iOS developer Mighty Rabbit Studios has bite-sized gaming all figured out.
Players take on the role of Marty, a high school student who has attracted the attention of Commander Hood, a baddie not unlike G.I. Joe‘s Cobra Commander. Using his mighty Notebook *coughTRAPPERKEEPERcough*, Marty collects scratch-and-sniff sticker powerups, gathers pop-culture-infused battle items, and saves the world from Commander Hood’s grasp.
Humor in video games is a hard thing to nail, but Mighty Rabbit has absolutely done it: Saturday Morning RPG is by far the funniest iOS title I’ve ever played. The game pokes fun at the cheesiest parts of 1980s pop culture while simultaneously embracing them with both arms. References to The Wizard, Masters of the Universe, and Transformers are just the tip of the iceberg in this loving tribute to 80s Saturday morning cartoons.
The first thing that one notices when downloading Saturday Morning RPG is the adorable art style. Pixelated 16-bit characters and items loiter on what are some pretty decent 3D graphics. The new-school meets old-school style brings a nice contrast to Saturday Morning RPG, and little, humorous background details scattered throughout the game will always keep your eyes interested.
Luckily, the gameplay in Saturday Morning RPG is no slouch either. Those familiar with role playing games will recognize the turn-based combat system, but there are little touch-based additions that make battling enemies interesting. Before each turn, the player will be able to power-up Marty’s attacks by rapidly tapping on the screen. Once an item or action is selected, the player will have to complete a touch-based gesture to do the most damage to the opponent.
I found some enemies in Saturday Morning RPG to be somewhat challenging, especially in Episode Two: Hoodwinked, but the challenge never seemed impossible. Not once did I find myself grinding for levels or items. The game doesn’t get deep or difficult enough to rival your favorite JRPG, making it an enjoyable experience without ever becoming frustrating.
Though I played the game mostly on my iPad, the short battles and frequent autosaving makes the game a perfect fit for those looking for a pocketable title for your iPod Touch or iPhone. I never ran across any instances of difficult targeting or inconsistent controls.
While the score to Saturday Morning RPG is usually subtle, the music does a wonderful job of assisting the game’s mood. I particularly enjoyed the smooth sounds playing in the high school during Episode Two.
Voice acting is something that this game could have benefited from, but due to a large amount of character dialogue and Mighty Rabbit’s likely consideration for space constraints, you can’t really hold Saturday Morning RPG‘s reliance on text bubbles against them.
The only gripe I have against Saturday Morning RPG is how short the game is. It’s hard to fault the free first episode for being only an hour long, but the subsequent episode is roughly the same length — a bit short for the $2 price tag.
What Saturday Morning RPG lacks in length, it makes up for in the quality of its content. Mighty Rabbit could have just sold story expansions for $2, but the second episode is loaded with new power-ups and new items, all of which will assuredly be accessible when importing your character into the upcoming third episode.
Saturday Morning RPG is one of the most rewarding iOS titles I’ve played in a long time.
The solid gameplay and mechanics are overshadowed only by its amazing quirkiness. While the $2 additional episodes might be a bit too steep for some, the free first episode is among the best values on the App Store today.