“I’ve got blisters on me fingers” – Saturday Morning RPG
It would appear that the days of the straight-forward action RPG are long behind us. With the advent of Paper Mario, Mario RPG and South Park: The Stick of Truth, the action RPG has evolved into something different, and at times something more sinister. Battles now must feature sequences with random and repeated button pressing. Games like Stick of Truth understand that with these requirements less is more.
Saturday Morning RPG‘s Marty, is a teenager of the 80s obsessed with pop culture. When Episode one begins he is asleep in his bed, with the TV on. Marty is transported through his dreams to a world of a knock-off of Cobra, Known as Hood. The commander of Hood has stolen Marty’s would-be girlfriend (In his dreams) so he must venture out to rescue her, but in his first battle the commander’s minions easily chop Marty down to size. Suddenly a magical wizard decked out in the most glorious Power Glove comes to rescue you, handing you the most powerful object in the universe, a Trapper Keeper. Predictably after being handed this Keeper of Traps you are able to hand the Hood followers their asses and continue on your way to save the maiden fair from a fate worse than death.
Episode Two is where the game really starts to shine. Marty wakes up from his dream to his wheelchair bound friend screaming at him to get up or else they will miss the school bus. After arriving at school you will be asked to do a number of arduous yet typical high school tasks, such as finding out what the hell is in the lunch food, passing notes between a shy guy and his love interest, and accidentally unleashing a horrible robotic death laser on the unsuspecting town. The greatest thing about this section is accidentally finding out your run button activates a hoverboard to zoom around the school on. It’s nearly orgasmic, folks. You are recruited to the team of Private Johnson by a man colorfully known as “Fists” and his team, which contains a deaf and blind ninja named “Frogs Legs.”The entire game is peppered with references; even Fruit Stripe gum gains some props in Saturday Morning RPG.
The game has two more episodes for you to explore right now with more on the way. Episode four happens to be the all-important Christmas episode.
The soundtrack is superb, going above and beyond representing the cartoon fare of yesteryear. It’s upbeat and hopeful in most areas, and downright dread inducing in others. It does a great job of capturing the moment. Sound Effects are good and fit the theme very well, sadly there is no sound for the hoverboard though. Boo!
Controls are easy, but the combat is tough. At the start of each battle you must snap the right joystick back and forth to scratch your power-up stickers. Next you have a battery available to power up your attacks which requires you to mash a button as quickly as possible, you must do this after each round in order to gain back those attack bonuses. After this depending on the attack or special move you choose you may have to mash buttons again in order to power up the individual maneuver. After about an hour of this your fingers, wrists, and possibly your very soul will beg for mercy. This is possibly the most glaring and disappointing thing about the game and it is the core of the RPG’s mechanics. The creators of Saturday Morning RPG should also get props for the ability to switch to Playstation control prompts for those of us that use the Motionjoy driver in order to use our Dual Shocks on PC. It takes a lot less time to process when the prompts are the correct ones, unlike Stick of Truth where you must translate from Xbox to PS3 at a moment’s notice.
Saturday Morning RPG is a fun game with a lot of callbacks, but you’ll want to experience it in episodes – exactly as it is meant to be played. If you try to play the entire game in one sitting you’ll be having a lot of frustration and pain. You’ll laugh, you’ll chuckle, you’ll cry due to the fact that your fingers aren’t going to forgive you anytime soon. If you are a fan of button mashing RPGs Saturday Morning RPG is well worth your time.
Saturday Morning RPG is now available on Steam.