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Steven Universe & OK K.O.! Bundle Review: A Mixed Bag Of Cartoon Homages

Steven Universe and OK KO Bundle Header Image

The bundled games evoke the wonderful art styles and writing of their source material, but their gameplay isn't as consistently successful.

A new bundle includes physical versions of two previously released Cartoon Network series adaptations: Steven Universe: Save the Light and OK K.O.! Let's Play Heroes. While both games successfully evoke the entrancing art styles and charming writing of the shows they're based on, they vary in the quality of their gameplay. Turn-based RPG Save the Light is spectacular, but Let's Play Heroes, a part-adventure, part-side-scrolling brawler, isn't quite as good. What fun it contains tends to get lost amid the tediousness of its moment-to-moment gameplay.

In Save the Light, players control Steven Universe and an assortment of his buddies as they pursue a hostile Homeworld Gem who has unleashed a horde of monsters in and around Beach City. Fair warning: If you find this description indecipherable, the game might not be for you, as much of its pleasure lies in the way it creates an explorable simulacrum of the show's world. But Save the Light's compelling gameplay and aesthetics could make the RPG worth a go regardless of your interest in the TV series.

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As Steven and co. journey through diverse, lush environments, they engage in cerebral but not-too-complex combat reminiscent of the timeless Paper Mario. But there aren't strict turns, here - characters share "stars," the resource used for abilities, and players must select which character they'd like to act with at any given point. So players can go whole battles, for example, using only Garnet's double-punch skill while their other party members stand idly by, though they'd probably be better off making use of all of their characters' strengths. Timed button presses amplify the power of attacks and blocks, resulting in consistently dynamic combat. The engaging battles, along with the game's (lightly) customizable character progression and its range of potential party members, contribute to a lastingly captivating experience.

Steven Universe: Save the Light Combat Gameplay Screenshot

Let's Play Heroes proves less enthralling. Players guide K.O., a child who works at a bodega, through his day-to-day activities at Lakewood Plaza Turbo. K.O. hasn't yet been recognized as the hero he aspires to be, so the game consists of him undertaking missions - like tracking down a lost pet dinosaur - in order to build up his reputation. Unfortunately, the mechanics of K.O.'s escapades are lacking. The game is, essentially, a series of fetch quests. Players run back and forth from NPC to NPC, intermittently engaging in battles before seeking out the next person they'll help or get advice from.

OK K.O.! Let's Play Heroes Combat Gameplay Screenshot

But the battles aren't too rewarding, either. They take place in a side-scrolling space in which K.O. can jump, roll, punch, and kick his enemies. He can equip two supporting characters at any given time, providing special abilities that charge up as K.O. hits and gets hit by his foes. But enemies tend to take too long to defeat; there's a lot of punching and very little satisfaction to it. The dullness of the combat, in turn, drags down what's otherwise a rather lovable game. Let's Play Heroes boasts quirky, intriguing characters, as well as a joyful sense of style, but those virtues are overwhelmed by the game's plodding mechanics.

Both Save the Light and Let's Play Heroes occasionally suffer from frame-rate drops and long loading times, the latter being a more prominent issue in Save the Light's case. But the rampant technical issues of Save the Light's original release, back in 2017, don't seem to have carried over into the new release. Neither game in the bundle glitched or crashed a single time in the process of this review.

Steven Universe: Save the Light Combat Gameplay Screenshot 2

Ultimately, the bundle is more likely to please fans of the Steven Universe and OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes series. But there's much to enjoy for non-viewers, as well. Steven Universe: Save the Light and OK K.O.! Let's Play Heroes are stuffed with charm and warmth. They are lovely games that benefit from their lack of urgency, from the delightfully breezy air of adventure that flows through them.

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The Steven Universe: Save the Light and OK K.O.! Let's Play Heroes bundle is out now on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. Screen Rant was provided with a Switch download code for the purposes of this review.

Our Rating:

3 out of 5 (Good)
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