Steven Universe: Save the Light (PS4, Xbox One)

There is quite a dedicated fanbase for Cartoon Network’s Steven Universe series.  And there’s yet ANOTHER new game out based on the franchise.  Steven Universe: Save the Light is actually a sequel to a mobile game I reviewed a couple of years ago called Attack the Light, which was on mobile devices.  It’s unusual for a mobile game to get a sequel on a console, but that’s just what happened here, as Save the Light is available to download on PS4 and Xbox One (PS4 version reviewed here).

In the first game, Steven touches a magic prism and accidentally releases a bunch of light monsters.  So he and the Gem Warriors ventured into dungeons to fight them.  But in the end, Steven ends up befriending the light monsters.  In the sequel, an evil alien crashes into Steven’s dad’s car wash, and takes the prism for her own.  Now Steven, the Gem Warriors, and his family and friends must set out on a new adventure to save the prism and the world.

The first game, Attack the Light, was a turn-based RPG with action battle commands, similar to Mario & Luigi and Paper Mario RPGs.  It was pretty good for a mobile game, but one problem I had was that you only explored dungeon mazes and battled.  You couldn’t venture into towns and talk with people like in other RPGs, and there wasn’t much of a story, either.  Well, the sequel fixes all that.  You can walk around Steven’s hometown and talk with his friends, buy items, and go on sidequests.  You’ll also explore all manner of locations like nearby forests and faraway snowy mountains.  When you’re not battling, each person in your party has a special skill. Steven can roll up and fit into small places.  Garnet can punch rocks.  Not only will the Gem Warriors fight with Steven, but his friends and family join in on the adventure, too.  Steven’s dad can solve music puzzles and Steven’s friend Connie uses a sword to mow down grass.

When you encounter an enemy, you’ll go into battle mode.  It’s similar to the battles in the first game, but with some additions that make it surprisingly deep for a cartoon game.  Each character has different moves, but it takes star points to use them.  When you use them all up, you must wait a while for them to refill.  Time your button presses when attacking and defending to be more effective in battle.  Steven can actually attack this time, but he still mostly acts as a healer character.  He can even use items like Cookie Cats, Fry Bits, and Together Breakfasts from his Cheeseburger Backpack, even without star points, just like in the last game.

New to the game is a relationship system.  During battle and at certain points in the story, you can choose to compliment a teammate, strengthening their relationship.  When the meter for this is full, you can do a team up attack in battle with them.  Steven can even merge with some characters, which is kind of weird.  After winning, you’ll get experience points and when a character levels up, you can divvy out points to upgrade their attack, defense, and more, as well as learn new skills.

Save the Light still has a few problems here and there.  For one, it’s a bit buggy.  Most of the bugs don’t affect the gameplay, like broken sound effects and whatnot.  But sometimes characters can get stuck, and one time I entered a battle and it was just Steven, and the other characters were just walking around not doing anything.  I lost that battle, needless to say, but luckily the game autosaves.  Also, goals and objectives are a little unclear and you have to be really observant to spot key items hiding around.  Plus it really helps to be a fan of the show to know the characters.  One time a sidequest opened up to deliver a pizza to someone named Suitcase Sam.  If I watched the show more, I might know who that was and where to find him.  I’d be willing to watch more of the Steven Universe cartoon, but they make it hard to do.  Every time I turn on Cartoon Network, the only thing they’re playing is Teen Titans Go!  Blech!  But if you are a fan of the show, you’ll definitely enjoy this game, especially if you like Mario RPGs as well.

Kid Factor:

Steven Universe: Save the Light is rated E-10 with an ESRB descriptor of Fantasy Violence.  When you defeat enemies, they just shatter into light pieces.  When characters run out of energy in battle, they just kneel down and must rest for a bit before getting back into the action.  If you’re OK with your kids watching the show, they’ll be OK with the game.  Reading skill is needed for the text.  One thing I have noticed about the game and cartoon is that it has a good-naturedness to it.  Players are prompted to encourage others and I liked that aspect.

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