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Adventure Time Game Wizard for iOS lets you create worlds with pen and paper

Andrew Hayward | Jan. 27, 2015
Cartoon Network's new game brings an optional physical element for sketching out elaborate custom levels.

Paper, craft

So how does paper factor into this equation? You can print out a starter kit tutorial packet from the official website, or just print the basic grid sheets from either the Web or the app itself. Within the packet, you'll find the instructions on how to turn the blank grid into a digital masterpiece. Truth be told, it's a lot of tracing lines and adding dashes and X's and the like--you'll never have to try and draw a character or enemy, because that stuff actually is added later on the app side of things. All you're doing is plotting out the layout and basic contents. 

From there, you can scan the page into the app using your iPhone or iPad's camera. And that's where the shine wore off a bit for me. You'll need a ruler and a steady hand to sketch with success, and even then, the camera recognition seems a bit spotty. When I scanned my first stage attempt, the entire world ended up being full of lava--which meant Finn perished immediately once the game started. Not my intention!

In later attempts, the game would occasionally misinterpret what I'd designed in spots, breaking apart platforms and attaching together items that I meant to be apart. Luckily, you can tweak everything digitally within moments, so unless your hand-filled grid is an utter mess, it won't take much effort to fix the issues. That said, you're still putting a lot of time (and paper and ink) into something that you can do entirely within the app with much less hassle.

But I concede that I'm probably not the target audience here. I got a kick out of drawing levels on paper and scanning them into the game, but struggled with what felt like an unnecessary use of added time. Kids, on the other hand, may have all the time in the world, and will love building out amazing, personalized worlds and then pulling their own original creations into the game. And parents concerned about extensive screen time will happily trade some paper and ink to get their kids off of the iPad for an extended period. 

It's that sort of distinctive edge that makes Adventure Time Game Wizard more than an average iOS game for young fans of the show: it's a project, a cross-media exploration of creative joy, and it can be a lot of fun. And with surely scads of other players designing and sharing their own small wonders for everyone to enjoy, it could stick with fans for quite some time.


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