I am a casual fan of Adventure Time; I’ve seen a couple episodes and played a couple of the games. When I saw Pirates of the Enchiridion I assumed what I would get is an action adventure game not dissimilar to a Legend of Zelda title. That assumption was based upon the fact that Adventure Time games have aped the game series before, with Hey Ice King! Why Did You Steal Our Garbage?!! being inspired by Zelda II: The Adventure of Link and The Secret of the Nameless Kingdom being inspired by the top down Zelda titles. What I should have got with Pirates of the Enchiridion should have been another Zelda like game because what I got was a bizarre role playing game that just doesn’t work.

I’m unsure where in the Adventure Time story this game takes place, but it involves Jake and Finn falling asleep to wake up and find the world has flooded. They acquire a boat (conveniently located near the structure they are trapped on) and head to the Ice Kingdom to confront the Ice King. After finding out what happened, Jake and Finn head out on an adventure that takes them all around the flooded land of Ooo.

PRICE I’D PAY: $9.99

Right from the start I have to say that the visuals of the game are probably the best translation of the cartoon into 3D models I’ve seen. Jake’s eyes are a little weird looking but that’s about the only gripe there. The characters are fully voiced by the cast of the show as well (the main cast anyways, I can’t speak for every tertiary character).

The gameplay starts in the boat (christened Jeff due to a fan vote) which controls fairly well. One trigger accelerates, the other brakes/reverses, turning is easy, and later on a cannon becomes available. Exploration of the world map is done in the boat, sailing to different locations including completely optional locations. Once at a location, the gameplay shifts into third person adventure game controls, with full 3D movement in the world, a jump button, and an action button that does different things depending on the character (Finn swings his sword, Jake turns into a scooter for quick movement). Had gameplay stuck to this maybe I would have stayed with this game, but it doesn’t.

The first problem is battles are done in traditional role playing game turn based combat. Like Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest, the characters each take their turn attacking, using items, spells, etc. With Pirates of the Enchiridion the names of status effects have been changed to fit the world, but there’s an equivalent to berzerk/rage, sleep, confusion, etc. The primary difference from other RPG titles are that the equivalent to spells or special techniques use energy from a communal pool that adds another point to the pool at the end of a turn and that items can be used without forfeiting an attack. None of this is the real issue. What is the issue is that battles are swayed by the stats of the party, and leveling up in this game doesn’t increase the actual stats but the maximum level each stat can get to. To increase each stat involves pouring money into each aspect of a character. Want to increase health? Well then there might not be enough money to increase attack. That’s absurd, but it gets worse.

How do I get money? Victories offer some cash but not a lot. Most cash comes from smashing everything in sight on the 3D exploration segments. Basically, take the most tedious activity of a LEGO game and make it necessary to advance a game. Instead of grinding battles I am grinding my patience as I break everything in sight over and over and over. The world items respawn too. It is clear this is the main way to make money and the developers wanted this. Because characters don’t swap out equipment I can’t subsidize the cost of new equipment (and therefore better stats) by selling old equipment. This a terrible system.

The second issue is mandatory stealth sections. Any game that isn’t a stealth game that forces stealth sections is making a poor decision. Stop this. I have never played a game and gone “That forced stealth section that plays different from the rest of the game sure was fantastic.” In Pirates of Enchiridion the stealth section is performed by Marceline because she can turn invisible and sneak past the enemies. However, Marceline can only stay invisible for so long, which means I could be right in front of an enemy and turn visible and be brought into a fight that I cannot win (a one on what is basically eight fight is just not feasible). The timer for her invisibility is not clearly shown or heard so it’s hard to judge when exactly she’ll become visible again.

The biggest issue though is that enemies can initiate battle from what seems like random distances and not touch like other RPGs. So Marceline turns visible, and despite being a fair ways away from the enemy they initiate combat and win because again, it’s four groups of two making eight on one. I wanted to start combat earlier on in the game so as Finn I walked up to and enemy and touched them. I tried to hit them with my sword. Nothing. The rules of engagement in this game are poorly defined.

There were other issues too. At one point, I just fell through the floor. I hadn’t seen that in a video game in a long time, but I just clear went straight below the terrain. Another time the game just crashed and went back the Xbox dashboard. This game came out in July. These issues should have been fixed by now. These two events mixed with multiple tries to pass the awful stealth section just made me stop playing. Had the core gameplay been enjoyable I may have tried to push on through, but if I want mindless destruction I’ll play a LEGO game (maybe LEGO Dimensions that has an Adventure Time set) or an RPG (I recommend Dragon Quest XI).

I had hopes for this game. The production value looked like it was there, and to some extent it is, but it is wrapped around a mess of a game that can’t decide what it wants to be and who it is for.

The easiest answer I have for that is to just not buy this game, even now that its price has been dropped to $30. Adventure Time fans deserve better. Kids deserve better. If this game goes on a deep discount I’m sure there’s at least $10 worth of content here, but honestly there’s still better games to spend that money on.

Review copy of game provided by publisher.

  • Looks like Adventure Time
  • Voice acting is to show quality
  • Small bits of humor
  • Sailing to islands is neat
  • Music is pretty good, but nothing memorable
  • Slow combat
  • Leveling up is terrible
  • Glitches
  • Mandatory stealth segments
  • Unclear what initiates combat
  • Unfair battles
Written by
Anthony is the resident Canadian. He enjoys his chicken wings hot and drinks way too much Coca-Cola. His first game experience was on his father's Master System and he is a loyal SEGA fanboy at heart.