All Features


  PlayStation 3
  PlayStation 4
  Wii U
  Xbox 360
  Xbox One


The Secret Saturdays: Beasts of the 5th Sun

Score: 80%
ESRB: Everyone 10+
Publisher: D3
Developer: 1st Playable Productions
Media: Cartridge/1
Players: 1
Genre: Action/ Platformer (2D)

Graphics & Sound:

The Secret Saturdays is the rare cartoon license that could really works as a game adaptation. The show focuses The Saturdays, a family of Cryptozoologists who find and protect creatures more likely to show up in a mythology book than a biology text. The structure lends itself to a Poke'mon-styled capture and collect game, though it doesn't make for a bad action platformer either.

The Secret Saturdays: Beasts of the 5th Sun comes incredibly close to being one of the DS's better looking 2D games. The game retains the show's unique angular style, while adding a bit of pseudo-3D in the mix - mostly for a bit of added visual depth. All of the show's characters are recognizable and the animation is incredibly smooth, particularly when it comes to transitional animations. For instance, Zak easily flows from one swinging animation to another without any sort of awkwardness.

Both the sound and sound effects go right in time with the rest of the package. I've only seen the show a few times, so I can't say if it is music from the show, but either way it sounds good. Sound effects hit all the right areas; they're loud, clear and never get annoying. The game even includes some voicework from the show.


The Secret Saturdays: Beasts of the 5th Sun borrows ideas and concepts from several platformers, including Bionic Commando and Kameo. Playing as members of the Saturday family, you travel through side-scrolling levels beating up thugs and using your menagerie of mythological beasts to solve puzzles. Each character (there's about seven in all) has their own skill set that will help them traverse different parts of the level. For example, Fiskerton, a Sasquatch, can climb ladders while Zak has a grappling hook he can use to attach to walls and swing over pits.

Gameplay is reminiscent of the 360 platformer Kameo. You primarily play as one of the Saturdays throughout the level and call animals to help solve puzzles. In addition to calling Fiskerton to climb objects, you can call Zon, a Pterosaur, when you need to fly over gaps or Komodo, if you need to sneak around or get into smaller spaces. Though there are a few action sequences, most of the game revolves around using abilities to solve puzzles. This is entertaining for the first few levels, but gets incredibly boring the deeper you get into the game. Rather than find new ways to use creature abilities, gameplay seems content with finding one or two solutions and repeating them. Granted, some of the solutions are creative, though most are just slightly modified versions of the same basic idea.


The Secret Saturdays: Beasts of the 5th Sun is meant for a younger audience. I was able to blast through most areas easily, but for a younger player, some areas might pose a slight problem. For example, swinging across large gaps with Zak's grappling hook requires timing and some spacial awareness. There are plenty of opportunities for practice in early levels and failure isn't harshly punished, but expect to hear a few quiet sighs of frustration during the learning process.

However, given the game's propensity for repeating puzzle solutions (or at least how abilities are used in each level), it won't take long for most players to start plowing through levels. That is, of course, if the game is able to hold their attention for longer than a few levels. Again, gameplay is formulaic to the point that it is dull and not much fun once you've collected the first few creatures.

Game Mechanics:

Selecting creatures is one of The Secret Saturdays: Beasts of the 5th Sun's few touch-based control mechanisms and probably one of the game's more interesting mechanics. After selecting a creature from the list, a short timer begins to tick down. Once the meter runs out, you lose control of the creature. The concept behind the timer is great, after all, people make stupid decisions when a time limit is involved. However, the concept fails to generate the right amount of pressure. Gauge-refilling bars are easily obtainable and the meter ticks down rather slowly. I can't recall the meter ever getting lower than half during any puzzle sequence. The only exception are the Zon levels, though the meter ticking out was usually due to floaty flight controls and not difficulties with level layout.

Another interesting, but slightly problematic issue is camera shifts. Although played from a side-scrolling view, the camera will periodically zoom out when you come across larger enemies. This is cool, but causes sight issues and even obscures a few areas.

The Secret Saturdays: Beasts of the 5th Sun is a solid, but repetitive experience. The game manages to handle the show's concept extraordinarily well, but the mechanics and dynamics at play aim too low. Even for a younger player, The Secret Saturdays: Beasts of the 5th Sun may not offer much of a challenge. Add to that repetitive levels and puzzles, and you have a game that likely won't hold player interest for long.

-Starscream, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ricky Tucker

Sony PlayStation 2 MotorStorm Arctic Edge Sony PlayStation 3 Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated