One of the major design issues Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon suffers from is failing to give players motivation. Maybe it's commentary on the game's title we weren't clever enough to get, but a player should always know why they're playing. Maybe it's to see what happens next in the story. Maybe it's to upgrade a weapon, gain a level, discover a new environment, or tackle some beast that has been pestering you for ages. Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon has none of that, leaving you to fight the same enemies in the same levels for the same dull pieces of loot. Having collectible sub-weapons and upgradeable stats is an attempt to add meaning to each dive, but nothing about them is compelling in the least. Why are you exploring the dungeon? The honest answer is "I don't know". An even more honest answer is "I don't care".
That loot you picked up? Spend it before you go out on an adventure again, otherwise the Princess takes it all for "taxes". You can't build any sort of treasure cache to upgrade things, forcing you to fight just long enough to buy a better skill, then losing the leftovers and getting very little for your trouble. It's a failed attempt at making Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon Because I DON'T KNOW seem "hardcore", but in practice it just makes you feel like everything you do is pointless. Attacking enemies has even been rendered moot, as you don't gain anything from smacking them around. Just fewer monsters.
Adding co-op to Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon Because I DON'T KNOW doesn't really change much. Instead of one person exploring the dungeon and not knowing why, two, three or four people are exploring and not knowing why. You can tackle enemies together, not that you'd need to, but you can. Loot is gathered individually but can be shared on the surface, which is actually a thoughtful way to handle things because you get to physically hand things over, proving you're all just a big bunch of friendly friends. Some fun might accidentally be had while everyone teases the game, but when you watch Mystery Science Theater 3000 and laugh so hard your appendix hurts, you don't thank the bad movie they were riffing. You thank your silhouetted buddies.
It's sad to say, but Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon Because I DON'T KNOW just doesn't manage to pull itself together to be worth your time. If it lacked the Adventure Time license it wouldn't make the tiniest of splashes in the big wide video game pool. Another six months in development and it could have turned out all right, as the core ideas look great on paper. As it stands, most of the basic mechanics would have to undergo a major overhaul to extract any sort of fun out of this one. Sorry Finn, Jake. Maybe next time.
The Co-Optimus review of Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon Because I DON'T KNOW is based on the Wii U version of the game. A copy of the game was supplied by the publisher for review purposes.
The Co-Op Experience: Play as Finn, Jake, Marceline or Cinnamon Bun as you and up to three friends save the Candy Kingdom by exploring the Secret Royal dungeon below the Land of Ooo.
Co-Optimus game reviews focus on the cooperative experience of a game, our final score graphic represents this experience along with an average score for the game overall. For an explanation of our scores please check our Review Score Explanation Guide.