Saturday Morning RPG

Saturday Morning RPG is a wonderfully original retro-themed (cultural content and graphics) game in several chapters or instalments. It's set in a high school and town (and later the North Pole) and features extensive 1980s cultural references, but is still very enjoyable even if you don't get any of them. There are currently four chapters, with a fifth one apparently in development. At the end of each chapter, it tells you how many sidequests and items you missed. You can replay a chapter, and you keep all the items you already found (even from later chapters) which is nice.

Combat is particularly unique: it has turn-based cut-scene combat, but many of your actions require a "minigame" - usually some kind of timed tap to hit the sweet spot on an energy bar, or to tap as fast as possible to charge up power. Defense also requires a quick reaction tap just before they hit you.

Equipment is also very unusual. You carry a "binder" on which you can change the cover theme to modify your stats, eg "Easier Defence" or STR+3. You then choose up to five stickers, with similar modifiers or bonuses like Poison Immunity, Burn Enemies, Enemy Health -5% and so on. Before each battle starts, you get a very short time to "scratch" these stickers, by frantically rubbing your iPhone screen. If you're quick you may scratch up to around 3 out of 5 (it selects them randomly from the five you have selected). More powerful effects are much harder/longer to scratch.

Your inventory then includes a Stash of up to five items (from a much larger group of items you collect) that are essentially battle skills and spells. There's one that heals you a bit, and some that do damage to multiple enemies, and many are are "slow" to use. This does add a bit of strategy, particularly in terms of whether you need multikill items, or something that does higher damage. Your choice might also depend on your reactions: some of the "minigames" are tricker than others, and the screen tapping required for a couple is just annoying. The only problem with buying items from vending machines is that no description is available for what they do before you buy them, and they only resell for fraction of their cost. So it's a bit of a gamble.

Genre: classic RPG
Platform: iOS universal
Character: pre-determined
Story: Defeat Captain Hood
Gear: stickers, stash, covers
Sidequests: multiple
Treasure: money, items in boxes, vending machines
Features: IAP purchase, unique combat system
Grinding: none
Links: Appshopper
Official site
Touch Arcade
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