Ever wondered what would happen if all your favourite cartoons from the 80’s―with pop culture references from said decade―were all put into one RPG for you to enjoy. The answer to that oddly specific question is Saturday Morning RPG, an episodic 8 bit pixel art RPG inspired by 80’s pop culture and sometimes parodies it as well. You will run into characters who look familiar to you but under a different names―for obvious legal reasons―in the game. If you’re someone who loves 80’s movies there is also a lot reference to them in the trophy list and a few in the game as well; the character you are playing being the first one right out the gate.
You start off the game as Marty, a nerdy guy who gets bullied but is very likable by his peers; the story of some people’s life I can imagine. The first episode starts at Marty’s home where our hero is dreaming, in the dream where Commander Hood―a low rent Cobra Commander some might say―is trying to kidnap Marty’s crush Samantha so he can marry her. Marty tries to stop him but is easily beat up by Commander Hood’s soldiers. When all hope of rescuing Samantha is lost a figure shows up by the name of ‘The Wizard’ who gives Marty the power to stop Commander Hood. The power in question is in the form of a notebook, which gives Marty the ability to use awesome power to take down every enemy that gets in your and Marty’s way.
You find out later you can use this notebook’s power isn’t just applicable to the dream world; the bullies are going to have trouble beating this nerd now. Throughout the game you level up and get stronger like in any RPG. You meet up with cast of characters in the game that ranges from an opportunistic version of the G.I. Joes―who that take credit for all your heroic actions―and the Transformers called the Goodbots; with their evil counterparts called the Badbots. A lot of other cool things happen in Saturday Morning RPG so I will let you discover that on your own.
If one half of Saturday Morning RPG is the story, characters and the 80’s pop culture references then the other half of the game is the gameplay. I’m reminded of turn-based RPG of the 80’s and 90’s when I play this game; it’s almost scary actually. At the same time it has its own modern flare on the genre. In the game you can equip up to five stickers to your character that can give you an edge in battle; they can increase stats, status and many other applicable effects. These stickers just don’t affect you but enemies as well, so weaker enemies to fight when you go into battle. These stickers are not automatically equipped, every time you go into battle you need to scratch them off in a short amount of time; scratch all five and make the fight a little easier for yourself.
The notebook in battle allows you equip five different powers to your character battles that range from causing damage to healing yourself. Each power can easily be used multiple times depending on the power in question, but when it’s gone you can’t use it any more for that battle. Many powers are found throughout the game so they can easily be switched out to suit what you need and prefer. One last thing on gameplay is the multiplier which can multiply your damage almost ten times, instead of attacking you can use the turn to raise the multiplier. I like that raising the multiplier makes Marty look like he’s powering up in Dragon Ball Z.
One thing I like about the controls is the option to defend against incoming attacks from enemies by using the select button. Depending on the timing you take way less damage then you would normally if you weren’t defending. In normal RPGs you can defend in sacrifice of not attacking for one turn, but in Saturday Morning RPG you can just defend on an enemy’s turn instead of your own. Talking about the positives of the controls comes with talking about the negatives. While just walking or riding a hoverboard as Marty, I find myself going backwards a little throughout my run of the game; it gets really annoying fast.
There really is nothing I can say about the music in the game, it reminds me of music from older RPG and 80’s cartoons; I get really nostalgic just listening to it. Graphically this game looks like hybrid of some sort, the characters all look like they’re from an 8-bit game but the environment this game takes place in looks very 3D. It gives Saturday Morning RPG a look that has one foot in modern gaming and one foot in the past. That’s something not a lot of games do if they’re trying to go for that nostalgic kind of tone with players.
Other than a story mode the game also features an Endless mode where you fight waves of enemies until you run out of health. As well as an Arena mode where you fight unique tougher enemies that couldn’t be fought in the regular game. Difficulty wise the game is easy, but if it gets too tough for the player you can select how tough you want the enemies to be by the level selector. The challenges in the game make it very replayable for the players who want to 100% the game.
To be honest it’s been a long time since I had so much fun with an RPG in recent memory, I always felt myself smiling throughout my run with the game. At the same time I’m disappointed that there isn’t more episodes to play. I feel so hungry for more of what the world of Saturday Morning RPG has to offer. I would recommend the developers to do a sequel because I know I would be there to buy it day one. If you love 80’s cartoons or RPGs from the 80’s/90’s―even both―then I highly recommend you get your hands on Saturday Morning RPG.
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