Adventures to Go – Staff Review

When I accepted the review assignment for Adventures to Go, I expected that it would be an easy review that would fit well into my schedule. I could pick up the game, play through an order or two, and set it down for a while. No need to play for hours at a stretch, no deep storyline to follow, and minimal gameplay mechanics to learn.

That’s mostly how it went. Adventures to Go is the very definition of portable casual RPG play. Core gameplay consists of picking up a quest, ordering a dungeon that will help you complete that quest, playing through the dungeon, collecting the quest item, and turning the item in. You buy new supplies and equipment with your hard-earned money, create new spells, and gradually advance through the game. It’s extremely simple. Too simple, in fact.

Adventures to Go is a collection of tedious activities constructed from bad gameplay mechanics. While a newcomer might enjoy cutting his or her teeth on the simple tactical battle system and hand-holding gameplay, advanced gamers will find the game boring, repetitive, and simplistic. There’s a distinct feeling that somewhere, sometime, you’ve done all this nonsense before — the carrot-and-stick main objective, “farming rares for drops,” hopscotching through quests — and you don’t want to go through it all over again.

The primary objective of the game is to help Finn, the antagonizing protagonist, make money. He doesn’t want to be rich and he doesn’t want to be a hero. He just wants to make money. Because actual adventuring is just too impractical with all the death and dismemberment hazards, Finn uses the services of a business called Adventures to Go. ATG uses magic to summon different kinds of fields, dungeons, and monsters within the safety of the building. Finn can accept quests that advance the game’s story as well as sidequests and then create custom dungeons in ATG to meet the objectives. For example, if a quest asks for bug wings, Finn can order a dungeon with bugs in it, kill the bugs, get their wings, and turn in the wings for his reward.

Usually, the game is pretty clear about what kind of order you need to place, but a few quests are so vague that you have to resort to trial and error. That means that you sometimes end up wasting money and time on dungeons, and because money can be scarce in the game, it’s frustrating. There are times when the game will tell you what you need, like a certain kind of dungeon, but nothing more specific, like the fact that you need multiple floors of that dungeon type to meet the objective. At one point, the game tells you to try ordering a few different configurations, all of which are wrong. It gives the correct one only after you’ve blown your money on those failed orders.

In addition to money, quest items can be hard to find as well. Completing quests, even those essential to advancing the story, require getting items that may or may not drop from rare monsters that may or may not show up in the dungeons in which they are supposed to appear. Sometimes, you end up running around an area for an hour or two trying to get a monster to show up and hoping that when it does, it will actually drop the item this time. This is one of those horrible gameplay mechanics that should never appear in RPGs. Hunting a rare monster or item for a sidequest is acceptable; requiring it for progressing through the main story is highly objectionable.

Fortunately, most of the battles are really easy and the battle system is ridiculously simple. Battles take place on a grid and characters can move, attack, use magic and items, and defend by using AP. You can easily cancel your movement (but not attacks). It’s a very watered-down tactical battle system, which makes it very boring. It shows only a glimmer of potential in boss fights, which force you to actually wake up and half-heartedly chip away at the boss’s HP while pressing the right buttons to protect yourself and simultaneously yawning. Maybe I was too underleveled (level grinding yielded too little rewards for the time invested), but having the best weapons, armor, and spells didn’t help me take off more than just a tiny amount of the bosses’ HP each round.

The game’s almost non-existent story and one-dimensional characters only enhance the boredom. Finn is a greedy jerk who insults almost everyone he meets. Alina is a shallow tsundere who blasts junior-high drama at Finn. Most of their exchanges made me feel like I was sifting through brainrotting LiveJournal drama – not something I want to see in a video game. Gifford is a man of few words and no emotion, except for when he has a temper tantrum over the slightest perceived insult to a particular NPC. Cat is the only one who isn’t an idiot, but she’s just a one-dimensional “honorable thief.” Most of the dialogue is poorly written and the localization lacks any flavor, aside from an offhanded comment about how ATG sounds like the name of a failed bank. There are a few text errors, like “She was an sweet girl,” and plenty of spots where clearly someone just wasn’t trying hard enough to earn their paycheck. For example, a monolith that damages the characters then gives them money says, “Here’s some money for doctors!”

Visually, Adventures to Go is not that bad. Environments are highly repetitive due to the nature of the game, but they are at least decent. The music and sound effects, however, are as dull and repetitive as the gameplay.

I really cannot emphasize enough how boring and repetitive this game is…and that’s coming from someone who recently finished Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days. If Adventures to Go had at least had more actual humor and a decent story, it would be tolerable and possibly worth playing. Unfortunately, the game offers almost nothing worthwhile for most players; those who enjoy fetch-questing and battling with no real objective aside from completion may enjoy this game. Adventures to Go is just a timekiller; it’s something to do and it’s better than complete boredom, but there are still better ways to spend your time.

This game was played to completion and reviewed using a copy provided by the publisher.


  1. Der Jermeister:

    Good review, Madam Stone. I’m actually getting a PSP in a few days, and I’ll gladly skip this one.

  2. Cortney "Alethea" Stone:

    Haha, thanks. You shouldn’t have too much trouble finding good games for your PSP.

    One thing I’d like to add: I just found out that the developer of ATG also developed My World, My Way. Some of the graphics from MWMW are copy-pasted into ATG. I checked some of the screenshots and trailers and sure enough, the monster models and some of the environments are exactly the same. That’s not too shocking considering how many gameplay corners they cut in ATG.

  3. Der Jermeister:

    Yeah, Star Ocean: First Departure will be my first PSP RPG, and there are plenty of import games I want as well, most of them beginning with “Tales of.”

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