Secret of the Nameless Kingdom

*Title: Adventure Time: Secret of the Nameless Kindgdom

*Released: November 18th, 2014

*Developer: WayForward Technologies

*Publisher: Little Orbit

*Genre(s): Action, Adventure

*Platform(s): PlaySstation 3, Xbox 360, PlayStation Vita, Microsoft Windows

     Yes, I admit it: I ended up deleting  Adventure Time: Secret of the Nameless Kingdom from my 3DS’s micro SD card. And no, I’m none too happy about this turn of events. I mean, I spent nearly a day going back and forth with myself about this decision. I had spent several more days before that one making absolutely certain that I could avoid having my experience with this game end this way. I really wanted to write a review about another awesome game that I just had an absolute blast with from beginning to end. I wanted to be able to say, “ Nameless Kingdomwas such a delightful game . . .”

. . .oh, wait. I CAN that because it truly was delightful, with the key word there being WAS. So why would I delete something I genuinely enjoyed at one point? It’s a long story . . .

     Along with being a fan of the Steven Universe series, I’ve been watching Adventure Time practically since its first airing in either March or April of 2010. I like the fun and totally trippy vibe of the show. So naturally, I got curious about the games that were starting to come out. And I got super curious about Nameless Kingdomwhen I learned of its release. I was hoping it would the full-on Adventure Time game I’d been on the lookout for during the last few years.

     And when the release date for Nameless Kingdomfinally arrived, I . . .just didn’t download or purchase it. I guess I wasn’t in the mood  for a $30 digital purchase right about then. I decided to wait until a later time and then completely forgot all about this game for a few months. I wouldn’t see anything of or about it again until almost six months later, which would be about the middle of May. I found this title hanging out with all of the ‘price drops’ on the Nintendo e-shop at half off. “Nice!” I thought to myself. “I’ll get to play this interesting looking game after all.”

     I downloaded Nameless Kingdomwithout a second thought and was instantly thrilled with the−

*Presentation*

     I’m starting here this time around because the presentation of this title WAS (there’s that word again) damn-near perfect. It was the main reason why I was so delighted by it. The entirety of the graphical style is one big homage (or possible a ripoff) to one of the most well-known installment of the Zelda franchise: A Link to the Past. Not to mention a good majority of the game-play elements: movement, combat, NPC dialogue, hidden areas/items, unlocking various abilities to access new areas. Nameless Kingdommight as well be a Zelda game in Adventure Time clothing.

     Not only was this game a feast for the eyes, it was also music to the ears. There’s some very enjoyable voice acting to be found here and it’s mostly done by the cast of the series. The most notable examples of this are Jeremy Shada (Finn) and John DiMaggio (Jake). Ahhh, so nice. I was itching to see what other little treats Nameless Kingdomwould surprise me with.

*Story*

     It’s quite a simple, cut-and-dried affair. Finn and Jake have com this nameless region of Ooo under the orders of Princess Bubblegum and they have no idea why. Yeah . . .Anyway, they soon find the Pillowmint Butler (this land’s version of Peppermint Butler) who tells them the coronation that was SUPPOSED to take place the following day. He also tells them about how it has been postponed indefinitely due to all three of the princesses in line for the throne (Lullaby, Slumber, and Nightmare) getting kidnapped and being sealed within the three temples of the region. So now it’s up to our heroes to rescue these princesses so that one may rule the Nameless Kingdom.

*The Nameless Kingdom*

     The nameless kingdom in this part of Ooo is divided into three separate areas, each one with a very distinct look and feel. All are highly detailed and intricately designed with many branching paths, alternate routes, cave trails, etc. I found it all too easy to get lost or be unable to find my way back to places I’d previously visited. Stuff like that brings me to the first issue I had in completing Nameless Kingdom: navigation problems. And also, why did the map have to be so small and poorly detailed. I knew I was playing this on a 3DS and would have to deal with a much smaller screen, but this was some major ridiculousness!

    But I wasn’t gonna let something so insignificant keep me from enjoying ‘Nameless Kingdom’s’ inherent awesomeness. I soldiered on and conquered the first dungeon with little incident. I’ve got to admit that it was my favorite dungeon in the game. Both the length and the difficulty were just perfect. Before I knew it, I was looking for a way to gain access to the area where the next one was located. And that’s when my second issue with the game came up: it can be WAY too cryptic for its own good. I had certainly noticed the very clear lack of handholding from the very outset of the game but I wasn’t too bothered by it. I like it when games go a little out of their way to make me think. However, the situation I’m about to describe and its solution were just WAY out of left field, even by Adventure Time standards.

     The whole fiasco was referred to as ‘Poot and Bun’ on the Internet. I was itching to get the next dungeon started but I couldn’t even access the area it was in because some sentient pastry wouldn’t move the fudge off of the bridge. Cinnamon Bun strikes again. Ugh. His story for not getting out of the way? “I’m not moving until something hilarious happens!” What does that even mean?! What was I even supposed to do at this point?

     Turns out I had to handle this craziness by doing one of the weirdest things I’d ever had to do in all of my years of gaming. I needed to go find a strange stone monument that was just an ass sticking out of the ground. Just wait − it gets better! I was then supposed to make it past all the enemies that were patrolling it for some reason and grab one of the puffs of gas that were coming out of it and stuff it into one of my baggies. And then I had to take the poot all the way back to the idiot on the bridge who then laughed so hard he rolled himself right off of it. Brilliant.

     I admit that I never would have thought to do something like this. But that’s just what happens in the wide and wonderful world of video games sometimes. So once again I decided to soldier on, still holding out hope that Nameless Kingdomwould somehow turn out to be a worthwhile game. It was a hot that had seen me through some of the more annoying aspects of this game. Unfortunately, it began to crack when I finally found my way to the second dungeon.

     The second dungeon was insanely difficult compared to the first one. It took me a whole day to defeat it . . .a whole day of getting stumped by puzzles. And for whatever reason, almost every room was teeming with baddies and traps which made it so that I could never make it through more than a couple of them without getting ‘reckt.’ Progress was unbearably slow. You see, I had already been dying a lot to the enemies in the overworld thanks to the less-than-accurate controls (yet another one of those issues I had been having since the beginning of my playthrough); they often rendered me a sitting duck in close quarters.

     By the time I finished the third dungeon, the hope that I set out on my journey with was utterly shattered and replaced with a desperation to just get this game over with so I could write this review and get back to playing games that were actually fun. There was only one more of those damned dungeons left (and one huge, game-long sidequest) between me and the end of this thing and I was gonna see it, dammit! Spoiler alert: the last one in the game is revealed to be the first castle you visited back at the beginning. And also: Nightmare Princess was the one who caused this mess in the first place. She had a perfectly good reason too. Quote: “Do you really think there’d be room for a Nightmare Princess in the Lullaby Kingdom?” No. No I don’t.

     The last dungeon in Nameless Kingdomwas freakin’ huge, about the size of the 2nd and 3rd dungeons combined. It was also ten times more complicated and frustrating and I spent a good two or three days trying to beat it with no luck. I should also mention that I died in there about 100 times. (I lost count.) Trying and failing to make it through this place is what finally killed my resolve and turned all of that desperation I mentioned earlier into sheer apathy in regards to completing this game. Eventually, I couldn’t bring myself to even play it anymore. It was with a heavy heart and a weary mind that I pressed that ‘HOME’ button on my 3DS and tapped the ‘POWER OFF’ icon on the screen, save data be damned.

     How could this have gone so wrong?! How could a game with so much potential to be something so great crash and burn so badly? Why did everything have to end up like this?! The only thing left to do, apart from writing an honest review, was to check out the game-ending that I was never going to make it to on my own. To the Youtubes! This had better be worth it . . .

One video viewing later . . .

     That’s it? Are you kidding me?! I just went through one of the most miserable gaming experiences of my life and −gah! − unbelievable!

     I so badly wanted to like this game and write a glowing review about how much I enjoyed it all the way through. But, sadly, it was not to be. Playing Nameless Kingdomleft me with such a deep feeling of disappointment that not even deleting it from my 3DS’s micro SD card could cheer me up. I still feel empty when I think about the whole ordeal.

     Despite what anyone reading my review might come to believe, I honestly don’t think that it’s a truly bad game. Even though it suffers from some terrible design flaws and has some terrible endings, it wouldn’t be fair to condemn the entire thing just because I had a terrible time with it. I would even encourage other gamers to give this game a shot. I only hope that they have a better experience than I did.

 

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