The Legend of Zelda: Adventure Time –
This is not the first time the Adventure Time series has ripped off The Legend of Zelda. 2012’s Hey Ice King! Why’d You Steal Our Garbage was basically Zelda II: The Adventure of Link with an Adventure Time coat of paint. Now, Secret of the Nameless Kingdom is essentially a much more humorous version of A Link To The Past.
SotNK is not trying to hide the fact that it is a LttP clone. The overhead exploration and combat, the sword swinging and item-based dungeon progression, boss battles that require use of the just-obtained item, the heart-icon health system, the treasure chest sound effect, even the soundtrack closely resembles the theme from Nintendo Hyrulain hero – this is Zelda through and through. With a “if it isn’t broken” mentality, you can tell the game designers are longtime fans of the series and basically created their own love letter to Nintendo’s fan favorite franchise.
Even the overall design of the overworld map is similar to LttP, further emphasized by the open ended, go wherever you want, gameplay. The opening section, for example, has players sneaking into a castle by chopping down a bush to reveal a secret entrance while a character talks to you telepathically. Then the player is given the quest to go rescue three princesses that appear as “hey, go there” icons on the map – the reskinning of the classic Zelda formula is pretty much verbatim. Items are also similar like a boomerang that stuns enemies, the green ooze baddies that provide a shocking stun when not attacked properly, shelled enemies must be turned upside down with shield use, and even cutting down bushes to reveal hidden items is all here. It is hard to look at SotNK as its own game when it is the classic Zelda formula gamers have been playing for years.
If there is one piece of this pie that is solely Adventure Time is the unique and nonsensical plotline and dialog. The comical approach gives a lighter tone than any Zelda game despite the extreme similarities in gameplay. Sure, the open-ended world often leaves the player guessing as to where to go or what to do next but the smaller environment makes adventuring manageable and just easier to tackle. It is unfortunate that aimless wandering and backtracking is required a little too often but the friendly and faster game pace works in balance. It is also worth pointing out that the 3DS version is simply a port of the other console versions as there is no stereoscopic 3D viewing mode. The ability to save anywhere and bottom-screen menu system also provides an intuitive UI.
With the comical personality of Adventure Time but with the attitude and soul of Zelda, SotNK is one of the better Zelda clones. However, for the full $40 retail price, players are still better off just buying a copy of A Link Between Worlds or downloading a LttP on Virtual Console for a fraction of the price. But when the inevitable price drop occurs, this is one top-down adventure you will not mind taking.
Also available on Xbox 360, PS3, PS TV, Vita, and PC (Steam).
Not As Good As: The Legend of Zelda – A Link Between Worlds
Makes Me Want To Play: 3D Dot Heroes (PS3)
Also Try: Neutopia (TurboGrafx-16, Wii Virtual Console)
By: Zachary Gasiorowski, Editor in Chief myGamer.com