Adventure Time is one of those rare shows that ably walks the line between kid and adult entertainment; a little bit like early Simpsons, but with more rainbow unicorns.
On the other hand, the Adventure Time game, clunkily subtitled Hey Ice King! Why'd You Steal Our Garbage?!, can easily be labeled a game for kids. That's not to say adults won't enjoy it—I sure did, enough to beat it in one sitting—but it's extremely easy (besides a few challenging boss battles), and it's unfortunately short. Thankfully, unlike many kid games, it's well-designed enough to warrant checking out even if you're tall enough to ride the big-kid coasters.
The game opens with a cryptic message from the Cosmic Owl, after which Finn the Human, Jake the Dog and Beemo leave home in search of the Ice King, who's stolen all their garbage to make into princesses (he's got a thing for princesses). Along the way you'll meet the Duke and Duchess of Nuts, the Marauders, Lumpy Space Princess, Princess Bubblegum and her Candy People subjects, the House People and their antagonist, the "obnoxious troll" Donny, and tons more familiar faces.
And best of all is the fact that series creator Pendleton Ward penned the whole story and all the dialogue, which often reads so authentic that I could hear each character's voice in my head as they were spouting written lines in the game. The game is hilarious, fully sticking to the show's intelligent but completely random sense of humor.
Gameplay-wise, Adventure Time is part platformer, part side-scrolling beat-'em-up. Finn will destroy most enemies with his trusty sword, Scarlet, though Jake can add his two cents with fists and other attacks while perched in Finn's backpack (where he stays for most of the game). Between towns and dungeons, you'll traverse a traditional-style overworld, where Jake can turn into a boat or make himself huge to help Finn get around.
These abilities and additional combat moves are unlocked throughout the game. In addition, you'll collect dozens of different items, ranging from habanero peppers that make Finn spit fire to a briefcase that unleashes the dreaded Business Men on your opponents. Inventory management plays a small part, as you'll want to keep a healthy balance of healing and attack items on hand at all times, but you get enough inventory slots that it never feels like an issue.
Characters will often ask Finn and Jake for their help with various tasks, from locating lost mail to finding out who stole Princess Bubblegum's pantyhose. There's no easy way to keep track of all these different requests, but each area is so small and you'll have so few quests at once that the path forward is clear 99 percent of the time.
There were a few sticking points where I was unsure how to proceed, but it always turned out that I had missed something that seemed obvious afterward. There's a bit of Zelda or Metroid-esque backtracking required once you get more traversal abilities later in the game, as well, and while those can be tedious, it ultimately doesn't last long anyway—the game will take seasoned players no more than six hours, though it may last longer for kids—so I don't blame them for padding it out a bit.
If you're an Adventure Time fan with a DS or 3DS, you won't regret checking out Hey Ice King!, no matter how old you are.