final dungeon alone taking well over an hour to complete. To be fair, some of that length is a product of terrible design (for example, locked doors in many rooms will open after you defeat all the monsters in the room, but backtracking will often reset those rooms, so you'll have to do it again), but it was kind of refreshing to see such intricate dungeons.

    If that were all there was to it, I'd say it's a decent game worth checking out. Unfortunately, I was annoyed by lots of little things over the course of the game:

    There aren't very many items to collect, and most of the puzzles are tedious instead of, well, puzzling. The controls can be a little clunky at times, because you'll get stuck on walls if you push the control stick even slightly towards them, and it takes very little to propel Finn into pits (except, of course, when you want to fall in a pit; then the game makes you work for it). Hit boxes don't make any sense in some places. You are surprisingly vulnerable after using items, making it almost universally safer not to use items during combat (making some bosses pretty frustrating), and many items don't work in places where it really seems like they should. You can occasionally glitch enemies into walls or through spikes, trapping you inside some rooms...

    You get the idea.

    It's particularly sad because the positives aren't even that good in an absolute sense. The bright spots only shine through because everything around them is so dark.

    The achievement list is pretty easy, even without collectible guides, except for one. Completing the game without getting any of Finn's upgrades gets downright evil at the end, as the final boss makes frustrating use of some of the game's major flaws (namely, weird hit boxes and vulnerability when using items). It took me a few hours of practice to be able to get through it, but I hated most of the process. It's not terrible, and there are some glitches you can abuse to make it somewhat easier, but it's still a pretty good challenge.

    The real disappointment with Nameless Kingdom is that there aren't any truly egregious flaws (except maybe the overall size of the game), but it drowns in a sea of small mistakes. Few items, boring puzzles, insensitive controls, and a lazy plot all combine to make this game mediocre from start to finish. You could do a lot worse, but it's probably not worth your money unless you're a die-hard Adventure Time or top-down action-adventure fan (and it's questionable even then).

    My Rating: 3/10 - bad.

    (For more info on my rating system, including overall stats, see http://takeaimandgame.blogspot.com/p/reviews.html)
    1.5
    Showing all 4 comments.
    That's a shame, I was really looking forward to this one after hearing such bad things about the last AT game.
    Posted on 24 Jan 15 at 01:14
    Groudon199I didn't like using the analog stick for movement, but luckily the D-pad is an option.

    If you're careful, glitching enemies into walls shouldn't be a problem. I've only had it happen twice, and both times I was lucky enough to have them trapped in 2x2 objects.


    I don't think it's great, but it's absolutely better than the previous one. If you liked the one on (3)DS, you'll probably like this as well.
    Posted by Groudon199 On 24 Jan 15 at 02:10
    EarthboundXI'd say it's more like a 6, not great but not awful either.
    Posted by EarthboundX On 11 Apr 15 at 10:14
    Shadykilla420A little harsh for what is essentially a kids game. You will find basically all of those flaws in old school loz games, which is what they were going for. Yes I would've liked to see a bigger map, and more to the game, but again, being a game slightly tailored towards kids they had to make it manageable for them so they don't get lost and confused. I'm glad they didn't tell you exactly where to go and what to do because quite honestly, what fun is a game like this if you don't have to explore it yourself to figure things out. That's the problem with alot of games nowadays. They tell you exactly what to do so you don't even have to think or problem solve for yourself.
    Posted by Shadykilla420 On 25 Sep 16 at 18:43