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Adventure Time: Finn and Jake Investigations

Platform(s): Nintendo 3DS, PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, WiiU, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Genre: Action/Adventure
Publisher: Little Orbit
Developer: Vicious Cycle Software
Release Date: Oct. 20, 2015


WiiU/PS4/XOne/PC Preview - 'Adventure Time: Finn and Jake Investigations'

by Chris "Atom" DeAngelus on July 2, 2015 @ 12:30 a.m. PDT

Adventure Time: Finn and Jake Investigations is an all-new, real-time, fully 3D action-oriented twist on the classic story-driven graphic adventure game.

Adventure Time: Jake and Finn Investigations is an attempt at an old-school LucasArts-style adventure title. After all, it's pretty fitting for Adventure Time to be an adventure game. Players take control of Finn, who, along with his pal Jake, work together to solve a series of mysteries. The mysteries are the result of a tickertape machine that tells of dangers occurring across the kingdom of Ooo, so the pair must solve the mysteries and save the day. Along the way, they'll meet Adventure Time characters both new and old.

This is the first fully 3-D Adventure Time game. Each section is divided into chapters, which revolve around solving the mystery that the tickertape machine gives you. There's not a ton of action in most segments, but you can wander around, explore, and interact with various bits of the environment to hear Jake or Finn's thoughts on the matter. There are over 6,000 voiced lines of dialogue directly from the talent behind the show, so it should feel an awful lot like an "Adventure Time" episode. Characters ranging from the Bubblegum Princess to the Ice King show up, and there are even new characters, like Sunny, a treasure-hoarding weirdo who's the winner of a create-a-character contest and who appears in one of the later chapters in the game.

An adventure game is nothing without puzzles, and there are plenty of those in Jake and Finn Investigations. You have two major ways to solve mysteries. One method is to use items you find in the environment. You might need to use an item on its own or combine it with another item to get the solution to the problem. It's very common adventure gameplay but with a touch of Adventure Time's sense of humor. The other method is to use Jake's transformation ability. This is context sensitive but allows you to use Jake to lift yourself to places you can't reach or to make him transform into something that can be used to get out of a sticky situation.

Of course, an Adventure Time game requires a bit of combat. There aren't random battles or respawning encounters, but you'll only get into fights at pre-designated points in the story. You only control Finn at these points, and the brawls are against multiple foes. Finn has light attacks, a weak attack, dodge rolls, and a powerful whirlwind strike. Jake is present in these fights, but he's an AI partner who fights on his own. If you fight well, you'll unlock a combo attack with Jake: Jake Catapult, Jake Suit, Jake Top and War Dog. These are temporarily but allow Finn and Jake to combine their powers. The one we saw, Jake Suit, causes Jake to become a slow but powerful suit of power armor for Finn.

What makes combat interesting is that you can't fail because the developers don't want to block people from progressing. Instead, at the end of a fight, you're graded on power, speed and technique. Power is based on how much you damaged enemies, so if you let Jake handle the fights, you're graded poorly. Speed is how fast you finish the fight, and technique gauges how well you used the Jake-based combo attacks. Play well, and you unlock treasure, which fills your underground cavern back at your home. Play poorly, and you don't. You can retry a fight right away if you want to go for a higher reward, but it isn't necessary to proceed.

It's almost surprising it took this long for "Adventure Time" to become an adventure game. The weird and wild world of Ooo is about as close to an animated adventure game as you can get, right down to the silly and sometimes bizarre logic that drives some of its episodes. Fans of the show should find a lot to like here, and it's clear the developers are putting a lot of effort into capturing the feel of the show. Adventure Time: Finn and Jake Investigations will come out later this year for both current- and last-gen systems, as well as the Nintendo 3DS.

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