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Saturday Morning RPG

For: iPhone   Also on: iPad, Steam

Back to the '80s

Product: Saturday Morning RPG | Developer: Mighty Rabbit | Publisher: Joystick Labs | Format: iPhone | Genre: Action, Retro, RPG | Players: 1 | Version: Europe | App version: 1.0
Saturday Morning RPG iPhone, thumbnail 1
One of the most wonderful things about video games is that they have the power to appeal to all ages. A game like Angry Birds can entertain anyone, from the youngest child to the oldest grandparent.

However, every now and then a game comes along that's so determined to appeal to a particular age range that there's a real danger it could alienate everybody outside that group. For better or for worse, Saturday Morning RPG is one such game.

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.

All of the big cultural landmarks are referenced at some point: Transformers, Back to the Future, He-Man, and even the 1989 Hollywood flop The Wizard - which was basically a movie-length advert for Nintendo products - all feature, albeit in largely unofficial capacities.

Kicking it old skool

This incredible degree of fan-service for '80s kids is likely to cause many to fall in love with the game instantly, but once the novelty has worn off the engaging RPG gameplay thankfully picks up the slack.

The story is told through individual episodes (the first of which is free) and revolves around the usual tale of a geeky high school male who wants nothing more than to be united with the object of his affections: the school's standard-issue drop-dead gorgeous girl.

The tumultuous road to love is strewn with turn-based battle sequences that feel like Final Fantasy fuelled by several cans of Red Bull. It's this part of the game that most stands out, thanks to the deep level of interaction.

Battle ready

While the fundamentals are there - you and your enemy taking turns to beat the living daylights out of each other - each action usually requires additional input.

For example, landing certain attacks calls for you to tap the screen at the correct moment. Similarly, defending against incoming blows is all about timing: tapping just before the attack hits will reduce the damage you take.

Throw in special abilities gained from a talking note book, scratch-and-sniff stickers that grant bonuses at the start of every fight, and myriad offensive and defensive items to utilise, and the combat becomes even more engaging. Which is unquestionably a good thing, as some battles can last for quite some time.

Thanks to its zany humour, gripping battle system, and seemingly endless collection of '80s tributes, Saturday Morning RPG is one of the most unusual experiences you'll see on iOS in 2012.

Even if you're young enough to have been spared the decade that gave us such dubious pleasures as Cabbage Patch Dolls and Michael Jackson's Moonwalker, there's still plenty to like here.

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Saturday Morning RPG
Reviewer photo
Damien McFerran | 5 April 2012
A homage to '80s pop culture and a legitimately entertaining role-playing title to boot, Saturday Morning RPG is as unique as it is enjoyable
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