Adventure Time fans and iPhone users under the age of 10 can expect to find half an hour of moderate entertainment from Legends of Ooo: Big Hollow Princess. Outside of those audiences, I can’t truthfully say this game is worth $1.
Big Hollow Princess essentially amounts to the easiest point-and-click trading game you’ll ever play, set in the quirky world of Cartoon Network’s Adventure Time series. The show, which has amassed a fan base large enough to warrant its own Wikia, follows the adventures of an excitable adolescent boy named Finn and his sarcastic talking dog, Jake. Having seen a few episodes of the series, I’m quite a fan of its animation style and humor. This video game installation for iOS, however, seems to target an audience much younger than the TV show does. Sadly, it misses the mark.
I’ll start with the good. If you enjoy Adventure Time humor, you’ll almost certainly get a kick out of the dialogue here. True to form, Finn and Jake make a great pair with witty lines and characteristic expressions such as, “Algebraic!” At one point, the villain of the game remarked that the robot princess I had built had plenty of “junk in the trunk.” Moments like these are taken straight from the series and help the game maintain its boyish charm. Background and character animation, too, are just what players would expect coming from an official Cartoon Network product.
Gameplay, unfortunately, is where Big Hollow Princess falls short (which is especially unfortunate given the fact that it’s a game). Players more or less tap on areas of the screen where they want Finn to go. When he gets there, you tap again. Two of these taps, and you hit a loading screen to another area. If, along the way, you see an object or a character, you can tap on them to evoke one-liners, which are sometimes witty. In order to advance the plot, players need to slide items that they’ve collected over to in-game characters who are looking for them. That’s about it. After roughly 20-30 minutes of these not-so-puzzling puzzles, the game is over. Even for children, the challenges offered here are about as easy as they get.
During my entire time with Big Hollow Princess, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was playing a free online game from the Cartoon Network website. Plenty of games like this one can be found there, and most of them are rather simple and short (and free). Charging players to download one on their mobile devices, while perhaps fair from the manufacturer’s perspective, just doesn’t make sense for consumers. Seriously – there are multiple free Adventure Time games available on the website that are more exciting than this one as we speak.
While it has its moments, Big Hollow Princess just doesn’t quite cut it. I enjoyed interacting with Adventure Time characters, but there wasn’t enough material available to feel truly satisfied upon completion. Unless you absolutely need Adventure Time on the go, I wouldn’t recommend it.