Sunday, February 02, 2014

Review: Saturday Morning RPG (Game)

There has been an incredible boom in the last three years or so of retro styled games. As with anything that catches on quickly, this 1990's worshiping retro revival era is swarmed with an abundance of indie developers looking to make a name for themselves. Might Rabbit Studios are no exception, being a new independent developer/publisher who have only released a few games; Saturday Morning RPG being their most recent effort. Does this modern display of classic influence have what it takes to captivate their audience?

Genre: Indie, RPG, Retro
Release Date: January 29th, 2014
Play Time: 5-7 Hours
Price: $6.99 USD
Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux, iOS

Official Website



                                      










Rating: 8.0/10







There has been an incredible boom in the last three years or so of retro styled games. As with anything that catches on quickly, this 1990's worshiping retro revival era is swarmed with an abundance of indie developers looking to make a name for themselves. Might Rabbit Studios are no exception, being a new independent developer/publisher who have only released a few games; Saturday Morning RPG being their most recent effort. Does this modern display of classic influence have what it takes to captivate their audience?

Saturday Morning RPG is unique in the facts that it mixes 2-dimensional 8-bit graphic subjects with 3-dimensional backgrounds, the game also is made up entirely of references to the beloved pop culture of the 1980's (mostly old Saturday morning cartoon shows), and the game play puts a different spin on how the gamer interacts in battles. These fundamentals are the essence that cause this game to shine like a beacon in the dark when wading through the trial and error of finding a worthwhile modern retro adventure.

The player takes on the roll of Martin "Marty" Michael Hall (Back to the Future), an average teenager who falls asleep while watching Manly-Man and in his dream he is suddenly imbued with the power to infuse every day objects with magic, such as basketballs, pencils, paper airplanes, sunglasses, scissors, etc thanks to The Wizard (mmhmm). With the powers he now holds, he has attracted unwanted attention from Commander Hood, an abominable super villain. Along the way Marty will run into scores of mini bosses such as Skelebore (He-Man) and Marv and Harry (Home Alone). Oh yeah, he also has a nifty hover board that allows him to get around quicker.


The game itself is an episodic RPG adventure that currently spans the course of four episodes, with free additional fifth and sixth episodes marked for release at a later and unknown date. Each episode is radically different from the previous, and all four come unlocked as soon as the player begins the game. They can be played in any order, however starting chronologically can grant a few benefits later down the road and also cause subtle story changes as well. Episode one is short, and it is Marty's first encounter with Commander Hood; it also gives the basis for how the character came to obtain his power and gives the general story line needed to understand the rest of the game. Episode two takes place at Marty's high school while episode three, the longest and most fatiguing of the four, takes place in his town. This leaves the fourth chapter, which also takes place in Marty's town, but at Christmas time and with an additional escapade into the Antarctic.

The game play is exclusive and imaginative, one can really tell that the developers were striving to create a different experience for the gamer. Unfortunately they went overboard with quick time events, which become tiresome after extended play periods. Before each battle begins the player must scratch a series of scratch n' sniff stickers on Marty's trapper keeper, each sticker having it's own benefits or cons; depending on which ones the individual has chosen to put on the binder, there are a total of 128 to be collected throughout the game. Marty must almost always charge up his abilities with batteries, where he draws his powers from, and this can be done in three different ways; automatic which gives you the lowest multiplier, a series of quick time button presses which gives the second highest and a gauge bar that fills up where the player must press the action button at the right moment four times in a row at increasingly rapid paces to get the maximum benefit. The multiplier maxes out at 9.9x and this increases the magic damage done by any object that Marty has available to use, or his bare fists. Most weapons used will require the gamer to press the action button at the correct spot in a gauge to deal the topmost devastation to the enemy, while others are automatic. Defending also requires a quick time event in which the action button must be pressed at the appropriate time. For both defense and offense there are levels of Bogus, Lame, Good, Radical and Righteous to indicate how well the action was performed. Needless to say, all of the continual button mashing has its tedium; especially without the presence of any option to flee battles, but luckily they're on map and not random.


The real treasure of Saturday Morning RPG lies within all of the little Easter Eggs the player will find all through the game; some of them are more obscure while others are blatant. I've already pointed out a few here, but I'd rather not put any more as it is up to the individual gamer to find them and enjoy the ones that they understand; just please remember to Shop Smart, Shop S-Mart (or you'll be dead by dawn). The charm can wear thin at times during extended gaming sessions due to the repetitive anatomy of the battle system, but after a break and going back into the game the nostalgia comes back full force. There is also Endless and Arena modes for extended playability after the player has finished the four episodes. There seems to be a level cap of 50 for the time being, although it would take absolutely forever to level cap. After one play through of each episode, the gamer will find themselves around level 16 or 17 depending on if they partook in all of the available battles, completed all of the side quests and found all of the sticker boxes in each level.

Saturday Morning RPG is a great little nostalgic adventure that's waiting to fill any 1980's fanatic with joy. The battle system can be overly repetitive at times, especially in episode three which is the longest journey and it is also filled with the most combat scenarios, but with a little tweaking this can be improved easily. There are an uncountable number of hidden Easter Eggs and references in the game that are fairly tongue-in-cheek, humorous and memorable. However, there are glitches present in both game play and the achievements that the content comes with. On my first play during the first episode, Commander Hood never called in his minions on the first battle and I beat him by simply punching him to death, but on my second time through he spawned minions and killed me almost instantly. One of my quests during the third episode did not complete, despite having fulfilled the obligation. A few achievements did not pop up upon my completion, such as completing an episode twice and completing four episodes. So there are still some kinks that must be worked out in the mainframe. Otherwise it's absolutely worth a shot for the retro loving gamer; just play it in small doses.

Reactions:

0 Shouts:

Post a Comment