I believe I have seen exactly one episode of Adventure Time, and I wasn’t even paying that close attention to it. Oh well. I understand it is beloved and for both kids and adults, but it is just something I never got deep into. Same goes for similar shows, such as Steven Universe, Regular Show, and Gravity Falls. When it comes to the Cartoon Network, I’m mostly only about that super stylish and cool-as-heck Samurai Jack. Oh, and I’ll still occasionally plop down on the couch and fall into a The Fairly OddParents hole, glory be to the being up above; I’m a big fan of Wanda.
Still, that’s not going to stop me from playing an RPG based on Adventure Time, which brings us to Adventure Time: Pirates of the Enchiridion. It’s one of the freebies for Gold users on Xbox One this month, and I love freebies like Princess Bubblegum loves…um, bubblegum. That’s a broad assumption. See? I know nothing about this world and its inhabitants. Honestly, after a good nine to ten hours with the game, I still know very little. Everything just seems odd for odd’s sake, but maybe that’s the whole point. Moving along…
Our main protagonists Finn the Human and Jake the Dog begin Adventure Time: Pirates of the Enchiridion by exploring the never-before-seen Ocean of Ooo after their home mysteriously floods overnight. The look of the ocean and map gives off an illusion of vastness, filling you with hope that this is gonna be an epic adventure in the vein of The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker or The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, but that is sadly not the case at all. In short, it is more of an overworld map or a hub for smaller levels, and you can only travel to so many spots to dock your boat. The worse part is there is no fast travel system, and it takes a long time to get from one island to another across the nearly barren waters that it just results in a lot of boring boating.
As this is an RPG, combat plays a pivotal role in the gameplay. Adventure Time: Pirates of the Enchiridion goes the turn-based route, and it is pretty similar to things like Costume Quest 2, Earthlock: Festival of Magic, and Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness. Your party is made up of stereotypical RPG archetypes, such as the tank, support, and DPS characters. The battles are rarely challenging and border on the edge of tedious; unfortunately, there’s no difficulty setting to raise the bar a bit. You can select a basic attack, a special attack, block, use an item, or run away; there’s also an ultimate attack for each character that builds up over time. For general upgrades to your stats and abilities, you’ll collect money–I think it is called dosh here–from chests, destroying in-world items, and winning battles. You then spend the hard-earned coin on whatever you want to upgrade, and I will tell you now to never put a dime into the block ability…because blocking in Adventure Time: Pirates of the Enchiridion, like in many other RPGs of this ilk, is basically pointless. Never burn a turn, always deal damage or attempt to.
BMO, which is a living video game console system and not the Bank of Montreal, basically breaks the game, and you get them in your party after a couple of hours. They are a support character that can boost a shared power bar for the party that allows more special moves to be performed, which combined with Jake’s or Finn’s attacks that hit multiple enemies in one turn really puts you on top of every fight. There are bosses, but I never felt afraid of losing to them; instead, it felt more like a fight of attrition and seeing how long I could last, with bosses often healing themselves or summoning fodder minions to fight before damaging them more. I also didn’t unlock every special ability for each character; these are usually given out as rewards for side quests, but I felt fine going forward with what I had and just spent dosh making sure I was dealing the most damage with these abilities as possible.
Honestly, Adventure Time: Pirates of the Enchiridion is fairly simple and easy as far as a game goes, and you are given more options than you truly need, especially when it comes to items. My bag is stuffed to the brim with strangely-named items, many of which I collected early on and never even used once by the final boss fight. Unfortunately, the enemies never become too much of a challenge to require throwing down offensive and defensive buffs, and the only items I used and spent money on were ones that healed my party members. Also, the game has some performance issues, hitching often when out on the ocean and passing through a loading screen section. Sometimes sound effects can be heard before a fight even commences. Side quests are finicky, with some needing to be re-triggered for them to get completed.
Adventure Time: Pirates of the Enchiridion turned out to be okay at best. If anything, it has perhaps inspired me to seek out an episode or two of the animated show to watch, and here’s hoping it is more exciting than a flooded world, which, by the end, I still never understood the reasoning behind the villain’s motives. I really like BMO and Marceline, based on what I saw here. Anyways, I 100%-ed the game, unlocking all Achievements, and have removed it from my Xbox One. Stay tuned for its arresting haiku.