Sunday, November 11

Review: Steven Universe - Save the Light [Nintendo Switch eShop]

Licensed games always give me some degree of dread and anxiety when approaching them. They tend to either crash and burn (honestly, more often than not) or they can be extremely good, and there usually isn’t much of a middle ground. When talking about Steven Universe: Save the Light there’s a good news / bad news thing going on. For the most part I think fans of the series, and even just people who enjoy a decent action RPG, should have a good time with it. The bad news is that you’re going to need to bear with some bugs along the way, a bit more frustrating since many of these are known bugs that weren’t corrected while bringing the game over to Switch.

Assuming you’re either familiar with the show and its unusual cast or completely ignorant of them my comment on the license is that they’ve done a surprisingly good job of representing Steven and the people he interacts with well. Between the great animations, voice acted dialogue, and the nature of their powers and combined attacks it’s all really well made. Steven’s infectious optimism is on full display and even more minor characters or even item details do the show proud.

Getting to the gameplay itself the feel is akin to something like either Super Mario RPG or Mario Paper, with a world to explore and combat that has active elements while being turn-based. A crucial dodge or added oomph on your attacks based on your timing can make a difference in a tough fight and it does a great job of keeping you engaged. Depending on what stats you decide to focus on as you level up you’ll open a variety of new skills to use in combat, which really helps you cater combat to your tastes, whether you prefer to focus on offense, defense, or a mix of both. You’ll also be able to build relationships between characters which will give you access to some powerful combined attacks as well.

The game’s biggest issue is simply that it’s prone to some bugginess. While it isn’t a constant problem both my daughter and I ran into enough issues with freezes (in a few cases during boss fights) or companion characters getting stuck in environments. While in general this isn’t a massive problem some quick research pointed out the fact that these were generally a known problem so they’ve lingered and weren’t addressed as the game came over to Switch, which is disappointing.

Overall if you’re a massive Steven Universe fan this should be a pretty easy call, the bugs aside it’s a pretty well-made game that takes you on an adventure with pretty well the entire cast. If you’re less familiar with the license not everything may make a lot of sense but the mechanics of the core gameplay, combat, and leveling system are good enough to warrant a look. Just be warned in any case that you’ll likely hit some bumps along the way with glitches so be sure to save periodically to minimize the impact when they hit.

Score: 7.5

  • Excellent use of the license overall
  • The active turn-based combat is well-implemented
  • A nice degree of control as you level up in what combat skills you unlock

  • If you’re not familiar with the license it may all be a bit much for you
  • Known bugs from previous versions went unaddressed as the game was ported to Switch