Review: Adventure Time: Magic Man's Head Games


Chill out, Jake

VR is a weird thing. Developers are trying all sorts of different experiences, some of which are essentially the same as what we're playing right now (just with a different point of view), some are wholly VR oriented with immersive control schemes, and others are somewhere in the middle.

Adventure Time: Magic Man's Head Games is a good representation of both philosophies. I just wish there was more...game here.

Adventure Time: Magic Man's Head Games (PC [reviewed with an Oculus Rift])
Developer: Turbo Button
Publisher: Cartoon Network
MSRP: $4.99
Released: March 28, 2016

While some VR experiences are hard to describe, Magic Man isn't all that difficult to grasp. Players are immediately thrown into the world of Adventure Time in a scene with Finn and Jake as "Tiny," a little creature that stumbles upon their picnic. Before you really get a chance to hang out, the mischievous (though not inherently evil) Magic Man shows up and turns you into a giant balloon, floating above the sky.

What developer Turbo Button has essentially done here is come up with an excuse for the top-down camera angle, which is kind of genius, actually, and reminds me of the camera system from Super Mario 64. You'll be viewing all of the action from above, allowing you to take control of Finn directly to swipe at enemies, double-jump, glide, and grapple up specific objects. Jake kind of plays a Kazooie-like role in Finn's backpack to trigger some of the aforementioned abilities, and occasionally pops out to talk to the player, right in front of the field of view.

It's all incredibly delightful as Jake breaks the fourth wall and constantly attempts to defend or appease you with food or anecdotes. The VR feels justified, mostly because Turbo Button, in a rare case for an Adventure Time game, actually tried to capture the essence of the show. The duo is charming, as are the few cast members (like Lumpy Space Princess) players encounter on their journey. They nail the humor and charm of the series.

Jumping about isn't difficult at all, even for first-time VR players, as the environments are gigantic with plenty of wiggle room, and the checkpoints are fast and furious. The grappling hook is controlled by way of "aiming" by moving your head (and the Rift), adding a new dimension to the otherwise traditional platforming gameplay. I can't stress enough how cool it is to look down at pits, or at faraway shortcuts or optional zones that you wouldn't normally see in a 2D game. In some cases, jumping around is actually cleaner because you can see exactly where you're headed with a full topographical perspective.

It's a shame, then, that the experience is so fleeting. While it may seem like a fully-fledged game, there's only two levels in total, both of which can be completed in roughly 30 minutes. The story, while cute, also never really goes anywhere, and it ends abruptly, almost like they ran out of time on the project. It's weird. There also isn't much to do, as both stages only house several collectibles to find -- other than that, it's your job to get from point A to point B.

I can't stress enough that Adventure Time: Magic Man's Head Games doesn't amount to much more than a tech demo that you can complete in one sitting. In that sense it's a proof of concept for VR platforming, but that doesn't mean it isn't a joy to play from start to finish. While Turbo Button could have really stood to flesh this project out, I'd love to see more, and if it ever happens, I'll be right there on day one.

[This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]

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Adventure Time: Magic Man's Head Games reviewed by Chris Carter



Solid and definitely has an audience. There could be some hard-to-ignore faults, but the experience is fun.
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Chris Carter
Chris CarterReviews Director, Co-EIC   gamer profile

Chris 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! ------------------- T... more + disclosures



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