[Review] Across the Grooves – Nintendo Switch

Written by Frank Sloan
  • Developer: Nova-box
  • Publisher: Nova-box
  • Release Date: 17/06/2020
  • Price: ¬£15.99 / $16.99
  • Review code provided by Nova-box

INTRODUCING: ACROSS THE GROOVES SWITCH REVIEW

While there are a vast amount of visual novels on the Switch already, Across the Grooves aims to do something different. The game involves modern day Europe and our protagonist, Alice, attempting to uncover a mystery about a record. There are different types of realities that are featured, as well as an awesome soundtrack with beautiful art. What’s not to like?!

FOLLOW ALICE DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE

The story of Across the Grooves involves the main character Alice and her life in Bordeaux that quickly turns from mediocre to a full-fledged mystery. Alice is just a normal woman who works at a bank and is given this record to listen to by her ex-boyfriend. Once she listens to it, she realizes that the life she thought she had with her current fiancé is no longer real. The record allows her to relive her past and change the present timeline at the same time.

Although the beginning is a slow-burn, the game quickly picks up and has you make choices throughout. There are six chapters within the game and each one has you move around Europe as you try to uncover the whereabouts of your ex-boyfriend and the origins of the record. Across the grooves explores the idea of different realities within the world and how Alice’s world changes each time she gives this mysterious record a new listen.

YOUR CHOICES MATTER!

As we all know, visual novels often involve a choice system. However, the choices in Across the Grooves can have large effects on Alice and narrative outcomes as a whole. You make choices based on different conversations and can choose to go to places or speak to people in a certain order.

There is a banner at the top of the screen that will light up depending on the choice you make to the corresponding circle. There are four images here: a Swirl, a Lightning Bolt, a Flower, and a Skull. Each one means something different depending on how you react and answer a question. These can relate to being truthful, evasive, being too quick to answer and more. However, they weren’t very clearly explained and often seemed to not directly help me in making decisions.

There is also the Lexicon, which helps to provide context and insight on the different references to music made throughout the game. I found this to be a nice touch, almost like an encyclopedia on different bands and music throughout the ages. Some of the items provide a great deal of info such as how “Electric Ladyland” was Jimi Hendrix’s third and last studio album along with the year of release and info about the style. The top left lights up with a ping whenever a new reference in the game is made.

HAND-DRAWN BEAUTY

The artwork of Across the Grooves is quite nice to look at as it is all hand-drawn. The colors vary from scene to scene and helped me gain a greater appreciation for the characters. Certain times the colors pop, and other times they seem more flat to relate to what’s occurring. I enjoyed this art style as it lends to a comic approach. I waned to keep playing as well to see how the scenes and character emotions would be drawn and conveyed next.

The audio within Across the Grooves is a mix of several different genres of music. There’s classic, grunge, psychedelic and more. It helps to set the mode for different interactions and conversations as you press through the game. If you are a fan of classical rock, there are also a ton of references that are made throughout the game, which I thought was a nice touch.

LET’S GET TECHNICAL

From a technical standpoint, Across the Grooves is a visual novel that involves user input based on different decisions. Throughout my playthrough, I didn’t face any bugs or framerate issues. I played Across the Grooves in both docked and handheld mode. The experience in both modes was identical to me. I enjoy playing visual novels in bed, so I was glad to see that the performance and game doesn’t suffer in handheld.

WHAT IS ALICE’S FATE?

Across the Grooves has wonderful music and artwork within it. It is a visual novel that isn’t so focused on romance, but more so on uncovering the truth behind a mysterious record that was given to Alice. I enjoy the fact that choices can truly change the outcomes of the game. It makes you think about each decision with much more scrutiny. Across the Grooves offers a ton in the way of replayability, as your actions can affect the playthrough and results. I look forward to going back and making different choices to see how the outcome changes. If you enjoy the hand-drawn art style and the classical rock soundtrack, don’t be afraid to check this out.

PROS

  • Beautiful artwork
  • Replayability
  • Awesome soundtrack
  • A great mystery

CONS

  • No voice-acting
  • Limited gameplay

Verdict
Across the Grooves is a wonderfully drawn visual novel with a mysterious plot that encourages multiple playthroughs.
3.5/5

Leave a Reply