Ugh. Has it been FOUR MONTHS since I last blogged? I suck. I really do. But I’m going to try and make up for it this month. This is the annual “Blaugust”, where game bloggers try to blog a lot. For me, blogging TWICE in a month would be some sort of record…. but we’ll see what happens.
For now, I’m gonna do a little reblogging from my posts on G+, and I hope to add some of the more current stuff I’ve been playing as things happen. This post is about one of my recent excursions into mobile gaming… and cartoons…
I know there’s other people I follow and perhaps follow me who are huge fans of Steven Universe. That’s the Cartoon Network cartoon about a group of sentient space rocks that emit illusory hard light bodies rebelling against the offworld Diamond Authority that almost destroyed the Earth five thousand years ago. The rebels, known as the Crystal Gems, won the Gem War and saved the planet for what remained of humanity. Steven Universe is a hybrid gem/human learning to take his mother’s place as the leader of the Crystal Gems.
You should totally watch it.
There’ve been a few Steven Universe-based games, but it took the one that as a rhythm game set to the wonderfully moving (and sometimes hilarious) songs that the show features to get me to play.
“Soundtrack Attack” is a rhythm game that would be familiar to any fan of Elite Beat Agents. You tap, slide, and hold down to the beat while your Gem (who you can create from the basic template for a Quartz, Pearl or Ruby gem warrior) runs from warp pad to warp pad evading the Homeworld Gem sent to retrieve your fleeing character.
You’ll have the Crystal Gems to help you make your way from Beach City through to the epic confrontation in the Kindergarten, that dead area where Homeworld was constructing new Gems from the life force that permeates the Earth.
Well, I say epic confrontation, but the game doesn’t actually give you an ending. It just… runs out of levels, and you get the achievement for finishing the game.
But nobody plays rhythm games for the plot. We play them for the music. All the SU hits are here; Strong in the Real Way, Giant Woman, Stronger Than You, Mr. Greg, that song Sadie sings, Steven and the Stevens, and as the penultimate song in the game, the entire extended opening from the “Minisode”. Which is a nice break before the punishing final song, the only one I had to really try hard on.
You get stars for finishing levels (up to three stars per level, seven levels per stage, six stages for 126 maximum possible stars). You earn Crystals by accurately hitting the beats in the song, and these may be used to buy new outfits for your Gem. They can also buy power-ups if a level is too hard, though for that punishing final level, I spent too much time trying to figure out when to use the power-up and did even WORSE when I used them. I finally managed to win three stars without using power-ups, after the fifth or so time.
I thought doing the entire game perfectly would get me that ending. But, it didn’t.
There’s nothing that requires you to spend real money. I don’t think there’s even a way to spend real money if you wanted to. However, after each stage, you get the option to double the crystals you earned by watching a 15 second commercial. After I watched commercials for a movie and another one for some candy a few times, CN was done with THAT obligation and for the remainder of the game, I only saw ads for Cartoon Network properties.
It’s a quick game, tuned for children so it is generally very forgiving. That final stage, though… if I had a way to save the game to Youtube, I’d show it. But I don’t. And there’s no handsoff replay of the level so I can’t really watch my Gem smoosh the enemies as I try to keep the beat.
Upshot; if you’re a Steven Universe fan and own a mobile device and like the songs, go for it.
If you’re not a Steven Universe fan, well, haven’t you ever wondered why the back of the one dollar bill has a diamond and a cut-apart snake? WAKE UP, SNEEPLE!