- Developer: SOMI
- Publisher: PLAYISM
- Release Date: 7/11/2020
- Price: £4.49 / $4.99
- Review code provided by PLAYISM
Introducing – REPLICA Nintendo Switch Review
Who doesn’t secretly love peeking behind the curtain of someone else’s private life? REPLICA puts you in the position to do just this: your character is a prisoner of a corrupt Homeland Security who’s forced to prove another prisoner’s guilt. Armed with nothing but the teen’s cellphone, you must rifle through his suspicious texts, posts, and files to figure out the truth.
This creepy puzzler originated on mobile and PC, which is fitting since the entire thing takes place on a vertical phone screen. Despite the fact that ⅔ of the screen ends up being dedicated to a drab prison background, the Switch is a fitting console for this title. After all, it’s the only one besides mobile that lets you touch the phone as if it were a real device. With an intriguing story to keep you tapping, there’s a lot to unpack in this little game.
Cracking the Codes
From the get-go, you’re faced with nothing but a lock screen, some scant clues, and your own wits. Once you figure out the password, you learn the grave situation: the teen whose phone you hold is suspected of being involved in a terrorist attack. Using a government-approved To-Do app, you’ll begin compiling basic information on Dickie and his loved ones. This is done by simply selecting suspicious information with the cursor – and thankfully, there’s no penalty for selecting anything that’s irrelevant.
Each find comes with a satisfying “notification” with a ding and a rumble, which does get slightly annoying later as you are buzzing through the game at lightspeed for a third or tenth time to achieve a new ending. (Thankfully, the tinkling piano music throughout won’t offend or annoy in the least. You can also change the background tune in Dickie’s music app.)
There are plenty of conclusions to discover, each more mind-boggling than the last. I admit, a few of the later endings were so difficult to find that I resorted to a guide just to see how they played out. Those who earn these difficult endings of their own merit will surely feel rewarded by what they learn, even though the scenes themselves also take place on the tiny phone screen.
Prisoner or Patriot?
A single “playthrough” to get one ending doesn’t take long, especially if you already know what to look for in the beginning. The tasks remain the same, and the endings depend on how you react to certain situations.
For example, your captors will call you frequently; you must answer these calls. Meantime, they absolutely forbid you from contacting anybody else. Disobeying either of these commands won’t end well… unless you can find a way to do so without getting caught. Repeat playthroughs are the only way to truly “beat” this game by getting all endings, but unfortunately there isn’t much difference in how events play out – only a few minor details change.
Between calls and frantic texts from Dickie’s loved ones, you’ll be working out password codes for various locked apps. There’s a healthy amount of hints – no hand-holding after the first few tasks, just a few nudges from the captors via text. Aside from the tasks, there isn’t really anything to do on the phone, but it is a joy to discover aspects of different endings through your own curiosity and detective work. Achievements will mark your progress, and there are a few cheeky secret ones as well.
Apps and Downs
I mentioned the touch screen earlier, which is an immersive feature for handheld players. Although it is functional, it feels far from a real phone. You are warned early on that pinching to zoom is “unavailable,” and while you can tap around, it can take a try or two to get it to work. I spent most of my time using the Joy-Cons and Pro Controller, which allows you to move the thumb-print cursor around using the joystick. The “X” button also helpfully takes you back to the home screen.
New text messages come in constantly – mostly from your captor as you progress – and as I said before, this can get a bit overwhelming at times. However, if you do take the time to read everything, the attention to detail in the story shows. Plus, you’ll likely discover some clues along the way. For example, there’s a news article in the Facebook-esque app explaining the nature of the terrorist event, which is interesting on its own – but critical readers can use the details within to figure out how to get in touch with the journalist who wrote it!
When it’s all said and done, Dickie’s fate lies in your hands. Not to mention, your own future is on the line – as the game won’t let you forget that you are also a hapless prisoner. That is, unless you decide to become a true Patriot and help Homeland Security out in earnest…
Puzzles in REPLICA rely on the player’s ability to read between the lines. One cannot help but feel rewarded, even with the shorter endings. Plus, there is the dark enjoyment we get from sifting through someone else’s private information. For the tiny price tag, it’s a no-brainer for puzzle fans who want something unique to play in short bursts.
Dial 1 for the verdict. Dial 2 for the Nintendo eShop. Para Español, oprima numero 3.
- Ample challenge
- Satisfying touch/press feedback
- Several endings to unlock
- Small vertical screen to play on
- Little difference in repeat playthroughs