I really enjoy Adventure Time. It's one of my favorite animated television shows of all time. To me, it's right up there with The Simpsons and DuckTales. Sure, Regular Show might have more edgy humor and a firm grasp of retro-pop references, but when I turn on Cartoon Network, I do it because I'm watching Adventure Time. I watch Regular Show because it happens to be on. There are a couple of AT mobile games out there, and I decided on a whim to add Jumping Finn Turbo to my collection.
The perfect Adventure Time game would be a sprawling tabletop game based on the d20 system. The quirky, anything-goes feeling of the show would lend itself perfectly to the tabletop, and until that day comes (when I can lose myself in imagination), I'll happily settle for Jumping Finn Turbo. Jumping Finn Turbo isn't an RPG. It's a bare-bones mobile game that uses the Adventure Time universe and characters as a wrapper for a fairly straightforward game mechanic. Each play begins with Jake, leg at the ready, kicking Finn in the butt to launch him into the air. The power of the kick is controlled by the player by stopping a needle on a power meter. After a few plays I became reasonably adept at stopping the needle at the most powerful kick, launching Finn into the air. The goal is to reach the Ice King's lair and rescue Princess Bubblegum. To do this, upgrades need to be bought. Each play earns some currency, with extra currency being awarded for completing certain tasks (reach a height, distance, speed, etc.). Upgrades are purchased in the menu. Jake's kick, recovery bounce, and boosting kicks are upgradeable, as are helpful boosters along the way.
After my first dozen or so late-night playthrough sessions, the game felt fairly predictable in the way it unfolded. I had assumed that to make it to the Ice King, I would have to grind through enough playthroughs to upgrade all my equipment. But that wasn't really the case. While I did have to upgrade probably ¾ of the way to full power, I was able to make the 80,000 miles of distance necessary to reach the lair and rescue Princess Bubblegum.
After rescuing the princess, the game opens to an infinite mode, where the purpose of the game is to reach further and further into the Ice Kingdom. It's here where things get kind of insane.
I've unlocked all the power ups and fully upgraded all but one (Lord Monochromicorn, who is unlocked once you max out all the others). This means that I can now reach fantastic heights, speeds, and distance. From the get-go I can usually burst through the first layer of clouds before beginning my descent, and the various helpful powers and friends will smack me around and help me along. The real challenge comes near the 80,000 mark. Through the game, penguins appear in the sky (aided by propellor hats, balloons, and jetpacks) and will freeze Finn unless they're removed from the play area through a touch. By the Finn reaches 80,000 miles the penguins are coming onto the screen faster than can really be dealt with. It's important to tap them out before they freeze Finn, because frozen Finn can't use any of the helper boosts save Jake's kick. I play this on my Kindle Fire and doing so makes me look like a crazy person. I use both hands and multiple fingers to rapidly tap the screen in a haphazard pattern, tapping out penguins to help further my game. Doing so has left me with numbness in the tips of my fingers and soreness in my forearms. I might be taking this game a little bit too seriously, but commitment is how I was able to get to the HIGHEST SCORE IN THE WORLD (well, at least on the Amazon leaderboards) with 1,244,440 miles. That's going on my resume.
For a mobile game, it's nearly perfect. Games don't last too long (except when you're really in the zone), there isn't really anything too deep about it, and at ninety-nine cents, buying it is a no-brainer. But as an Adventure Time game, I'm sort of baffled that they don't use any Adventure Time sounds. When the title card is shown, the sounds are nothing like the show, Finn and Jake are mute (as are all the other characters), and the background music is a slightly-annoying adaptation of the show's theme music. It's weird. But it doesn't detract from the fact that the game is fun.
Jumping Finn Turbo wins out against a good night's sleep, because it very adeptly unfolds in a way that begs for just one more game. Work towards an unlock by playing multiple games, unlock the upgrade... play just once more to "test it out." Ugh. I am tired.
Jumping Finn Turbo is available as an Android, Kindle Fire, and iOS app for 99 cents. I recommend playing it on a tablet because a phone screen seems a bit too small.
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