It seems as if nostalgia for the 1980s will never die despite the decade officially ending more than 29 years ago. While some gaming companies fail to replicate the iconic feel of the ‘80s, Mighty Rabbit Studios does more than just deliver a blast from the past.
Saturday Morning RPG takes the world’s collective love of pop culture of the decade and wraps it all into a fun role-playing game.
Players assume the role of Marty, a high school student who is thrust into an adventure around several open-worlds.
The game is presented as a traditional Japanese role-playing game. Marty can travel across the gaming world and explore while occasionally triggering random battles.
Battles play out like traditional turn-based ones with players planning out their attacks and waiting on enemies to plan theirs. Similar to the Paper Mario games, players use timing-based minigames to block attacks or to use special items.
Filling the game with ‘80s memorabilia and references, it feels like something transported straight out of the time period. Special items in the game range from trucks that resemble Optimus Prime from the animated Transformers series to a joystick modeled after the Atari 2600.
Taking inspiration from 16-bit RPGs like Earthbound or Final Fantasy VI, the game places heavy emphasis on player exploration. The game sports an art style in the same vein as RPGs from the decade like Chrono Trigger or Secret of Mana. The character sprites are very detailed even if most of the enemies look exactly the same as one another. The environments sport a pseudo-3D look as well.
The game is divided into four episodes in which the player fights a series of different enemies. Four worlds allow and encourage open exploration, immersing the player.
The Nintendo Switch version has both the option of playing portably or docked on a TV screen. That option is the Switch’s best advantage over the other versions of the game, as the mobile version can’t be blown up on a TV.
That portability makes the episodic nature of the game easier to digest. Completionists will appreciate the dozens of side quests and collectibles the game world has to offer. Random non-player characters give out special items as well as useful information to completing quests, similar to ones found in more modern open-world games.
Though it can be repetitive, Saturday Morning RPG is a fun ride through ‘80s nostalgia. For anyone itching for a throwback-type video game, Saturday Morning RPG has just the fix for that simple, yet entertaining gameplay. Mighty Rabbit Studios has crafted a perfect love letter to the era as well as a beautifully crafted game for a rising console. For fans of Saturday morning cartoons and Japanese RPGs or just Switch owners looking for something new, Saturday Morning RPG definitely fits that bill.