'Steven Universe: Save The Light' Hands-On: Does Grumpyface Studio's First Console Title Do The Crystal Gems Justice?

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Save The Light is an upcoming console game based on the Cartoon Network show Steven Universe , featuring the Crystal Gems, Connie and Greg saving Beach City from new threats. Grumpyface Studios worked on a previous Steven Universe game for mobile, Attack The Light , and wanted to do something a bit bigger. At a press event, I got to enjoy a Cookie Cat and try Save The Light ahead of its summer 2017 release date.

I was a huge fan of the original mobile title Attack The Light , I spent countless hours with Steven, Garnet, Amethyst and Pearl fighting monsters in turn-based battles. The game did have its flaws though: the maps got repetitive very quickly, the combat could be “cheesed” so that you never lost a fight and it was very short. Save The Light attempts to fix these problems with a few new mechanics:

Open-ish World- Save The Light is the first video game that lets you walk around Beach City, the town where Steven and the Crystal Gems spend most of their time. Never before have fans been able to walk around a fully rendered Beach City, head over to the doughnut shop and bug Lars.  

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BoardWalk
Under the boardwalk.... Photo: Cartoon Network

Game developer, Chris Graham, and his team at Grumpyface studios collaborated with the team that works on the Steven Universe television show, studying the concept art and making sure Save The Light stayed true to the canon that’s captivated fans for five seasons. Rebecca Sugar, creator of the show, even helped write the dialogue, making sure the game and television show have as unified a voice as possible.

Save The Light will introduce locations and characters never before seen in the show, though they could not tell me which ones. The game takes place right before the start of season five, but I’ll still be disappointed if I don’t get to go to Homeworld and fight a Diamond.

Almost Turned Based Combat- Attack The Light featured a simple turn-based combat system: every turn you have five stars to spend on attacks and abilities. Once you were out of stars, your enemy attacked and the cycle started over again. Graham and the other developers at Grumpyface Studios built on that original system, adding real-time fighting that makes positioning matter. Stars recharge over time, but you can pause the combat to assign attacks or to give out items.

You can protect Greg while he jams out on his guitar with Connie or Steven and make sure he can continue to deal DPS. The combat reminded me a lot of Has-Been Heroes, without the annoying lane mechanic.

Relationships are a new mechanic that allow players to unleash massive combos by joining forces for an attack or fusing. You can fill your relationship meter out of battle and then fuse in-combat, though your meter will diminish. If you’ve got a big battle coming up, you don’t want to waste your fusion on a lowly grunt. I got to try the Steven and Connie fusion, Stevonnie, who slashes their sword for insane amounts of damage.

There will be seven playable characters at launch: Steven Connie, Greg and the Crystal Gems, along with one more purchasable later as DLC.

Forrest Boss Screenshot 2017-05-12 11-59-54
I call this guy Chuck Photo: Cartoon Network

It’s A Full Game- Graham assured me that this won’t just be a game made for children. The first few levels will be easy enough for a kid who wants to pick up a fun RPG based on their favorite show, but has enough length and meat to keep hardcore RPG fans happy. I got to try one boss, who was a giant sentient saw mill. There was an actual strategy to the fight: you had to kill little minions who were feeding him logs which it would shoot at your team. Knowing when to attack the minions and when to attack the monster took practice, but eventually I got the hang of it and took the beast down.

Steven Universe is one of my favorite shows of all time. It’s a cartoon that isn’t afraid to tackle deep issues like loss, gender identity, finding a purpose and so much more. At last year’s Comic-Con, I got to actually meet Rebecca Sugar and fanboyed so hard that I could barely form sentences I. I consider the show’s lore sacred and I worry when I see another medium try and add to the lore of the Crystal Gems.

I believe Save The Light has the potential to be a fun and filling RPG that satisfies all Steven Universe fans.

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