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EXCLUSIVE: Hands-On with Adventure Time: Finn and Jake Investigations

Posted by Cat on June 17, 2015

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You’ve never seen the Land of Ooo like this! Adventure Time: Finn and Jake Investigations brings the beloved cartoon series into full 3D for the first time and does it in a truly unique visual style. But the firsts don’t stop there – this is the series’ first mystery adventure game and the first time the entire voice cast has been assembled for a game. Publisher Little Orbit invited us to dive into the mystery in an exclusive hands-on. This is what we discovered.

In Finn and Jake Investigations, the boy and his dog-bro decide to carry on their parents investigation business and receive X-Files-like missions leading them all over Ooo. A perfect conceit to give Adventure Time it’s first “adventure” game. Players navigate Finn and Jake from screen to screen; gathering clues and solving puzzles. Finn takes the lead role, with Jake stepping in on-call to get to those hard to reach places. The two also team up for occasional action combat, where a powered-up team can pull off classic combo moves like the Jakesuit.

It might not look like much from the screen captures, but Finn and Jake Investigations 3D take on the world and characters is amazing. Developer Vicious Cycle have created a style for the familiar characters and world reminiscent of stop motion, utilizing textures and minute details to truly bring the show to life. Surprisingly enough, this change was at Cartoon Network’s behest. Vicious Cycle intended to go the 3D cel-shaded look, but were encouraged to make the game look decidedly different. It’s a suggestion that’s paid off. Finn’s clothing has a variety of fuzzy knit textures with stitches around the opening on his hat; background objects in the treehouse look like they’re made of clay. Perhaps the coolest detail of all is Princess Bubblegum’s hair which, for the first time in the show’s history, actually looks like gum – complete with sugar crystals.

The game is all-ages fare; simple in style and puzzle solving. You could say it’s a “classic” adventure game experience with a lot of running between rooms to work through character interactions and clue assemblage. The game is simple by design and plays well; with easy interaction options and a straight forward inventory system. Battles are fun and the characters that are mobile move great. Secondary characters and environment interaction could stand to be stepped up, but the game was still a work in progress. For young players, Finn and Jake Investigations could be a great jumping on point to get into classics like Monkey Island or Grim Fandango. Meanwhile, for Adventure Time fans of all ages there’s a lot to keep you playing.

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As previously mentioned, the entire voice cast has contributed to the game. Not just the main cast of Finn, Jake, Marcy, Simon, and Peebles, but a host of side characters from Tree Trunks (Polly Lou Livingston) to Cuber (the incomparable Emo Philips). Yes, Finn and Jake Investigations is in fact a tale of graybles. The game is divided up into five episodes each with their own mysteries, show-style title cards (including an amazing Abbey Road parody), and an inter-connected grayble theme hidden across the stories. Amidst the awesome voice cast and cool character interaction are tons of nods for longtime fans, such as a memorial cake for Rootbeer Guy and myriad references to past adventures. As an added note of awesomeness, the game includes a fan-created character, Sunny – now voiced by Princess Bubblegum voice actor Hynden Walch.

Adventure Time: Finn and Jake Investigations comes out this October on basically every platform conceivable (Xbox One, 360 PS4, PS3, WiiU, and 3DS) exact date is still TBD, but in the meantime check out the team’s previous Adventure Time title, the Link to the Past-style Secret of the Nameless Kingdom.

Keep watching for our E3 coverage all week long, or join the discussion on the Nerdy Show Forums.

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About Cat

Cat is Executive Producer of The Nerdy Show Network as well as Lead Host of the titular Nerdy Show podcast and one of the site's founders. Her illustration, graphic design, and writing both journalistic and fictitious have appeared in various publications and public spaces.

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