Online multiplayer was the first feature I asked about during my hands-on session with the game at San Diego Comic-Con last week. The moment I set eyes on the game I knew that this could be the game that could finally bring Tina Amini and I together. See, I think she's bossy (she's my boss, technically), and she thinks I am a cruel and heartless. We're both Adventure Time fans though, so I figured if we could play this online together, maybe I could finally convince her I wasn't some sort of inhuman monster.
Within moments of kicking a wide-eyed, innocent 10-year-old off the demo kiosk I was flitting about a dungeon in the Xbox 360 version as Marceline the Vampire Queen, whose low health is offset by her ability to float over the game's frequently appearing pits. The rep for the game, whose name I didn't get over the sweet sound of child tears, joined me as the ever-delicious Cinnamon Bun.
We kicked complete booty, which might be code for "died within 30 seconds of each other." We laughed, returned to the central hub and started over. This time we were Finn the Human and Jake the Dog, and we did much better. It helped that the level we were on — the same numerically as the last — was now a timed treasure-grab straight out of Gauntlet.
Developer Wayforward, as I've mentioned far too many times in the past, really knows its way around a set of sprites. This be their jam, with old-school flair erupting from the Candy Kingdom quest hub to the depths of the deepest dungeon. The style may look primitive in screenshots, but once you're playing it's pretty much perfect.
While editing this article, Tina told me I should mention any bosses I might have encountered. See what I am talking about?
We fought skellingtons, and bats and blobs and other dungeon fare. We unlocked doors with our charming personalities (also: keys). We picked up sub-weapons to help us along the way. We did not, however, participate in a boss fight.
Well, except for the Demon Cat. He went down pretty quickly.
Randomly-generated levels, smooth 2D action, four-player co-op and collectible power-up badges equal one hell of dungeon romp, especially if they figure out how to stuff Lady Rainicorn into those cramped corridors as one of the yet-to-be-revealed additional playable characters, instead of limiting her majestic presence to a special move for her boyfriend.
Did I mention the game includes the voices of the original cast? They're right here in this video. Look at them.
Alas, this is not a game I can play with Tina Amini this fall, unless she uses her new powers to fly me up to New York City and put me up in a swanky hotel. Despite being released on all of the online-friendly platforms — Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii U and PC — there is no online multiplayer for Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon Because I DON'T KNOW!
The realization made me very sad. I would have cried if that stupid little kid didn't already have that covered. I guess Tina will have to continue to operate under the assumption that I am some unfeeling beast. Poop.