After releasing across multiple platforms over the last few years, Mighty Rabbit Studios’ pop culture-fuelled RPG Saturday Morning RPG has finally made its way to the Nintendo Switch. It’s a worthy addition to the system too, with the game providing an enjoyable RPG experience that offers something quirky and original with its gameplay, but also never outstays it’s welcome with its oddities.
Saturday Morning RPG puts you in the sneakers of Marty, a teenage boy who finds himself trapped in a dream world and defeated by the villainous Commander Hood. It seems like his death is imminent when Commander Hood’s minions are left to deal with Marty, but a strange ‘wizard’ gives him a mysterious notebook which grants him one incredible power – the ability to use anything in the world around him as a weapon.
Mix this quirky concept with a variety of little side stories that lead up to showdowns with Commander Hood as well as an absolute ton of 80s pop-culture references (believe me – 80s kids are going to be smiling throughout), and that’s Saturday Morning RPG in a nutshell.
The narrative is structured in an episodic way, but it feels more like a TV show as opposed to your typical episodic video game – what would you expect from a game that prides itself on feeling like a Saturday morning cartoon, though? It works well and it lets the game change itself up thematically without ever drifting too far away from the main story. My personal favourite episode had to be the Christmas one which, of course, saw you collecting stolen presents in order to save Christmas. It’s utterly charming and the silly vibe of the tale will keep you entertained throughout.
Most of your time in Saturday Morning RPG will be spent battling Commander Hood’s minions, so it’s lucky that the game has an entertaining battle system. The core setup is based around your typical turn-based RPG battling, but Saturday Morning RPG throws in a few unique (and often strange) QTE-focused attacks to spice things up a bit. Marty’s also able to defend himself from enemy attacks with a well-timed button press, so you’ve always got to be switched on and quick to react if you want to ensure that he survives each battle. Given that Marty can use anything around him as a weapon too (including food, toys or 80s memorabilia), you just know you’re going to witness quite a few interesting showdowns – they’re always fun though and give the game’s combat a lot of personality.
It’s a neat battle system and one that really does something a little different for an RPG, though the repetitive nature of your attacking actions could become a little tiresome over time – especially across some of the game’s longer battles. Don’t get me wrong, it never becomes boring thanks to the short length of the game, but the novelty of your creative attacks can just wear off a little the further you progress.
It’s also worth noting that sometimes tough battles can come from out of nowhere. Saturday Morning RPG isn’t really one of those RPGs where you have to grind it out to level up and become stronger, but instead one that paces itself with you. That pace gets completely broken at times though when a boss comes from out of nowhere and annihilates you. There were never any situations where I found I couldn’t progress after a few attempts, but man, some of those difficulty spikes can be harsh.
Outside of battling, Saturday Morning RPG plays like your typical RPG – there are plenty of neat locations to explore and side quests to complete, whilst you’ll also be improving Marty’s capabilities as you progress (which is neatly implemented by putting stickers in your notebook). Given that Saturday Morning RPG isn’t the biggest of RPGs (it’s only around five-hours long), there’s a surprising amount of depth to be found in its gameplay features.
Visually, Saturday Morning RPG utilises an old-school 16-bit style for its sprites and 3D environments, which both work really well together in creating a distinguishable world. Neither art style particularly stands out as being outstanding, but they’re attractive enough to give the game a unique look that works well within the quirky nature of the experience as a whole.
Developer: Mighty Rabbit Studios
Publisher: Limited Run Games
Release Date: Out Now
Format(s): Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Xbox One, PC