This is going to be less of a review and more of an experience log. I’ve rewritten this log a couple of times, looking for the best writing style, so bear with me as this is fully experimental.
I first heard of this game from IGN’s review by Lucas M. Thomas, and it grabbed my attention when he described it as Zelda-like. I am a consummate Zelda fan, as if you couldn’t tell by the screen name The Legend of Mii. I’ve also long had complicated feelings of love and hate for Zelda II: The Adventures of Link, enjoying the two dimensional jumping combat alternating with 2D overhead map, but finding its themes and difficulty curve uncommonly dark and brutal. I always wanted to see it tried again, but understood why Nintendo might feel the push into full Ocarina of Time style 3D might be the method of choice for Zelda going forward.
One could say that I’ve also dug up as many Zelda clones as the recent gaming market could make, including Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy and Beyond Good and Evil, both for the Gamecube. I have a lot of patience for game developers that copy the formula and try their own takes on the subject matter. This meant that I was quite prepared to take a risk on a new property in the old style.
I should clarify something first though. My knowledge of the source material, Adventure Time, is patently weak. I decided not to remedy this situation, the better to judge the content as a video game without knowing how it works as a trans-media property. It seemed a useful experiment after Retro City Rampage, a game I purchased almost exclusively for the abundant references that I was sure to catch.
I checked a few other review sites, to make sure it wasn`t just online hype, and then traveled to Microplay to get a copy. I had uncommon luck, for not only did they have a Collector’s Edition of Adventure Time in stock, but they had a copy of the old Gameboy Advance version of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past/Four Swords! Score!
The Collector’s Edition sold for $40 Canadian, about what I expected the normal version to cost. I snapped it up, thinking I would be out the same money whether I liked it or not, but the Collector’s Version could be liquidated on Amazon more easily. Turns out, I might not need that extra security, but I am getting ahead of myself.
The box includes the typical game, a custom premium “SteelBook” case, which feels cool to the touch as metal would, a fold out map of the Land of Ooo, a Book of Beasts guide, and a limited edition replica of Finn’s sword stylus. I am trying to include pictures of all of them. And hey, as icing on the cake, a code for Club Nintendo. For the uninitiated, this means registering your code with Club Nintendo earns coins, which can be redeemed for cool stuff, including a choice of downloadable games on either Wiiware or Nintendo 3DS eShop. I wasn`t expecting this in a game published by WayForward rather than Nintendo, but it is welcome indeed. With all of this stuff, it is hard to consider the value wasted.
Tomorrow, I will be back with first impressions of the game. For now, just take my word for it that my money seems well spent just listening to the opening theme.