For my last review of 2019 we have the Apple game that serves as a continuation of sorts to the two previous other iterations, Steven Universe: Unleash the Light. Given that the timeline of this game’s plot takes place between “Change Your Mind” and Steven Universe: The Movie as Steven is still 15 years old. The game’s plot attempts to fill in gaps of the information left unanswered in the show such as how far Steven’s campaign has progressed to bring peace amongst the Gems, both within Gemworld and across the universe. We know he’s fixed things with the Diamonds, but realistically, world peace doesn’t just happen overnight. While writing some new laws that are intended to benefit and encourage freedom, independence & individuality in the Gemworld, Steven is informed by the royal Pearls that there’s some unruly Prism’s within one of Yellow-Diamond’s mining colonies who didn’t exactly get the memo that the war is over, which of course is where Steven and his Crystal Gem Crew/Family step in.
In terms of gameplay, players can access & play as seven characters from the show: Steven, Garnet, Pearl, Amethyst, along with their most recent additions, Peridot, Lapis Lazuli, and Bismuth as they must take on two new Prism-wielding Gems. Aside from the catchy music, which should be a requirement at this point since the show itself is very synonymous with memorable and catchy tunes, the show’s main cast also provides voice-overs for the game and in addition, is co-written by the show’s long-time creator Rebecca sugar herself to help keep things consistent to the continuity of the show. Of course, while the cutscenes do provide the voices there are some parts where 80 percent of it is all text without hearing their voices and that’s kinda ok given that most RPGs of this structure don’t always have to have a voiceover for everything. Much like any other RPG-style game, there is a leveling system for each Gem/character along with Steven to upgrade their skills & abilities to be a match against upper-tier threats and as an added bonus, team-attacks and fusions are part of the mix which seem limited to the fusions that were revealed since the season five finale, such as “Sunstone” and the Dr. Who-Inspired “Rainbow Quartz 2.0”, however outside of the four, we have yet to see other Gem fusions involving Peridot, Lapis, and Bismuth which would’ve been interesting reveals, but I’m sure Rebecca could potentially be saving them for upcoming episodes of the currently ongoing “Steven Universe: Future” series at some point.
And much like the show itself, the game also provides extras & Easter eggs which are nods & references to the show such as classic outfits Steven and the Gems have worn during the course of its five-season run of the show. If there’s any major downside, is that it’s sadly exclusive for those who have an Apple iPad and is only available through Apple Arcade which limits its accessibility compared to the previous games that were on consoles such as the PS4 or Xbox One but who knows if that’ll change anytime soon.
Overall, Steven Universe: Unleash the light is a welcoming addition to the franchise with tons of fanservice and music that rewards longtime fans thanks to the fact that it’s canon and properly fits within a specific part of the timeline of the show it’s based on. The major downside to me would have to be the exclusivity of the game being made available on Apple hardware and nowhere else. If it was ported to multiple consoles and had some sort of optional controller support outside of the touch-screen mechanics I would’ve given this a much higher rating. But as it stands, it’s still a solid sequel as long as you have the system to play it on.