A mediocre Secret Saturdays adventure that should please some fans of the cartoon show.
The Secret Saturdays is about a family of crypto zoologists who travel all over the world in search of different cryptids and solve ancient mysteries, all while paying tribute to classic Saturday morning action shows. With a TV show filled with magic, action, ancient creatures, and exotic locales, it's no surprise that a game based on the show was created. The Secret Saturdays: Beasts of the 5th Sun follows the storyline of the very accurately, but it is hampered by gameplay that is rather ordinary.
Beasts of the 5th Sun is a 2D platforming action title reminiscent of games like Donkey Kong Country. You assume the roles of the Saturday clan as you recover cryptid data that was stolen from the Saturday archive. Most of the game focuses on Zak, the young protagonist of the TV show. His abilities include use of the Claw, a staff that doubles as a grappling hook; Zak uses this device to attack his enemies as well as avoid obstacles and reach high ledges. He also has the ability to call on his cryptid friends to have them perform attacks and abilities that he cannot do himself. For example, the seven-foot-tall cryptid Fiskerton can climb ladders and destroy metal doors while Komodo, a lizard-like cryptid, can turn invincible and walk past enemies. However, these creatures are only around for a limited time; once time expires, the player is returned to Zak.
The rest of the Saturday family is also playable, and each has their own unique attacks and abilities. Doc Saturday, the father figure of the group, is the strongest while Drew Saturday, the matriarch, is quicker and can use a cryptid sword that shoots flames. Their levels, however, aren't radically altered and feature the same kind of gameplay as Zak's levels.
The game's controls are rather typical for a DS platformer. To navigate the characters you use the d-pad, and use the buttons for various attacks.The touch screen is used for some menu navigation, such as cryptid summoning.
The title has ten levels total, with each comprised of three to five separate areas. Since each level is divided into different parts, Beasts of the 5th Sun is a surprisingly lengthy title. The biggest problem , is that the gameplay, while solid and well-polished, isn't very engaging. Despite trying to tie in the mythology of the franchise into the gameplay by including use of the cryptids, their overall usage is very basic, and very rarely will you feel challenged or compelled to be creative with them.
Another negative is the fact that the characters play very similarly save for a few attacks, lacking enough individual personality tomake their gameplay compelling. Those unaware of its storyline will find themselves lost most of the time, since the game plays like an episode of the original TV show, but fans of the TV show should enjoy it thanks to how well the series' universe is presented..
The game's characters look really good and stay true to their cartoon counterparts. Unfortunately the environments are very bland, despite the game taking place in exotic locales. The sound is even less inspired, with a small amount of vocals combined with musical tracks that are very plain.
Beast of the 5th Sun is unfortunately yet another mediocre licensed game. It has some good ideas and tries valiantly to present the cartoon universe in video gameform, but only fans of the series will be able to fully enjoy this title.