“Adventure Time! Come on, grab your neck! And don’t stop squeezing until there’s no more breath!” Because passing out would ultimately be more fun than trying to slog your way through this game.
For those wondering if this is some sort of Rock Band tie-in, a rhythm game, or even just some sort of music game in general, the answer is no. Rather, the name describes the premise as Lemongrab, the Ice King, and several other AT antagonists (“ATagonists?” Has anyone coined that one yet?) have formed a band that no one wants to see. Their solution? Steal Marceline and the Scream Queens’ fans (and manager, Princess Bubblegum) instead.
The story is told primarily through comic scenes by AT comic series writer Ryan North and artist Shelli Paroline, which adds a sense of legitimacy to the plot and humor. Unfortunately, you can’t go backwards in the story if you miss something, though you can view it again whenever you’d like from the map screen. You also get other little bits of dialogue between Finn, Jake, and the folks they rescue from the show, such as Tree Trunks and a variety of themed princesses, even Princess Fetus.
If we were rating the comic/story, Rock Bandits would get a 4 without question. Unfortunately, there’s a game attached, with emphasis on “unfortunately.” The game is basically a hack-and-slash platformer, and not a sterling example of one at that. Finn’s pace is best described as “plodding,” and unfortunately, it’s actually for the best.
Everything is controlled by swipes, from moving or stopping Finn to making him jump, or attacking enemies at any point on the screen. The problem is that the touch controls are iffy and unresponsive– while slashing at foes, we saw our sword go through some several times (leaving behind a red slash mark, proving it did read our command) to no avail. Early on the game is simply unfair, but as games tend to do, it becomes more complicated as you go, and that’s where things really fall apart as the controls simply do not do a very good job at keeping up with what is happening on screen.
Rock Bandits – Adventure Time only scores as high as it does because of the Adventure Time license. That is pretty much where all of the enjoyment comes from, and might even be enough to prod some people to try to see it through to the end while leaving a smudge on said license. Even then, those elements would be better served if they were simply ripped out and sold as part of the $3.99 comic book, rather than this $1.99 game.