Tying in to a series on the Cartoon Network and apparently a sequel to another game, this is a retro style explore a dungeon and kill the monsters and take the treasure style adventure. It harks back to the days of Gauntlet in some ways and is presented in an 8 bit style that we were all familiar with at one time.
There are four characters to start with, with another 4 to discover by rescuing them from the dungeon’s deeper levels. There are also two or more characters that can be rescued and become quest givers besides the Princess who gives you quests at the start of the game.
The four characters are, a human apparently dressed in a onesie that is the quickest on his feet by the looks of it and is fairly agile.
A female vampire that floats through the air, particularly useful for avoiding holes in the floor and to getting to areas protected by these gaps.
A round thing that looks like a biscuit. Slow and a tad cumbersome but tough as nails and can heal some health by actually taking hits.
The fourth character looks like a white dog and is speedy. He also is able to cast more magic than his friends. (more on this later)
Health is measured in heart tokens on display in the top left corner of your screen. That is where you can keep track of treasures, keys and other items that you may discover throughout tour journey.
Health is actually called thumps, to measure the number of hits you can take. Imagination fuels magic which I think is one of the nicest touches in this game.
As for the plot it’s as basic as it can be; a group of four friends, (the four characters listed above) are employed by Princess Bubblegum to explore the dungeon beneath her realm.
It seems that she has only just learnt of it’s existence and she need some brave vic- I mean volunteers to explore the dungeon. She does know that some folks have already gone down there and gone missing.
For some reason though this slips her mind at the start of the proceedings, but being the hero or heroes you are you are more than willing to go help her. After all you ARE adventurers aren't you? What’s the worst that can happen?
Well you can get killed by a monster, fall down a dark chasm (unless you are the vampire) to name but two perils. And be advised you can only exit the dungeon when all the conditions of a quest are fulfilled (though it is possible to complete the next quest in line without actually being given it and even being aware that you have done). Exiting is achieved through the ‘game pause’ menu. Just press start and you can see what you have collected in the terms of items, trophies and tokens.
The treasures by the way are a valuable currency. You see going down the dungeon is not a free exercise. You see the princess has a neat way of collecting revenue; to reenter the dungeon it will cost you a portion of treasures previously collected!
The treasure also helps pay for upgrades to thumps, imagination etc. So you do not get to keep all of that nice sparkly stuff that you have fought so hard to get! C’est la Vie!
The game has a generally gentle learning curve but that does not mean to say it will not get any harder throughout it’s 100 levels, heck no.
Wait? Did you read that right? 100 levels? Yes, 100. They all seem much of a likeness to be honest though there is an icy area and an underground forest to break up the routine but there is very little variation between levels for the most part.
It’s simple and easy to learn and even the youngest player will be able to get through some of the more challenging later levels.
For a more mature gamer such as myself and other reviewers on this site will sail through this one handed and even the youngest player will be able to cope, that at least shines in it’s favour.
It can be played solo or with up to four players on co-op as per Gauntlet. This is perhaps where the game may be able to really shine as it were. There’s no online play but after the main game is over there is another game tucked away in there to be unlocked.
It’s more of the same but somewhat tougher and less forgiving in some ways but with practice the young ones will be able to conquer these new challenges.
Movement is controlled by the left stick or the D-pad. Characters do move smoothly and well in response to input. Attacks are with the X button for the main weapon and secondary attacks are launched by a press of the square button. The O button launches magical attacks (each character has his/her/it’s own type of magic to use, I’ll leave that to you to discover for yourselves) and the R1 button helps the explorer block incoming attacks. A quick tap of the L1 button means you can dodge, but be careful, watch out for those yawning chasms in the floor!
Musically we have an old style soundtrack to the game. The music does not jar or irritate too much but it fails to inspire or evoke emotion as well. The sound track is well, there.
It leaves no lasting impressions and after a while you just sort of blank it out as you play.
Graphically, any screenshots on this site will show you what you are going to get for your money here.
To me they look crudely drawn and do not appeal to my taste. Is this what modern cartoons are like?
It looks like it’s been drawn by a school kid. This is not an insult as such, I just want to say that it does nothing for me. There is nothing fancy or flashy on display here, so don’t expect dramatic explosions, or rag doll figures flying through the air. As said it’s a throw back to the old 8-bit days.
Dialogue/Voice & Sound Effects
Well I suppose it’s adequate for this title. The main characters say very little to be honest. The Princess is quite vocal and speaks in a suitably child like voice.
Look you are NOT going to get any award winning voice acting here, what you get is I guess, what you need for this title. They are suitable and that’s all I can say about it.
You’ll hear creatures sort of make growling, or squeaking noises. The characters will make comments about the items that they discover, such as "Can't beat Dungeon food".
These soon become irritating to be honest.
Impacts from weapons are fairly nondescript and lack any 'oomph!'. You’ll hear characters crunching food, and occasionally whimpering when they die, but this won’t happen too much in the earliest stages of this dungeon crawl.
The Final Verdict
This is no epically scaled, dynamic Diablo 3, far from it. The in depth story isn’t here, the NPC’s are by no means as interesting but then again you would not expect that in a title of this type or aimed at the age group it’s targeting.
That perhaps is the reason I feel about it like I do. For me there is just not the depth and replay value present in games like Diablo 3 or Dungeon Siege 3. Youngsters who are fans of this (to me at least) fairly obscure cartoon show will enjoy this, but more mature gamers are going to be perhaps watching the little ones playing and longing to get on the console and fire up something more engaging and grown up.
This is not this reviewer’s cup of tea at all. If I was between 7 and 10 years of age I might rate this higher but as an adult the best I can do is give it...