[REVIEW] Arcade Spirits – Nintendo Switch

Written by Frank Sloan
  • Developer: Fiction Factory Games
  • Publisher: Pqube
  • Release Date: 01/05/2020
  • Price:  £19.99 / $19.99
  • Review code provided by Pqube

INTRODUCING: ARCADE SPIRITS SWITCH REVIEW

Have you ever wandered into an Arcade and just got lost in all of the noise? The sounds, bleeps, blurps, button presses, screams of children and adults alike? Well if you have, you’re in for a treat with Arcade Spirits. This romantic visual novel is an awesome title for the genre, and is definitely a unique take. If you ever wondered what it was like to work at an arcade, Arcade Spirits on the Nintendo Switch allows you to live out that dream.

WELCOME TO FUNPLEX ARCADE!

The story of Arcade Spirits starts out with you losing your job and finding a new one at an arcade called Funplex. This occurs after your roommate convinces you to download a helpful app. Throughout the game, you will interact with the app’s avatar, Iris, and you will meet a wide cast of diverse characters. Many of these characters are able to be romanced in some way if desired. The game’s story is quite linear in fashion, and you move through the visual novel seamlessly from one chapter to the next. You are able to interact with certain individuals or make choices when asked, but overall the story stays on one path.

WHO’S THE BEST GAMER AROUND?

The gameplay of Arcade Spirits is pretty much just what you would expect from a romantic visual novel. You answer dialogue choices and read along with the main story. However, you have quite a fair number of options to pick from – usually five in total. The app explains how these are rated, and as you progress, you can view the progress of your character. As you move along, your traits will increase & reflect the choices you have made. You can become a comedian, be serious, generic, or a mix of many.

Arcade Spirits’ game length is about 6-8 hours of time depending on speed. You are able to make choices that can reflect in interactions and how decisions are made later. You don’t have to romance anyone if you don’t want to, but the option is there indeed. There are very limited customization options for your character. You are able to pick your first name and last name, as well as what pronoun you are (I thought this was unique). From here, you can also decide on a hairstyle and color for the clothing you wear. I would’ve personally liked to see this go a bit deeper.

VIDEO GAME SOUNDS GALORE!

The art of Arcade Spirits and overall style is quite magical. It definitely gives a nostalgic vibe, but the characters are drawn in such a lovable way. Each and every character was drawn with a great level of detail to make them feel quite unique from one another. It also helps in determining exactly who you want your romance to be with. The backgrounds of many of the different scenes can be a bit drab in comparison to the beautifully-drawn characters, which makes them stand out all the more.

The soundtrack that is played throughout Arcade Spirits is great. It has some chiptune and very video-game-esque tracks. It also has nice ambient music that can be quite relaxing to the ears, too. The soundtrack is very memorable and definitely helps to keep you engrossed throughout the playthrough. Its nice that the soundtrack isn’t overpowering and can allow you to read dialogue in a peaceful manner.

ZAP THOSE BUGS!

I didn’t notice any glitches, bugs, or stutters while playing through Arcade Spirits. It was well made with the intent of giving top-notch writing to the reader. The visual fidelity of Arcade Spirits isn’t lacking and there wasn’t any visual discrepancy that I could see when playing handheld or docked.

I played this visual novel both docked and in handheld curled up in bed before heading to sleep. I did notice that in handheld mode, the volume was noticeably lower and even at max output, it was still quite hard to hear. Myself and others are hoping this will be fixed in the future. The soundtrack is so lovely and deserves to be heard everywhere!

FIND YOUR GAMING PARTNER!

Arcade Spirits is a romantic visual novel, which is already a niche genre. However, it takes a different approach that is not often seen. It involves gaming as the focus of the narrative and provides for many references and nostalgia-trips. This can sometimes be overbearing, but overall the game is quite fun and light in atmosphere. Arcade Spirits is tailored for multiple playthroughs and your choices can affect situations within the game. Yet, there really is no wrong answer. I definitely recommend Arcade Spirits on the Nintendo Switch to fans of visual novels and arcade gaming alike.

PROS

  • Beautiful artwork and style
  • Well-written
  • Great soundtrack
  • Awesome characters to interact with

CONS

  • Voice-acting is limited
  • Limited customization options available
  • Game’s length

Verdict
Arcade Spirits is a great homage to arcade gaming, and is an excellent romantic visual novel to pass the time with.
4/5

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