Finally, there is an intriguing Steven Universe game. So far, it has been a fun adventure filled with plenty of cookie cats and “awwww yeah’s.” Steven Universe: Save the Light is a smart mix of real time strategy and turn based combat. The story is just as sweet as the ice cream cats you will be eating along the way, providing you with a cute, colorful world to play around in.
Right from the beginning the story is quintessential Steven Universe with an alien space ship showing up and destroying the car wash. From there, the story gets sappy sweet and complicated exactly like the Steven Universe cartoon. I love the characters and their interactions. To add a little extra flavor, the developers added believable relationships between the characters. When a character completes a “perfect” attack or block you can choose a character to congratulate them on being awesome. Every time you do this their meter grows and once full you can unleash a special ability. For Steven and Connie, they merge into Stevonnie giving them extra health and more powerful attacks. That’s not all though, you can mix and match with just about anyone, each featuring their own wonderful abilities.
Save the Light employs some standard RPG elements such as upgradable attacks, armor, and luck. You have to use a character and level them up over time to get more points for
upgrading. Most of the upgrades add features to already available abilities, for instance, Steven’s bubble gets spikes added or Mr. Universe’s jam session doesn’t get interrupted if he is attacked while playing. There isn’t much growth in the abilities area but I believe that this was the right choice for Save the Light. This is an RPG that is focusing on adult fans and kids who may be new to the genre. They offer just enough to allow you to play the game your way and if anyone tells you different “Hit ‘em in the face with a chair!” (Wise words from Amethyst).
Saving Steven from the evil gem master is the main story but there are plenty of goofy side quests, like delivering pizzas to suitcase guy or getting glow sticks for Lars. Most of the quests are just fetch quests but the dialogue is fun, cute, and, at times, very helpful to your cause. People that you do work for will typically give you food or a powerup that will aid your cause when some jerk of a flying gem wrecks Garnett. I have no idea why but the birds hate her and they can do a ton of damage quickly. Anyhow, back to the powerups they can give you extra action points or an over-time healing effect. There is a ton of others but I don’t want to ruin the joy of discovering some of the funnier bits or Easter eggs from the show.
The best part is the combat. I really enjoyed the strategy. You have to balance when to attack because depending on where the attackers are located on the map you may be able to do more damage to more of them. This is where the real time strategy comes into play. When an enemy is in front of another, if you attack the rear one with Steven his shield bashes both of them. This can cause an enemy who is about to attack to be stunned or moved back far enough that it buys you some time to refill your action points or heal the team. I would wait until they were basically on top of my group and then attack with stunning attacks or position them so that I could knock them off a cliff. When attacking or defending you can score extra damage or reduce what is taken by timing a button press just right. When a character is targeted, a star will appear under them and if you hit A and it will execute a “good” attack. If you are able to hit A when the star turns purple you score a “perfect” attack.
Certain characters will land multiple attacks so be prepared to hit that A button multiple times. If you use Garnet and score two “perfect” strikes she will land a third devastating strike, a wicked uppercut that leaves the enemy stunned. Plus, when you land those perfect strikes you get to increase your relationship with one of the other party members. There is a downside, of course, if you hit the button early or late it increases damage taken or damage dealt. In the worst case, you can take extra damage and become stunned. The upside definitely makes the downside worth the chance, the fusions are just too much fun to pass up. My favorite fusion so far is Amethyst and Steven to create Smoke Quartz. Really, it’s because Amethyst is one of my favorites and she just adds a great levity to the darkness sometimes surrounding the Crystal Gems. Their fusion also has some of the more fun abilities; I love Amethyst’s shapeshifting.
Steven Universe: Save the Light is great for all ages. While it offers little expansion of abilities it offers a lot of differentiation during battle, mixing real time strategy and the turn-based combat. Then adding the good and perfect strikes makes every strike weighty. If you are looking for an RPG that you can really sink your teeth into, Save the Light isn’t for you but if you are looking for something light and fun I highly suggest it. I promise that you will enjoy the characters, the world they have created, story, and Mr. Universe’s sweet guitar solos. In the words of Garnet, “[It’s]an experience, now go have fun.”