Tuesday, May 06, 2014


Adventure Time: Hey Ice King! Why'd You Steal Our Garbage?!!

It's never easy to translate something from one medium to another.  Do you just assume that people will be familiar with the original work going in?  How do you reintroduce characters and story elements in a way that makes newcomers feel welcome without leaving fans of the original feeling like you're just rehashing things that they already know?

I bought the game largely because it had some good hype behind it and an interesting pedigree; Wayforward has made a respectable name for themselves, and taking your cues from the black sheep of the Zelda franchise is a pretty ballsy move.  I'd seen one or two episodes of the show -- enough to know that I should expect some oddball humor, but not enough to really understand the characters and mythos.  And yeah, the game was fine enough in its own way, but I found myself not really... getting it.  Important characters would come into the story, and I'd have a hard time keeping them all straight, and the game was actually more difficult to figure out as a result.  Like... what's this thing I just got?  Who am I supposed to give it to again?  Why is that important?  My overall feeling was that I was being left out of the joke.

When I say that the biggest problem with Hey Ice King! is that it leaves non-fans out in the cold, it's with the knowledge that it was probably the best option they could have gone with.  The primary point of a tie-in game is arguably to give the established fans a chance to interact with the fictional world that they've come to know and love through the show/movie/book/whatever.  I think it's better to alienate the non-fans than to dumb things down and aggravate the fans.

Because once I familiarized myself a bit with some binge-watching on Netflix... MAN.

It's not exactly a masterpiece or anything, but you can tell a lot of love went into it.  It reminds me of the games in Retro Game Challenge -- it's kind of short and kind of simplistic, but it gives you the look, the sound, and the tropes of classic games of yesteryear.  You get the feel of a classic adventure game without a lot of the cheap puzzles, obscure item fetches, and annoying mazes that made Nintendo Power such a valuable resource back in the day.  Sure, there's some backtracking, but it's largely painless; the game world is pretty small, and when you are forced to fight through a side-scrolling level to get from one part of Ooo to another, it's usually fairly brief.

It's just this small, perfect little game.  Just challenging enough to keep you engaged, just short enough that it doesn't overstay its welcome, and filled with the personality that fans expect.

I've played both the DS and 3DS versions, and I have to say the 3DS version is the one to get, hands-down.  Not only does the 3DS version have more audio and visual assets, but it's pretty clear that the levels were designed with the 3DS's finer resolution in mind.  Not to say that the DS version is unplayable -- I've played through both the regular and New Game + modes -- but there are one or two platforming bits that are much easier when more of the level fits on the screen.  And I gotta say, the 3D effects are really eye-catching.  I dunno; I just think there's something cooler about using stereoscopic effects on sprites and background elements than on proper 3D models and worlds.

As of this writing, the 3DS version is a $20 download.  Fans will get their money's worth.


Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?