Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5, iPad 2
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Cartoon Network’s selection of licensed games on iOS is steadily improving. Jumping Finn Turbo was addictive if a bit shallow, Mutant Fridge Mayhem – Gumball, developed by Grumpyface Studios (who made Super Mole Escape) was a deep beat ’em up with incredible animation, and now Fionna Fights is an incredibly fun endless action title with a unique hook.
The game’s release is tied in to the new Adventure Time episode featuring Fionna and Cake, part of a entire gender-swapped universe inspired by “fan art” created by Natasha Allegri, who’s actually a storyboard revisionist for the show and now does a comic based on the gender-swapped characters.
In Fionna Fights, players can tap on the screen to dash through the air to lunge at enemies. Hitting enemies earns points, mutiple enemies in one dash earns multiple points, and missing any enemies or letting them past Fionna results in her energy bar being depleted. Players earn coins all throughout, and can use those to buy item pickups and powerups that spawn throughout the game.
The mechanic takes a little bit of time to get used to, but once I realized that Fionna actually flies to the spot the player taps at, not to the enemies themelves, then things started to make more sense. She can also dash slightly backwards if she misses something but it’s still on screen. She also slowly falls to the ground, which the player can exploit to line up combos. It’s simple yet clever.
Now, it would be very easy for this game to turn into an IAP fest, but thankfully it does not, as much like Jumping Finn Turbo the game actually has a progression curve that has players expanding their power set naturally over time. The only thing that seems exploitable is that it’s probably best to only unlock the powerups that one actually needs; I first unlocked Marshall Lee's (the male version of Marceline, the Vampire Queen) summon powerup, which has him fly across the screen as a giant bat, killing pretty much everything for a few seconds and racking up absurd amounts of points along the way. When I unlocked an earlier summon, Marshall Lee appeared less often. So much like the original Temple Run, only buy the necessary powerups. This may be an actual good use of the “reset progress” button in the settings!
The game has just enough Adventure Time references, particularly with Fionna and Finn's weapons, and cameo appearances from enemies like the butterfly with a laser gun from "The Other Tarts." There's even a tease for a "Finn Fights" mode, which may be welcome if only because Fionna's grunts and yelps get a bit repetitive and grating. Otherwise, her game stands at the top of the class of Adventure Time games for iOS.