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Shelved games: Why I gave up on Adventure Time: Pirates of the Enchiridion

The most difficult games to review – or talk about really – are the mediocre ones. They’re titles that generally don’t score high in traditional reviews and they’re also not outright awful. Adventure Time: Pirates of the Enchiridion is one of those mediocre games and one of the most disappointed titles I’ve ever played.

Adventure Time: Pirates of the Enchiridion

Adventure Time is one of the TV shows that I adore. While I haven’t watched it in its entirety, I have seen a good chunk; the episode about the Ice King and Marceline’s origin episode is absolutely amazing. Given how rich the lore of the show is, how many characters there are, and how expansive the world is, you’d think it would be easy to make a role-playing game (RPG) based on the property. Developer Climax Studios (Sudeki, Silent Hill: Origins) has proven that you can’t, or at least they can’t.

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Before I continue with the review, I need to reiterated that this is a “Shelved Games” article. That means I didn’t play Adventure Time: Pirates of the Enchiridion through its entirety and gave up part-way.

The game starts off interestingly enough: protagonists Jake and Finn wake up with the world of Ooo covered in water. They realise that the Ice King’s kingdom has been melting and the seek him out to find answers. He tells them that his ice crown is gone and pirates have invaded the land. Now, it’s up to the two heroes to seek out more of their friends and fix Ooo. It’s not really a grandiose start, but, hey, Chrono Trigger had you attending a fair.

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It’s a bland, bland world

Jake and Finn sail the world in a small, barely animated boat. The rest of Ooo is just as blandly represented; there’s something not quite right about the art style. The game tries to mimic the TV show’s style buy utilising cell shading, but it’s all… off. Locations lack any real depth and feel like pre-game builds, while characters are just there-to-be-there and don’t stand out. It’s almost as if the developers just didn’t have the time to add finishing touches or really refine the world of Ooo. And that’s one of Adventure Time: Pirates of the Enchiridion‘s biggest problems: it just doesn’t feel finished or polished.

Whenever a character jumps, the game will jerk and slow down almost as if it’s trying to read the game data for the jump animation. Your characters will frequently walk through items and clip through objects. Speech is often cut off or starts too early, and there’s barely any music to the game. There’s so much to the game that requires testing and polishing that I have to wonder if the developers weren’t contracted to get it out of the door as fast as possible.

There are glimmers of hope where the game feels like it wants to be Costume Quest, or a Mario & Luigi, or even Earthbound, but those titles are benchmarks that Pirates of the Enchiridion will never reach.

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Rather watch the show while playing the game

And speaking of great RPG battle systems, Adventure Time‘s combat is bull, methodical, and downright boring. It ticks every mark in the ‘General JRPG Battle System’ manual without doing anything new. You can attack enemies, heal, block, and use special movies, but all of it just feels so lifeless. The game would absolutely thrive if battles were more interactive, such as hitting a button at the right moment to increase damage or defend. Hell, the title could have been an excellent action RPG, but, alas, it’s just a generic RPG title.

Overall, the game is a pity and a disappointment. I was excited to try it out and find the good in Adventure Time, but all I found was a dull title that part of me wanted to play, and the other part wanted to delete.

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