*Realeased: April 2nd, 2015
*Developer: Grumpyface Studios
*Publisher: Cartoon Network
*Platforms: Android, iOS7 (or later), Google Play, Kindle
*Type: Dungeon-crawling RPG for kids aged 9-11 and fans of the Steven Universe cartoon series
I discovered Attack the Light by total accident one night when I was catching up on the Steven Universe episodes that I had missed. New episodes were coming out every Thursday evening that I never got to see because I was always working. Thank goodness for YouTube, right? After watching a few of them, I was scrolling through the related content that’s always on offer when I noticed a video for an online walkthrough of the game and I just HAD to watch it. “Really?!” I thought. “There’s an actual Steven Universe RPG? This should be interesting.”
It was. Attack the Light seemed like a cool game to play, even if it was on the more basic side of RPGs. After watching the playthrough for about half an hour, I was no longer content just to watch someone else play it. I mean, I had a perfectly good iPhone 5c that I could easily download and play the game on. And since it would only cost me about $3 . . .there was no reason NOT to give it a try for myself.
Playing Attack the Light was a surprisingly satisfying experience due to the way the game operates and the fact that I’m a fan of the series it is built around. Also, completing it %100. I hardly EVER get to do that in a video game. It was really easy for some reason.
The story begins with Steven playing, of all things, an RPG-style game which he quickly forgets about when the Crystal Gems (Garnet, Pearl, and Amethyst) return from one of their missions with a mysterious crystal prism. They tell Steven that the prism is an ancient gem weapon that commands the power of light and that its true fury could be unleashed when in the hands of a powerful Gem. But in Steven’s hands? Not so much.
So Garnet hands the prism to him and . . .it activates?! Yeah, the thing actually springs to life, releasing a beam of white light that solidifies into a hulking creature. Acting quickly, Garnet attacks the creature which causes it to separate into seven more beams of light that scatter all over the world. They must be returned to the prism before they . . .destroy the world? I don’t know. It’s never really made clear why the light creatures are such a threat. But whatever. It’s time to play “the greatest RPG ever!”
There are five worlds (INDIGO, GREEN, ORANGE, BLUE, RED) that consist of several regular levels and several secret levels that can only be accessed after finding gemstones of varying colors and using them to open the huge stone doors that appear in the main levels. Each world also has a ‘gauntlet’ stage where you lose all of your items and must win back-to-back battles. The last level of a world is always a boss stage. Bosses must be defeated to move on to the next world.
All of the worlds are chock-full of treasure chests with all sorts of items that are both unique to the game and references to the Steven Universe series. You’ll find items such as bagel sandwiches, cookie cats, and lucky crowns everywhere. My favorite item has got to be the together breakfast. It completely restores everyone’s HP (or harmony) and even has an entire episode dedicated to it. It really pays to have at least one during those tough boss battles.
One last thing about the worlds you’ll be traveling through: there are fake walls all over the place. Seriously, these things are everywhere. Thankfully, they usually give off a faint light when you get near them so they aren’t THAT hard to find.
Attack the Light is a turn-based RPG that operates on a star point system. You get five star points per turn that you can use for basic attacks and special moves. Your turn is basically over when they run out, but you can end your turn before that happens. Five more points will be added to your current number when for the next round. Please keep in mind that you can never have more than nine star points at any given time.
Star fruits are an item in the game that increase the number of star points at your disposal. The regular ones add three points, the super star fruits add six points, and the white ones reduce the cost of your next move to zero.
When it comes to expertly taking out all of the enemies that plague the five worlds of this game, timing is going to be everything. A star will briefly appear on the screen right before a Gem or an enemy attacks. Tapping the screen when this happens will either grant you a bonus attack that allows for additional damage or reduce damage taken from enemies. The timing mechanic for this system can initially pose some challenges, but I found a way around it: tap the screen when you hear the telltale sound effect and forget about looking for the stars. It will make your battling experience SO much easier.
The skills and powers of Steven and the Gems will be at your disposal for the entirety of your journey to return all seven colors to the prism. Steven’s along for the ride to basically provide support. He carries and uses all of the items found throughout the five worlds, can restore the Gems’ harmony through encouragement, and can use his shield bubble to protect allies just like in the show. Neat. He can even use his famous ukulele to play songs that have various beneficial effects like increasing attack power or defense and curing status ailments.
The Gems are there to do all of the fighting, each Gem using her iconic weapon. Garnet pummels things with her gauntlets, Amethysts cracks her crystal whip, and Pearl impales everything in her path with her spear. As you play through the game and level up, special attacks are unlocked for each Gem. Their ultimate attack is unlocked when you reach a certain point in the game: fusion. All three fuse to form Alexandrite, the hugest and most powerful gem fusion in the Steven Universe . . .um . . .universe. She can kill just about anything on the screen at any given time. However, summoning her is no easy task as two conditions must be met first.
- The fusion costs nine star points.
- All Gems must be at full harmony (or HP) in order to perform fusion.
This is the time when all of those together breakfasts, super star fruits, and white star fruits are especially useful. I should also mention that fusion can only be used once per battle so make it count.
*Ending (Spoiler alert!)*
Everything is revealed at the end of the RED world as you fight the final boss. After the RED boss is defeated, it regains the form it took at the beginning of the game and takes back the prism. The showdown with Attack the Light’s true final boss begins. This is where things get weird. The creature starts communicating with Steven, asking him why he was testing it. It has even more to say as this fight continues, telling Steven: “ . . .I’m . . .sorry . . .I failed . . .you . . .” It then asks, “ . . .what . . .do you . . .want . . .from me . . .?”
Wait . . .what?! It thinks Steven is its master and the light creatures were actually fighting FOR him this entire time? Really?! Talk about your twist endings . . .Moving on, Steven then tells the creature that it doesn’t have to fight for him or be a weapon. “ . . .What . . .do you want . . .me to be . . .?” it asks in response. “YOU CAN BE ANYTIHNG!” Steven reassures it. So it turns into a whole herd of sparkly Steven clones. “Good job, Steven,” Garnet says, ruffling his hair. And then the game just . . .ends after that. It’s over.
This game was just your average, turn-based, strategy RPG with a Steven Universe tarp thrown over it, and that’s not a bad thing by any means. What is here is done rather well: solid RPG gameplay, colorful environments, voice acting from actual cast members, and lots of secrets to find. This was a delightful little jaunt through the world of Steven Universe and a much more pleasant experience than the game I’m slogging through right now.
If I was going to make any complaints about Attack the Light, I’d say that the story was too shallow and I wished that more of the characters had made an appearance. The only ones we ever get to see are Steven, Pearl, Amethyst, and Garnet. There’s no Connie, no Lars or Sadie, none of the gang of interesting character that reside in Beach City ever show up. Nor are they ever brought up by our main characters. Except for Steven’s father, Greg Universe. But he’s only briefly mentioned.
There is just so much more that the developers could have done given the material they had to work with. Attack the Light really could have been so much more and I really hope that there is another, more in-depth game released in the future. But hey, I only spent $3 and I got my money’s worth.