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Capturing the feel of the 80s is like shooting fish in a barrel. Looking at children's entertainment from the era, we had a cartoon designed around selling action figures that turned into cars, while another featured a skeleton antagonist named Skeletor (good job, guys). And on the live-action front, we had Fred Savage saving the day with a host of Nintendo products. You barely need to satirize these when the source material is already this outrageous. It's an easy target, but that doesn't make Saturday Morning RPG's nostalgia-tinged look back at the days of G.I. Joes and Care Bears any less entertaining.
The first episode starts off with some funny writing as protagonist Marty's romantic interest, Samantha, is kidnapped by the demented Commander Hood, who plans on forcing her to marry him. Unfortunately, most of this episode devolves into a protracted tutorial and bland dungeon crawl with little depth or humor between its charming intro and conclusion.
At least the role-playing game's battle system is slick, which is good because you'll be doing a lot of it. Attacks are turn-based, but you can dampen blows received and increase damage dealt by tapping the screen at the appropriate time. Cleverly, your attacks are cartoonish animations based on gear in your Trapper Keeper. For instance, a white glove allows you to moonwalk into foes ala Michael Jackson before dishing out a glove slap.
Episode Two (via a $1.99 in-app purchase) is vastly more accomplished, with plenty of non-playable characters spouting off hilarious dialogue, schlocky posters in the background, and more amusing side-quests -- like helping class pets escape by flushing them down the toilet.
The bottom line. Saturday Morning RPG has plenty of cheesy charm, even if it's a low-calorie snack. An abundance of overly long battles wears out its welcome, and the first episode drags on too long, but overall this love letter to the 80s is a buoyant blast from the past.
iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch running iOS 3.1.3 or later
Delightful writing and sight gags. Combat system is a nice mix of tactics and timing. Catchy soundtrack by a pair of '80s cartoon composers.
Battles are too frequent and last too long. Episode One has little humor in the middle. Tutorial is overbearing.