Adventure Time: Finn and Jake Investigations Review (XONE)

AT: Finn and Jake Investigations screen
AT: Finn and Jake Investigations screen. Little Orbit

"Adventure Time" is a series that seems like it would be perfect for videogames.  A young adventurous boy and a magical dog exploring a crazy magical world is pretty much what the medium was invented for in the first place.  It is strange, then, that the four main Adventure Time games released so far - which includes the new Finn and Jake Investigations - have only ever been "okay".  Maybe if they were more consistent instead of covering four separate genres the series would have a chance to improve.

  Building off of 2014's solid Zelda-style Secret of the Nameless Kingdom, for example, would have been a good start, but instead Finn and Jake Adventures is a point-and-click adventure that, once again, only manages to be "okay". 

Game Details

  • Publisher:  Little Orbit
  • Developer: Vicious Cycle
  • ESRB Rating: “E10" for Everyone 10+
  • Genre: Adventure
  • Pros:  Great dialogue from the real cast; exploring key locations in Ooo; solid story
  • Cons:  Combat is awful; visuals only so-so; puzzles are pretty obtuse

Story

Finn and Jake Investigations starts out with Finn and Jake finding an old TickerType machine that used to belong to their parents.  The machine suddenly starts spitting out messages about crimes happening around Ooo, so Finn and Jake decide to play detectives to solve the mysteries.  Each of the small handful of investigations is, essentially, an episode of the TV show and everything is connected into one larger story.

  It takes around 8-10 hours to finish everything, which is actually pretty meaty these days.

Gameplay

The actual gameplay is made up of two parts - investigations and combat.  For the investigation parts, you just wander around 3D versions of key locations in Ooo in order to find clues, talk to people, and solve puzzles sort of like a Telltale game.

  The investigation sections are generally pretty simple as you basically have to scour every inch of a level looking for anything to interact with, and once you've picked up every object and talked to everyone, you can then go about solving puzzles that allow you to move to the next area. 

The way you solve puzzles is usually by combining items that you find into new items - a bottle + water + soap = a bubble you can use to travel to the next room, for example - but the puzzles can be kind of obtuse.  Oftentimes you'll find items you won't need to use until much later, and you won't have the context of what you're even supposed to do until you talk to everyone and pick up everything, which makes the game kind of grindy and repetitive. 

It can occasionally be frustrating, too, as interact-able items aren't marked in any way, so you just sort of fumble around until an icon pops up letting you know you can interact with something.  It can get pretty annoying when you think you have everything you need and have looked everywhere but the game keeps telling you there's something you should be looking for.  It is also annoying how the game is very, very finicky about when the context sensitive icons pop up.

  You have to stand in exactly the right spot for the game to work.

While you're investigating you will also occasionally have to fight enemies.  These combat sections drag you out of the normal level and plop you into an arena where you fight a few waves of easy enemies until they're all gone.  Finn and Jake have some tag team moves you can use once you fill up a meter, but generally the combat just consists of you mashing the attack button until your enemies all pass out.  Your reward is loot - to re-fill the duo's treasure room - and occasionally new weapons that make Finn stronger and make the combat even more easy and boring.

  I could have done without the combat, to be honest.

All in all, though, Finn and Jake Investigations can be decently fun when you figure out how to deal with its quirks.  Each of the different cases usually has an interesting story, and because the game is fully voiced by the real cast, the dialogue is usually pretty hilarious.  Many of the puzzles, while obtuse at first, can be pretty satisfying to solve and seeing how all of the seemingly disparate parts all ultimately fit together is fun. 

Graphics & Sound

The presentation is a bit up and down here.  The visuals use full 3D models of the characters, which look pretty weird to be honest, but all of the characters are easy to identify.  They are well animated, though, and it is interesting to see the distinct "Adventure Time" movements presented in 3D.  The backgrounds, on the other hand, are generally pretty dull and lack detail and only vaguely resemble the areas they're supposed to.  Still, there is a certain thrill to exploring these areas like the Candy Kingdom or Treetrunks' house even if they aren't exactly like you imagined them to be.

The sound, on the other hand, is pure "Adventure Time" though and through.  The voice cast from the show recorded new dialogue for the game and it all sounds amazing.  The music is also just about perfect as well. 

Bottom Line

In the end, Adventure Time: Finn and Jake Investigations is another okay game in a growing line of okay games.  I would have preferred a sequel to Secret of the Nameless Kingdom, which I actually thought was pretty good, but maybe we'll see that if Way Forward gets to make another AT game.  For now, though, Adventure Time: Finn and Jake Investigations tells good enough stories that fans of the show will still have a good time even if the gameplay is a little simplistic.  

Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.