The next Adventure Time game is a link to the past

Adventure Time: The Secret of the Nameless Kingdom will be the first in the WayForward-developed series under publisher Little Orbit, and a new name means a new direction. Whereas the previous game, Explore The Dungeon Because I Don't Know! was ... well, a dungeon-crawler, Secret of the Nameless Kingdom takes its inspiration primarily from a Nintendo franchise: The Legend of Zelda.

A Little Orbit representative told me during a hands-off demo that Adventure Time: Secret of the Nameless Kingdom (which I'm just going to shorten to SotNK for the sake of sanity and sore fingers) will take cues from 1992's The Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Past. The rep told me this was due partly to player feedback that criticized Explore the Dungeon's gameplay for being repetitive, but also due to feedback from Adventure Time creator, Pendleton Ward.

Ward had "hinted" to Little Orbit that he wanted the next game to be more Zelda-like, I was told. In gameplay terms, that means a bigger overworld, dungeon puzzles and light RPG elements. In SotNK, players will be able to buy health upgrades, damage upgrades or new items that can grant hero Finn additional abilities.

Like many Zelda games, SotNK will feature dungeons and temples constructed around a central theme. I was shown a pre-alpha version of one such area, a castle of music. Exploring the castle, Finn could discover images of various instruments with numbers next to them - clues to a puzzle deeper in the dungeon. Another puzzle required Finn to hit colored switches, which would then raise or lower gates in his way.

The Little Orbit rep said the game's puzzles will be designed with trial and error in mind, so that players could eventually guess a solution as long as they kept at it. I was told this was to appeal to the game's main demographic, 8 to 12-year-old children. The game's art style, which blends smoothly-drawn backgrounds and environments with pixelated characters and animation, is designed to appeal to the secondary audience of 18 to 24-year olds.

We'll see how Little Orbit's take on Adventure Time turns out this November, when it comes to Xbox 360, PS3, 3DS and PC.

[Image: Little Orbit]