8-bit Adv Steins;Gate (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Az Elias 30.01.2019 2

Review for 8-bit Adv Steins;Gate on Nintendo Switch

In tandem with the launch of Steins;Gate Elite, the updated version of the classic visual novel featuring animated cut-scenes, both the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4 releases come with bonus games of their own. While PS4 owners will be getting spin-off Steins;Gate: Linear Bounded Phenogram, with its lengthy separate stories for each main character set in different timelines, buyers of the Switch version will receive NES-like adventure 8-bit Adv Steins;Gate, a retelling of the original story of sorts, just condensed into a classic style straight out of the 80s. Has the Switch come out of the spin-off bonus divergence second best?

Given Linear Bounded Phenogram presents multiple visual novel side stories never before released in the West that rack up (supposedly) about 30 hours, and that this 8-bit re-imagining of Steins;Gate can be walked through in about an hour or so, the easy answer to the above question is "yes."

Sadly, Switch purchasers of Steins;Gate Elite have got the short end of the stick in this frustrating bonus content battle, and will give fans and potential newcomers to the series a pretty hard time in deciding which version to go for. Opt for the portable factor of the Switch release, or go with the PS4 edition to receive the unreleased side stories?

If it makes the decision any easier, it has since been announced that a three-game pack containing Steins;Gate 0, Steins;Gate: Darling of Loving Vows, and Steins;Gate: Linear Bounded Phenogram will launch in March on Nintendo Switch in Japan. With any luck, this will make its way to Western shores at some point, so if the Switch is the ideal choice to own Steins;Gate Elite, but the PS4 bonus game has been causing a bit of a rethink, this news might sway things back in the Switch version's favour. Fingers crossed the bundle pack gets localised.

It is a nostalgic little game that has been crafted in 8-bit Adv Steins;Gate, and amusing in itself how the world of Akihabara and its various locations from the visual novel have been squeezed down into pixelated format. However, this is a title that has been condensed, condensed, and then condensed again into the simplest, smallest possible retelling of the events of Steins;Gate imaginable, and - as mentioned earlier - won't last more than a couple of hours at best. The fact there is no option to save current progress, being designed like the NES games of the past to finish in one sitting, is a good indicator of its length.

Screenshot for 8-bit Adv Steins;Gate on Nintendo Switch

Remember those classic adventure games, such as Shadowgate? This is how 8-bit Adv Steins;Gate works, minus any of the clicking on visual objects. Main character Okabe can move around the top-down map of Akihabara to different single-screen places, and then choose from a list of commands that usually involve talking to whoever is there, investigating the area for items of interest, or using whatever item is necessary in opportune moments.

There is hardly any item management of sorts, so rarely are times of critical thinking required - just pretty much going through each and every option and trying each one until something works. This is the general rule of thumb for progress. It isn't always clear where to head to next, so there will be plenty of walking around, entering each available location on the map, running through the talk, investigate and use options, then repeating at another area. Trial and error rears its head a few too many times; however, for the most part, this is an incredibly easy endeavour whose main difficulty is finding the correct place to be at. Furthermore, there are no crucial player choices that affect outcomes or endings to be made.

Only the very pivotal points of the plot are brought up and quickly brushed over, so there is no chance to get to know any of these characters properly or observe character development of any kind. You really have to have played the original game - or experience Steins;Gate Elite, which this retro title is released with - before diving in with this. Whilst the story points are glossed over, it is still full of major spoilers that will ruin your time with the main adventure if trying this out before it. Don't do it. This 8-bit retelling is designed for fans that have already played the visual novel from beginning to end. You don't want this cheap little thing devastating the real story.

Screenshot for 8-bit Adv Steins;Gate on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

4/10
Rated 4 out of 10

Subpar

Given this should not be played until after experiencing the full visual novel, 8-bit Adv Steins;Gate immediately finds itself in a difficult position, as it fails to enhance the original in any shape or form. This extremely condensed version of the story adds nothing of value, and only serves as a nostalgic method of revisiting the universe in a retro format...which still doesn't capture even a part of what makes the characters and its world so special. It's just as well this is a freebie with Steins;Gate Elite orders, because it would be hard to argue a case for parting money with for it. Whatever you do, don't play this before the visual novel. No one deserves to have the real adventure spoiled by this pointless, but harmless, retro abridged version of events.

Developer

Mages. Inc.

Publisher

5pb

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  4/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

That's such a shame - it looked really cool. I didn't realise it was just a cheap freebie included as a "bonus"... at least the special pack is confirmed as coming to Switch, and I highly doubt it'll get overlooked for a Western release. Everything seems to be coming across nowadays, thankfully!

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

The frustrating thing is that it has that "cheap freebie" vibe, yet the PS4 gets a full-on 30-hour visual novel as its "freebie"! The difference is astounding in what each version is getting.

I can still appreciate some effort has gone into 8-bit Adv to get the original squashed down into this format, but it is so barebones, repetitive and over in a flash. I would have much preferred Linear Bounded Phenogram over this...and hope it does make its way over.

I think you're right that it will, especially given it's already in English on PS4, of course. But Switch owners will probably have to wait for that three-game bundle in a few months' time instead...which is fine by me, since I never played that Darling of Loving Vows, either.

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