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TMCNet:  The Monitor, McAllen, Texas, Adam Wratten column

[November 05, 2012]

The Monitor, McAllen, Texas, Adam Wratten column

Nov 02, 2012 (The Monitor - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- When I was a kid, Saturday morning cartoons were the greatest thing ever, and there was such an incredible variety and action and adventure were the norm. Now, though, it seems tough to find an animated series that matches the quality from my youth.

One that has stood out in recent years is Adventure Time. It's a crazy mix of random weirdness and adventure, with some oddly heartfelt moments. Watching Finn and Jake save Princess Bubblegum from the Ice King reminds me of Mario and Luigi chasing down Bowser to rescue Peach.

In my Internet travels, I came across mention of an Adventure Time iOS game. It sounded like fun, so I downloaded it onto my phone. I have to say, it's one of the best time-wasters I have ever played.

It's not a unique game. For years, there have been similar games like Jumping Finn Turbo. The story, if you can really call it that, is simple: Ice King has taken Princess Bubblegum, and Jake the Dog and Finn the Human need to save her. How will they accomplish this By having Jake launch Finn into the air and keep him up there until he reaches the Ice King's lair.

I remember playing Flash games in this style many years ago. The whole goal is to make use of your power-ups and slam into things in the air as you're flying along in order to get as far as possible. As you play the game and get farther and farther from your starting point, you'll earn stars, which can be spent to buy upgrades. These range from boosts to Jake's kicking (after the initial kick, Jake can periodically kick you while you're in the air, but there's a recharge timer) and bouncing (you get one bounce from Jake if you get too close from the ground) abilities, to all of your Adventure Time friends like Marceline and Lady Rainicorn.

Marceline, Blastronaut and the cloud power-ups work the same way: If you slam into them, you get a speed boost. The others, however, require some user input. If you manage to grab a comet, you'll need to tap it a few times so Finn can climb on top. Lady Rainicorn works in a similar fashion, but tapping her allows you to change her trajectory a bit. The last power-up (not really last, but that's a secret) is a group of five birds, which need to be tapped individually in order to start carrying Finn to their maximum.

Not everything in the sky is friendly, though. Right off the bat, you start running into interference from the Ice King's penguins. While they can easily be taken out with a quick tap of your finger, they increase dramatically the closer you get to your goal. Should they get the chance to hit you, you'll be encased in a block of ice that requires some quick tapping to destroy. When you're all iced up, you can't hit any power-ups or use Jake's kicking ability. You also fall really, really fast.

So, using all of these nifty tools and avoiding the dreaded penguins, Finn can make his way over to the Ice King's mountain and save Bubblegum. Fortunately, there's still a reason to play after saving the princess. In addition to the fact that you can fly forever and constantly set new records, the game has a series of achievements that get progressively harder. I've spent a lot of time trying to get them all, and it's not easy. A lot of them are luck-based, so you just have to hope you get a good run. Jumping Finn Turbo also makes use of Apple's Game Center achievements, if you're into that sort of thing.

My only real complaint about the game is the music. While it's a cute rendition of the show's theme song, it gets incredibly repetitive and grating after only a short while. I find myself playing with the sound off the majority of the time.

At $1.99, Jumping Finn Turbo is an excellent buy. I've spent more time playing it than some games for which I've paid $60. And, if you haven't seen the show, you really should. Like, now.

___ (c)2012 The Monitor (McAllen, Texas) Visit The Monitor (McAllen, Texas) at www.themonitor.com Distributed by MCT Information Services

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