RPS Saga aims to redefine what it means to play Rock, Paper, Scissors; it was a nice attempt.
Update: I have been informed that the text at the beginning of the game is Korean not Japanese as I had guessed.
Rock, Paper, Scissors is probably one of the first games I ever played as a child (unless you count Patty Cake) and I still play it anytime I need to settle and argument with my older brother. What can I say; old habits die hard.
RPS Saga puts a spin on the classic hand game by putting it in a fantasy-RPG setting and injecting a little strategy into the gameplay.
Story & Setting
Unfortunately, I don't have a lot to say about the story since most of it is in a language I don't understand.
Upon loading the game the first time, I was launched into a little cinematic sequence that had Korean text over it. Which meant I had to rely on the visuals of the opening sequence to try and formulate a story: here's what I came up with.
The world is in danger causing young Ashtan to seek out other powerful heroes to obtain their magic crystals, and together they can stop the threat to the world.
That could be completely bogus, but if you watch the opening cinematic you have to agree at least my thought process makes sense.
At the end of each stage you fight another hero, and before you begin the fight, Ashtan will have a short conversation with them. These conversations are written out in English. Unfortunately, they don't provide too many answers as to what the heck is happening.
The main draw of RPS Saga is how it mixes some elements of standard RPGs into the Rock, Paper, Scissors framework.
Each stage in the game pits you against a formidable foe for a best two-out-of-three rounds duel. You win a round by being the first one to deplete your opponent's health bar, which you do so by attacking.
"The cards you are dealt at the beginning of each attack phase are random, making the strategy to the game practically irrelevant.
Your attacks are in the form of cards — either rock, paper, or scissors — and you get dealt a hand of three or four cards you tap to play in any order. Your opponent can see your hand and vice versa, meaning you need to figure out the best order to place your attacks to ensure maximum damage.
This is where the strategy of the gameplay comes into effect, but it's also where it ends.
The cards you receive at the beginning of each attack phase are random, making the strategy to the game practically irrelevant. Plenty of times I was dealt a hand of three scissors cards only to see my opponent had three rock cards at their disposal leaving my, for lack of a better term, shit out of luck.
Of course, the odd time the randomly generated cards my opponent and myself received were mixed, it was possible to plan out a strategy, but those times were few and far between.
Each character has one special ability by default when you unlock them, and you can add another by paying ten magic cubes, which you collect for accomplishing in-game challenges or by paying for them via in-app purchases. These special abilities have a wide variety of effects including healing HP, attacking more than once during a turn, or defending against any enemy attack, and when used at the right time, will provide a boost during a duel, perhaps even turning the tide in your favor.
The bottom line, the gameplay at its core is still Rock, Paper, Scissors as we know it, you'll need a fair amount of luck to be successful.
Design & Sound
The strongest point of RPS Saga is the way it looks.
The retro style graphics are superb and give way to the aesthetic of a classic RPG fantasy world the game tries to emulate. The world map reminds me of something you would see in Chrono Trigger, just much smaller, and the battle animations remind me of the older Fire Emblem games. Plus, the music and sound effect are spot on for the era of games from which RPS Saga seems to be inspired.
"The battle animations remind me of the older Fire Emblem games."
Speaking of those battle animations, they're pretty smooth. While they aren't anything fancy or special, the animations do a great job of keeping you visually entertained as you progress your way through the game. Each special ability looks different, and each character's attacks vary slightly, meaning your eyes shouldn't tire if you're playing for extending periods of time.
My Verdict: ⭐️⭐️⭐️
- Retro style graphics are pleasant
- Battle animations are smooth
- Plenty of different characters and abilities
- Lacking a story
- Gameplay mechanics too random for real strategic play
RPS Saga takes the simple game mechanics of Rock, Paper, Scissors and attempts to dress it up as something fancy by layering in some RPG-like elements and strategy to the gameplay.
While it doesn't fail per se, it only manages to squeak by with a passing grade. The gameplay is much too random to implement any serious strategy into battles, and the special abilities — while fun and unique – only offer a slight reprieve from the monotonous mechanics of the classic Rock, Paper, Scissors hand game.
It isn't all doom and gloom for RPS Saga; the game has some redeeming qualities. The visuals are solid. The battle animations are simple but vary enough between characters to never get stale, and the whole game looks beautiful and sounds incredible just like an RPG of the Super Nintendo era.
Plus, there's plenty of action to be had in RPS Saga. With over 50 stages, an endless survival mode, and plenty of challenges along the way, RPS Saga offers a lot of content for it's $0.99 price tag.
What are your thoughts?
I have told you my thoughts about RPS Saga; I want to hear yours! Tell me your impressions of RPS Saga in the comments below, or hit me up on Twitter