Saturday Morning RPG Review
- Subtle and not-so-subtle references to its titular inspirations.
- Fresh spin on turn-based combat; limited and renewable resources create a strangely appealing back-and-forth flow.
- First episode available for free; try before you buy (and continue with your character intact).
- Clunky controls / touch detection; floating d-pad occasionally awkward to use, but more frustrating in combat when taps aren't registered in time.
- Awkward character animations make 'counters / blocks' pot-luck in some cases.
- Magic recovery often painfully slow; kills battle momentum.
Saturday Morning RPG is a wonderfully fresh RPG experience that sports unique ideas and a nostalgic kicker to keep you hooked, though it doesn't get through entirely unscathed as it also sports its fair-share of gameplay problems that can kill the otherwise entertaining experience.
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It's easy to feel conflicted about Saturday Morning RPG by Joystick Labs and Mighty Rabbit Studios - in particular, it wears its inspirations on its sleeve and proudly waves a joyous flag in support of all things classically cartoonish from the 80s. While you don't need a first-hand crash-course in pop-culture to enjoy its offerings, without them it's that much harder to ignore its flaws.
However, lets start out with the good: the first chapter is entirely free to play - you're at no risk when it comes to trying Saturday Morning RPG out. Although mostly an introductory tutorial highlighting the game's mechanics, you'll quickly learn to master the main character Marty's style of combat and find yourself up against some tough opponents.
Like any great RPG, aside from its story, the gameplay is what really keeps you coming back for more and this is no exception as Marty relies on his magic notebook to dish out damage. The player can either choose to charge up, increasing the damage multiplier of Marty's next attack, but chewing up magic points while doing so; attack with one of several 'weapons' that reference the 80s in a nostalgic way; or simply slap the opponent with a knuckle sandwich. The last of these will restore a small portion of magic points, while defending from incoming attacks (by tapping at the last moment) will also restore magic, allowing you to pump up your next attack even more.
Combat is essentially turn-based, but there's twist to things as each action you can take incurs a time-penalty of some sort. Depending on how long it takes for your enemies to activate their abilities, you'll be 'queued' up, taking your turn after the appropriate delay.
It's at this point that things start to crumble - notably when fighting resilient enemies that take several charged hits to take down. Once your magic meter has expired you'll be at the mercy of your enemies, either punching them lightly for a trickle of magic or risking your life by deflecting attacks (should they miss entirely, you'll also gain no magic). Running dry on magic is frustratingly common and enemies with the ability to shield themselves can negate a large portion of your magic thanks to ill-timed attacks.
Another problem is the game's strange top-down / isometric view that forces you to explore blindly due to being zoomed so far in - the lack of a map of any kind is also problematic, especially when quest arrows point in wild directions that have no relevance to your current location.
Saturday Morning RPG is a mixed bag of nostalgia, outrageous fun and eye-popping effects, but should you lack personal experience with the 80s or 90s, it's not going to be nearly as exciting or easy to enjoy.
DescriptionSaturday Morning RPG is an episodic role-playing game firmly set in a world inspired by 1980s Saturday morning cartoons.
The game follows the story of Martin “Marty” Hall, an average high school student who has been gifted a powerful ability to channel magic through everyday objects. With his newfound powers Marty has inadvertently attracted the ire of the world’s most heinous villain – the evil Commander Hood. This leads Marty into a series of dangerous plans that he must unravel to save the world (several times!).
Saturday Morning RPG is a Japanese style RPG that allows players to build Marty’s power up throughout multiple stand alone episodes. Players can carry over stats, inventory, and even story decisions between these episodes (sometimes your actions in one episode will ripple into previous or future episodes!). Saturday Morning RPG is a truly unique and engrossing role-playing game experience that can not be missed!
9 out of 10 (Gold Award): "A heart-felt love letter to Japanese role-playing games and ’80s popular culture, Saturday Morning RPG is likely to prove irresistible to anyone over the age of 30." - Damien McFerran, pocketgamer.co.uk
9.5 out of 10: “Saturday Morning RPG is one of the most ambitious handheld games I’ve played in a long time, and it’s unbelievably well done.” – Adam Jones, stashow.net
93 out of 100: “Saturday Morning RPG is a refreshing take on the genre.” – Matt Smith, n00balert.com
“This is how JRPGs always should have felt!” - Sean Koch, iFanzine.com
“I found myself desperately wanting more.” – Trevor Faulkner, elder-geek.com
Touch Arcade Forums Game of the Week, Kotaku Gaming App of the Day, USA Today's Portable Pick, and several other accolades. Don't think twice about playing this game!