Version Reviewed: 1.0.1
Device Reviewed On: iPad Mini Retina
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
The beauty of the Adventure Time license is that it can fit with just about any game type out there because of the fun and whimsy at the heart of the show. So when talented developers get their turn at the license it’s a welcome sight. Ski Safari: Adventure Time, then, is an extremely delightful endless runner.
Quite literally, this is exactly what it says on the tin: it’s Defiant Development’s Ski Safari but all decked out with Adventure Time. It starts out the same: Finn is sleeping in his weird little sleeping bag thingy (listen carefully at the title screen to hear him murmuring things), then an avalanche comes and suddenly he must slide his way to glory, riding on the backs of passers-by like Jake, the Banana Guards, and Lumpy Space Princess to avoid the oncoming wipeout. Along the way, he can flip while in the air to get points, collect coins and treasure chests, and fly with characters like Marceline, the Ice King, and Lady Rainicorn.
Coins buy upgrades, new costumes, and new areas to ski through. The chests contain random bonuses such as the gems that can be used to buy revives and unlock some items, or also random collectables to unlock more disguises. Few upgrades are hidden behind a gem wall, and coins can be collected at an effective rate; more can be bought with IAP, but most of the upgrades should be attainable through normal play.
And really, the gameplay is quite the same compared to Ski Safari. The big difference is that there are the currencies added (along with revives), but the heart of the game is the same. I do get a bit annoyed sometimes when getting big air, as Finn can wind up going mostly vertical and I’ve more than once had the avalanche catch up. High scores are highly dependent on getting that permanent multiplier up through doing objectives - they provide a great overarching focus, sure, but a high score doesn’t feel as earned when it’s mostly powered by a high multiplier.
Still, the original Ski Safari was a rather unique and charming endless runner, and Adventure Time is a perfect fit; with enough love shown toward the show (Farmworld Finn is unlockable, and Xergiok’s bird can be flown - that’s getting obscure!) that it doesn’t feel like a cheap cash-in. But really, that can be said of all the Adventure Time mobile games - even the mediocre ones aren’t bad at all. Perhaps it’s due to the creative staff - including creator Pendleton Ward - being gamers themselves that causes this elevation in quality. I’d love to see more of this sort of thing: established developers taking their swing at the world of Ooo. The world of the show is so fun to play around in, even in familiar concepts, that I would love to see even more of it.