Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon Because I DON'T KNOW!

Review: Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon (3DS)

1:00 PM on 11.25.2013 // Chris Carter


I remember my first episode of Adventure Time. It randomly came on the TV one day and I had no idea what it was -- but I couldn't stop watching. There was something about the show that kept my eyes glued to the screen, watching best pals Finn and Jake battle the "evil" Ice King to save princesses from all across the Land of Ooo.

Years later and I've seen every episode of the show, and I still can't predict what will happen on any given week, or what new endearing character I might meet. To me, that's the mark of something special.

Sadly, the new Adventure Time 3DS game is the opposite of everything the show stands for.

Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon Because I Don't Know! (3DS [reviewed] PC, PS3, Wii U, Xbox 360)
Developer: WayForward Technologies
Publisher: D3 Publisher
Release Date: November 19, 2013
MSRP: $29.99 (3DS), $39.99 (PC, PS3, Wii U, Xbox 360)

As the name might imply, Explore the Dungeon is predictably a dungeon crawler through and through, as players are tasked with completing a randomly generated 100-floor labyrinth. There's no real plot to speak of (and that's fine), as Princess Bubblegum wants you to get to the bottom of why prisoners are escaping from said dungeon. From start to finish as either Finn, Jake, Marceline, or Cinnamon Bun (as well as a few other secret characters), you'll basically just battle your way to the end in the exact same way -- but you most likely won't make it very far.

On the 3DS, the presentation is lazy, lackluster, and shameful. As a fan of retro games, I'm actually quite fond of an 8- or 16-bit style every so often, if it's done right. But here, it's clearly a placeholder for a rush-job, as the cutscenes look like they were created in Microsoft Paint, and the animation is awful all around. It doesn't help that the voice acting sounds tinny on the 3DS (like it was recorded in a parking garage) and the writing is devoid of any charm or wit whatsoever.

But this lack of effort pales in comparison to the animation in-game, which renders it borderline unplayable. Simply put, the game is constantly chugging along at a snail's pace, with a perpetual framerate problem. There's no run button by default to make it better, so it feels like the entire game is running in slow motion. I honestly have no idea how the 3DS version was allowed to be released in its current condition.

Gameplay isn't much better, unfortunately. It's as bare-bones as you can get. You'll have your standard attack button at your disposal (which can be charged), as well as blocking, dodging, sub-weapons, and a super power. The sad part is you won't need to mix up any of these concepts beyond mashing your normal attacks -- the AI is so poorly designed that you can get by without any sort of deviation in strategy.

Although each character has a different playstyle or power (Jake and Marceline can traverse gaps, Finn can equip more items), your choice won't matter in the end because you can just breeze through the boring dungeons with any of them. While the first few floors start out promising, you'll quickly realize that each level is a ghost town, with the same few enemies repeating over and over 10 levels at a time until a new theme arises. In lieu of any sort of multiplayer found in other versions, you get a cute BMO on the bottom screen that barely talks.

Foes consist of uninspired designs that vaguely resemble characters from the show, and bosses aren't that much better. The only real value the game has in terms of fan service is at the very end, where it reveals a plot point that is yet to be presented in the show. That's... literally it. The actual dungeon layouts, which tend to follow the same formula of "the staircase is always on the opposite end from where you start," are utterly uninteresting. When coupled with the boring enemy designs and the fact that you don't actually earn experience from killing anything, there's absolutely no incentive to explore in Explore the Dungeon.

Speaking of experience, you have to "buy" your actual upgrades in town with the gold you acquire from the dungeon. Should you choose to go back up (you'll get the option every five floors), you better spend all the money you have -- because you lose it when you leave the hub world. It's a design choice that makes no sense whatsoever considering the game is far from "hardcore" in any other aspect. Why limit your ability to develop your character and at least have fun?

Although this review is based on the 3DS game, I did get a chance to play the console version, and it's a much better experience in every respect. Not only does the game not suffer the perpetual slowdown problem of its portable cousin, but it's four players, and generally looks better all around.

There are also a number of other small improvements, like the fact that Lady Rainicorn's dialog is in Korean -- small touches that show more effort. It still has the same dull gameplay as it's essentially identical in terms of feature parity, but with three other Adventure Time fanatics it could be a good bargain-bin purchase -- because it will hit the bin sooner than later.

At some point during the development process of Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon 3DS, someone should have looked at the current build, and scrapped the project entirely. Whereas Regular Show 3DS was a flawed love letter to retro fans, Explore the Dungeon is a sheet of paper with chicken scratch scrawled on it. It's the worst game WayForward has put out in years, and yet another example of a wasted licensed game opportunity.



Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon Because I DON'T KNOW! - Reviewed by Chris Carter
Painful - This game made me feel actively disgusted most of the time. Like a disease. It might not kill you, but anything is possible.

See more reviews or the Destructoid score guide.

Chris Carter, Reviews Director
 Follow Blog + disclosure DtoidChris Tips
Chris (Magnalon) has been enjoying Destructoid avidly since 2008. He finally decided to take the next step, make an account, and start blogging in January of 2009. Now, he's staff! -----------... more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

destructoid's previous coverage:
Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon Because I DON'T KNOW!

  Jul 17

Exploring Adventure Time's dungeon because I DON'T KNOW

New Adventure Time game from WayForward looking better than last year's Hey Ice King

  Jun 24

Scope these Adventure Time, Regular Show game covers

Wii U and 3DS box art for the upcoming WayForward projects

View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:

Please contact Crave Online, thanks!

Persona Still Reigns Perfection

Cblogs of 11/30/2015 + Saudi Arabian Ban Hammer

Eleven indie games that will CHANGE YOUR LIFE in 2016

Should 'Mercy Spoilers' be a thing?

Thankful It's Over: Assassin's Creed 2

Virtua Memories: Virtua Fighter/Remix (Virtua Fighter Month)

FNF: Christmas toime is hear

Tales of Zestiria Review (PC)

Xenoblade X Squad?

 Add your impressions

Status updates from C-bloggers

TysonOfTime avatarTysonOfTime
Apparently the upcoming Tri-Force heroes update makes the local-play only items possible to get for everyone. That's pretty great!
FlanxLycanth avatarFlanxLycanth
What youtubers y'all watch? I need more.
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
Playing For Glory earlier today, some guy beat me and changed his name to "ifukdu_up". I won next round and he changed it to "ILETUWIN". I then 2-0ed the little sucker, and he left the lobby. I took great pride from this incident.
Dalek Sex avatarDalek Sex
Henshin into a person with a larger disposable income.
The Dyslexic Laywer avatarThe Dyslexic Laywer
Why the hell are we suddenly accepting micro transactions in fully priced games? It used to be only acceptable in free-to-play games but its sickening that even AAA developers like microsoft are on the bandwagon.
OrochiLeona avatarOrochiLeona
If you're ever writing about something from the heart, and you stop and think "I don't know how people will react to me if I write this" then you absolutely should go ahead. Passionate conviction is often the only voice you'll have.
VeryImportantQuestion avatarVeryImportantQuestion
Wait a second...has the blog editor been changed with the idea being that the formatting be done in Word or something and then pasted in? Have I been using it wrong these last few posts?
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
guys I'm standing in a Target looking at a Xenoblade X special edition what do I do
Zer0t0nin avatarZer0t0nin
Dear Dortmund Zoo: how's it possible for people to steal 3 monkeys, 3 squirrels and 2 penguins while killing a manatee and another penguin since April and you still have no clue how to stop this?
WryGuy avatarWryGuy
We got Xbone! We got Xbone! We got Xbone! We got Xbone! We got Xbone! [img][/img]
Flegma avatarFlegma
Two more reasons not to preorder: the game might appear in stores before release day (Hello, Xenoblade Chronicles X for 60EUR at my local mall) or the mail workers may be on strike (well, they were until Monday).
Rad Party God avatarRad Party God
ModDb's MOTY (Mod of the Year) votes are up, there's quite a TON of interesting mods this year, give it a look and vote for your favorite! ---
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
Hey, US Pokemon fans! Apparently if you just rename your SSID to Mcdonalds Free Wifi, you don't even need to go anywhere to get your Hoopas. Seems like they could've just made this one a normal download.
Archelon avatarArchelon
It may have been a war of attrition, but I just took out a Snowspeeder on foot in Battlefront. Aww, yeah.
Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
Last night, for one reason or another I watched the endings of bloodborne via vaatividya, and in so doing made myself sad that I will never get to play it. Still cool that they seem to have really nailed that lovecraftian exestential horror and despair.
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
[img][/img] やらないか?
FlanxLycanth avatarFlanxLycanth
If I were a rhino, I'd be horny.
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
I don't want DOAX, but it does make me realize... There aren't actually a lot of volleyball games out there, are there? Or tennis, even? At least golf has a little competition, but still. That's golf.
LinkSlayer64 avatarLinkSlayer64
Well, everyone is throwing in their opinion on women and games, and here I am... writing a blog about being aroused by female characters in games as a kid... Perhaps I should hold off, I have a feeling it may just be taken the wrong way.
Agent9 avatarAgent9
Thinking about getting my sister yokai watch or animal crossing Happy Home designer(comes with nfc reader). I already got a copy of Tales of xillia for her ps3, this is just a bonus for when she's on the road or at someones house. any suggestions?
more quickposts



Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -