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

(More) Adventure Time with Finn and Jake!

D3Publisher, which published last year’s Adventure Time: Hey Ice King! Why’d You Steal Our Garbage?, attended this year’s New York Comic Con with the next title in the growing series. Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon Because I DON’T KNOW! — developed by WayForward — will be released this November for 3DS and Wii U, and is a significant departure from the last Adventure Time title. While Hey Ice King! featured gameplay heavily inspired by Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, Explore the Dungeon is a more conventional dungeon crawler in the vein of Gauntlet and Diablo. Nintendo Life had some hands-on time with the Wii U version, and all signs point to another quality entry in the growing series of Adventure Time games.

Unlike its predecessor, Explore the Dungeon features full voice acting, complete with the cast of the series. Hearing Finn and Marceline talk immediately adds to the experience and lets the show’s personality shine through. Where the game’s true potential lies, though, is in its cooperative multiplayer. We got to play with a D3Publisher representative, and after choosing LSP and Jake, we went off for our adventure into Bubblegum Princess’s deep dungeon.

Each character in Explore the Dungeon has special abilities, powers and attributes. LSP, for example, can pull out a cell phone and complain, causing massive damage all over the screen. Enemies drop plenty of loot, from health items to weapons (both ranged and melee); everything in Explore the Dungeon is taken from the show, from weapons to monsters. While the immediate impulse in a cooperative dungeon crawler is to button-mash, working together and using different strategies makes for a much more fulfilling game experience.

Controls are very simple, but the interface and presentation is cleverly designed; the GamePad and 3DS touch screen serve as fan favourite character BMO, where maps, weapons and items can be accessed. The visuals are pixelated, with an enhanced 16-bit look. There are plenty of classic characters to choose from, and D3Publisher confirmed that there is DLC planned to introduce more Adventure Time mainstays after the title’s launch.

Series creator Pendleton Ward has crafted the story, as he did with Hey Ice King; if you’re a big fan of the series, there are two very exciting story reveals planned. D3Publisher confirmed that Bubblegum Princess’s true age will be revealed, as will a major secret related to the show’s mythos, making Explore the Dungeon canonical with the show.

While our experience with Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon Because I DON’T KNOW! was brief, we came away confident that D3Publisher, Wayforward and Cartoon Network have another solid title on their hands.

Note: D3Publisher used the Xbox 360 edition of Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon Because I DON’T KNOW! for the demo, but noted that the Wii U GamePad features will enhance the overall experience and set it apart from the other SKUs. Other than the GamePad features, expect the title to be the same across all platforms.