Review: Steven Universe: Save the Light (PS4)

Review: Steven Universe: Save the Light (PS4)


  • PlayStation 4
  • Xbox One

Platform/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4
  • HDTV


  • DualShock 4 Required (1)
  • Move None
Title: Steven Universe: Save the Light
Format: PSN (8.16 GB)
Release Date: October 31, 2017
Publisher: Cartoon Network Games
Developer: Grumpyface Studios
Original MSRP: $24.99
ESRB Rating: E10+
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Steven Universe is one of the best cartoons on television today. It’s a children’s show that has a deep lore and an overarching story in a time when kids shows usually don’t have much of a season through line. More importantly the show is about celebrating diversity and acceptance. It handles subject matter like loss and relationships with grace and dignity. It’s a show full of potential for an amazing video game adaptation with action and characters that could work in almost any genre.

To give you a brief summary of the show, it follows the adventures of Steven and his guardians The Crystal Gems, an alien group of warriors that protect Steven and Earth from various threats. Steven has a father named Greg and a deceased mother named Rose, who happened to be the original leader of the Crystal Gems.

There’s too much history and lore packed into this show to fully explain what makes it so special. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend watching what has become one of my favorite cartoons of all time.

This isn’t the first foray into video games for Steven Universe. There was a mobile game called Attack the Light that wasn’t too bad. Attack the Light showed how much potential this franchise had for video games, but fans wanted more and their demands have been answered with Save The Light on home consoles.

Save The Light, picks up where the mobile game left off, Steven and the Crystal Gems have made friends with the Light Prism (the antagonist from Attack the Light) and everything is fine until The Light Prism is kidnapped by the mysterious Hessonite. Now Steven and The Crystal Gems must set out and save their friend and figure out who this new Gem is and what she plans to do with the Light Prism.

Like the mobile game before it, Save the Light is a turn based action-adventure RPG. You have four characters at a time in your party, choosing from Steven, Garnet, Amethyst, Pearl, and new game additions Connie, Greg, and Peridot. Having those last three is a nice touch as it places the game somewhere in the canon of the show’s timeline as those characters became more active members of the team later in the series.

Each character brings different abilities to the party, all of which reflect their personalities to perfection. Steven is a loving and protective person therefore his abilities include shields and healing. Greg isn’t a fighter, he’s a dad and musician which means in the game he fills the role of a bard and rocks out on his guitar which in-turn buffs the party. A lot of thought and effort clearly went into making sure the abilities and actions of each of the characters reflect that of the show.

The turn based action is straightforward, you have a certain amount of action points per turn and each attack/ability uses a bit of them. Sticking close to what’s possible in the show, some characters can fuse (combine powers) or team up for an ultimate move. How this is achieved is by building the relationships between characters you want to fuse.

Relationships are built by having characters give kudos to each other when promoted and by having characters assist and help one another. It’s a nice touch having relationships be important because it’s a major theme in the series and your heart will melt when you see Steven and Connie dance and fuse together like they did in the show.

Enemies aren’t overly difficult or complicated, they have simple patterns and tells that present little challenge to seasoned gamers. It’s a game based on a children’s show so I’m not complaining about the difficulty at all. I thoroughly enjoyed the combat and the relaxed nature of it.

I ran into a few bugs, like the occasional unresponsive enemies and a few times where I had to reload a checkpoint to progress. It never became a huge problem during my playthrough, just something that happened from time to time.

Story wise, it’s somewhat thinner than I would have hoped. It starts off strong and there are character moments throughout, though as the game went on and on, it felt thinner and shallow. Levels sometimes feel like the cliched “our princess is in another castle” which at first is fine, but after awhile I wanted to hit the endgame and be done.

Speaking of which, the endgame is the most disappointing because it felt like it wrapped up too soon in terms of post boss battle interaction. The characters carried me through the game and the game goes to credits too soon after the final boss falls, which left me with an empty feeling.

Outside of the eyes of the characters, the art style matches the show’s style quite well. The game maintains the 2D art of the show while still having 3D aspects that blend together to make it feel like it’s part of the show.

The cute animations when characters fuse is fantastic and motivated me to pursue all possible fusions and team-ups. Enemies look cool though they repeat a lot which wouldn’t have been as noticeable if the game was shorter.

The developers had great source material to build from and they did an amazing job capturing the look and feel of the series.

A huge aspect of the cartoon is Rebecca Sugar’s music and sadly she does not provide her vocals to the game nor are there any songs or musical numbers during the story. We do get a Greg song at the end credits which was nice to finally hear some music, but it didn’t have the same specialness that fans of the show come to expect. Despite there not being any musical numbers during the story, the score is good and keeps with the vibe of the franchise.

It sounds like all the major voice actors from the show reprised their roles though their dialogue is kept to a minimum. Steven does most of the heavy lifting while the rest of the cast just chime in here and there for most cutscenes and random sounds during combat. It’s understandable though, the cast is very busy and getting them all to record for a game was probably difficult which might explain the story’s lightness.

This game is one player only with no online component.

Fans of the show will be happy to have anything Steven Universe. They are an often vocal and sometimes a content starved community, making this game perfect for them. It’s a story that, as far as I know, is canon and has many nods to the series that they will eat it up.

Those looking for more than cute moments will finish Save The Light with a yearning for more, and the same goes for the gameplay. While it’s solid and entertaining, the campaign can drag a bit and make the gameplay feel repetitive and a borderline chore.

As a franchise marketed to children Save The Light is a good first RPG for kids. They likely wouldn’t pay too much attention to the game’s flaws. As a fan of the show I enjoyed my time with the game though I wish it was a tighter experience.


* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

Written by Michael Cwick

Michael Cwick

Just a nerd from the Windy City. I’m actually really bad at describing myself because I get all self-critical and self-conscious. Follow me on Twitter, @The1stMJC, to see my borderline insane rants on tv shows and other non important subjects. If I’m not tweeting I’m probably just watching Buffy or Firefly for the millionth time.

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