Adventure Time: Pirates of Enchiridion Review
Adventure Time might be saying adios on the television this September, but the team behind the popular franchise have partnered with Climax Studios to launch the surprisingly good Adventure Time…adventure…Pirates of Enchiridion, a fantastic turn based RPG game with fantastic writing, great locations to explore, and all your favourite characters from the show. With so many lackluster Adventure Time game releases to date, is this one able to get over the hump and border on good, perhaps even great? Let’s take a look!
This review was carried out using a code provided to us by the developer, on an Xbox One X provided to us by Xbox Canada.
Written Like the Show
Guess what? You are tasked with saving the Land of Ooo, after waking up as Finn and Jake and realizing the ice kingdom is melting and much of the world is under water. In your first few hours, Jake and Finn will hop in their boat and head towards the first island that needs exploring, and where they will meet their first playable character, Marceline. From here, the group will move from island to island, defeating the powers that lurk their and uncovering more of the mystery surrounding the flooding of the Land of Ooo. It’s a simple story, but one that facilitates the gameplay and narrative well.
The writing for this Adventure Time experience is phenomenal, and those who have been long time fans of the franchise will almost assume they are just playing through an other episode of the television show. The jokes and witty banter from the characters are right in line with what the creators of Adventure Time have been going for since the beginning. To see a game play off the strengths of the successful TV show is likely the reason why this TV show turned video game doesn’t majorly tank!
The game is essentially broke up into two different exploration modes – by boat, where you can use the characters to pilot you around the lake and collect treasures floating in barrels and crates on the surface, and of course, over land where the characters various abilities will allow more and more exploration as time goes by.
Fighting in Adventure Time: Pirates of Enchiridion is completely turn based, utilizing formulas that will feel very familiar to those who have played an RPG in the past. Each character has their set skills – attack, defense, etc – while also having the ability to unleash special abilities and attacks. Depending on who you are using, the special abilities might be offensive or defensive, which works really well when all 4 characters are unlocked.
I was surprised by how difficult the initial gameplay actually was, and during the first few hours, I ran into enemies that were much tougher than I imaged. My eight year old son also had these issues, but since the game quickly gets you back into the game moments before your last encounter, you rarely lose any progress. I found it a bit unfortunate that grinding seemed almost a necessity if you wanted to find success throughout the game.
The game mechanics aren’t all bad though, as I’ve especially enjoyed the interrogation scenes. Here, Finn and Jake will play good-cop, bad-cop in order to get characters around the world to talk. It is important to have healthy dose of both as you interrogate your witness, because you’ll fail if you are too easy going, or too hard. Not every character reacts the same to certain threats or promises, so understanding your subject is incredibly important.
Visuals and Audio
The game looks and sounds just like an episode of Adventure Time, which is likely the highest praise I can drop on this experience. From the cell shaded look to the fantastic voice acting and the enjoyable music, there isn’t a lot to complain about here, especially for those familiar with the source material. The developers spent a lot of time massaging this game for release, making sure it would appeal to long time fans, while also drawing in new audiences. To that end, they’ve done an incredible job!
Not All Rosy
Not everything in Pirates of Enchiridion was rosy, however, as there were a number of odd performance issues evident, more often than I would like. That being said, the developers have promised a partch that will address these issues fully, which will do wonders to streamlining the experience.
Load times can be a tad long – even longer when an eight year old is playing! – and if these could be cleaned up a bit, that would help this game a lot as well. Especially since moving between different world already takes a lot longer than I would want, with little to do on the high seas except power through to your destination. When moving from place to place, the game definitely bogs down a bit, at points making me put the controller down and walking away.
Regardless of the above mentioned issues, Adventure Time: Pirates of Enchiridion is a fantastic experience that shouldn’t be overlooked, either by long time fans of the franchise, or even new players who enjoy colourful RPGs. With the ability to use coins to unlock new abilities, improve attacks, and so much more, the RPG depth is easy to understand, yet deep enough to provide some real decision making when doing your various upgrades. From top to bottom, Adventure Time is a better than average RPG experience that should find a nice niche amongst gamers.