AI: Somnium Files (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Albert Lichi 25.09.2019

Review for AI: Somnium Files on Nintendo Switch

With the Zero Escape trilogy being more or less "complete," visual novel maestro Kotaro Uchikoshi has moved on to his next wild ride. Looking for intrigue and mystery? Comedy and romance? How about science fiction and horror? AI: The Somnium Files does it all with an unbelievably slick and high quality production value. Just where does this cyberpunk murder-mystery lead? Cubed3 investigates AI: The Somnium Files for the Nintendo Switch.

Spike Chunsoft has been becoming a de-facto publisher for some of the best visual novel adventure games of this generation. It is a genre that has been gaining traction in the west, which can be attributed to the success of the Telltale adventure series such as The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us. While the likes of 999 did enjoy its cult following, which would gradually grow and introduce the west into more verbose visual novels, the Danganronpa series really got things going. Kotaro Uchikoshi, the creator of the Zero Escape trilogy, would meld aspects of what gamers loved about his previous works, with a semblance of production value seen in many western story driven games like Life is Strange. Things like fully voiced 3D character models with cinematic cut-scenes, and even third-person over-the-shoulder controlled sequences.

Kaname Date is a smooth-talking detective and his partner is his cybernetic eyeball that has an artificial intelligence within. Life is grand with a smart-ass eyeball, with x-ray vision capabilities, and the ability to project an augmented reality sexy babe to interface with. His current murder case is giving him some weird vibes, and is potentially connected to his past, of which he has no memory of. Somewhere along the way there is a link between a popular internet idol, the local Yakuza, and even a maid café, as the murders pile up, and eyeballs go missing. Just how can detective Date uncover the truth? By diving into people's subconscious and extracting information from the abstract dreams within, Inception style.

Screenshot for AI: Somnium Files on Nintendo Switch

Discussing the finer qualities of AI: The Somnium Files without spoiling its major draw, the story, is unavoidable. Without ruining the surprises, fans of Uchikoshi's work will be very pleased. This multifaceted murder mystery can go in many different shocking directions, and no matter what, philosophical questions are raised about the nature of love and the human condition. This is dense with layered concepts, which have double, and sometimes even triple meanings. The writing is never pretentious, often having a very easy to digest honesty about it so that most gamers (and viewers too) can understand every aspect of the story and what the characters refer to. Almost all dialogue is fully voice acted, and every line delivery is aced by a flawless English voice cast.

Just how can secrets of the cyclops killer be solved by "psyncing" into the dreams of suspects? At first when diving into anyone's subconscious, nothing will make any sense. The rules are always different from one subject to another, but they do sort of run on some kind of logic. Trying to figure the logic is in many ways the real meat of the psync, otherwise it can seem like the designers are playing a prank on the user. Psyncing is also where all story branches diverge from, which makes the most sense, since this is the one area where gameplay is most reliant on player input and choices. Sometimes going far in a specific branch may lead to a dead end, but will also re-open when certain other paths are explored. At first this design choice is perplexing, but in the end everything comes together and it makes perfect sense. The pace and overall drama of the narrative is gripping, and towards the end the suspense can veer on being so intense to becoming almost unwatchable in the best way possible. This is Uchikoshi's wildest ride yet.

There is no other visual novel or story driven adventure game with a presentation like The Somnium Files; a cinematic experience that does not forgo the videogame medium, at the expense of trying to appeal to non-gamers. While it is mostly polished with its slick interface, on the Nintendo Switch there is noticeable frame rate issues that pop up during some animated sequences, and sometimes there is a slight pause in the action to load animations or transitions. Given this is not the kind of experience that really does not require the smoothest of animation or inputs (except for the very rare QTE segments) that's forgivable in an otherwise spotless package.

Screenshot for AI: Somnium Files on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

AI: The Somnium Files is a masterfully crafted narrative that makes the most out of the adventure genre. Choices that matter, and result in shocking outcomes, and the unpredictable story has a fleshed-out cast of characters. While the Switch version does have some technical short comings that can be overlooked, anyone looking for a genre-bending mystery will be sucked in to Kotaro Uchikoshi's latest and greatest opus.


Spike Chunsoft


Spike Chunsoft


Visual Novel



C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date None   North America release date None   Japan release date None   Australian release date None   


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