Sumire (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Nayu 20.06.2021 1

Review for Sumire on Nintendo Switch

Single word titles can be a brave choice as it places the focus on one word, yet for Sumire, the choice to shorten the Japanese title Sumire's Sky in the English title worked equally well. It summarizes how alone Sumire felt at the start of her grieving journey with her parents apart and her mother suffering from deep depression. She has pushed away her friends and her schoolmates' offer of compassion, and feels like she is drowning in grief. That is, until she grows a magical plant from a seed which only has one day to live, who encourages Sumire to live in the moment and do all the things she wanted to put off until tomorrow, a sentiment ringing loud and clear from developer and publisher GameTomo.

On learning about the time limit of one whole day, it is easy to assume that the time will fly by and it will be a short game. Thankfully that was not the case and the first playthrough lasted a little over four hours. Many of the mandatory choices can lead to different outcomes making repeated playthroughs desired for all who fall under Sumire's spell. Whenever someone dies often it affects both friends and family alike. Sumire feels alone after losing her grandmother, her parents are dealing with the loss in two distinct ways which have a major impact on Sumire's wellbeing. She may see the sunshine but she doesn't feel the warmth from the rays, or see the hope that her own sadness will pass. Like her title, Sumire is on her own for what feels like an agonising time until that magical moment when a unique seed comes into her life and requires planting. Sumire's dialogue with the plant before it gained the ability to speak spoke volumes of how deep her sorrow runs. Its voice is a surprise to Sumire, who points out how weird it is on more than one occasion, but she agrees to help the plant on its journey because it might give her the one thing she most desires; to see her grandmother again and hear the message her grandmother tried to convey.

Screenshot for Sumire on Nintendo Switch

That is one massive wish to grant, and while a mostly joyful yet bittersweet finish occurred at the end of the review playthrough, it might be possible to get a more melancholic ending depending on the choices Sumire makes on that fateful day. It is not simply choices on where to go or what to do, which is dictated in part by the flower, but moral choices on who to help in their requests. Both animals and humans alike ask for Sumire's help, which helps nurture a sense of being needed amidst her grief. It is down to the individual whether the scarecrow gets protection from the malevolent crows who persistently try and stop Sumire's plan, forcing her to duck and freeze to avoid their wrath, or if the statue who claims it needs no help receives aid in a manner it could not foresee. It will need a steely heart to consistently deny assistance so the achievement of I Hate People can be obtained from helping no one.

Screenshot for Sumire on Nintendo Switch

Each of Sumire's decisions affect both herself and the plant, with an indication if that was 'good' or 'bad' visually signalled once the choice is made. For much of the game it seems that the choices do not matter much other than to make the player feel guilty if they ignore helping others, but that all changes at a dramatic plot twist with a point of no return, that shows both the plant and Sumire in a different light. The picked flower is not entirely all good, its actions are intrinsically linked with Sumire's heart. The moral compass that is within all of us has a physical effect on the botanical companion, leading Sumire to subconsciously do some truly unpleasant things. Thankfully, there is a way to atone for her mistakes, which leads to salvation and important life lessons learned. This is an accurate depiction both of human nature, which usually is compassionate, and also grief, which has its dark moments that are cleverly depicted with a change in both colour and style of graphics.

Screenshot for Sumire on Nintendo Switch

Despite there being moments in the beginning where it felt like doing an action may speed up the passing of Sumire's day, time can be taken in making decisions about what to do. Sumire learns how other people besides her immediate family are affected by her grief; she abandons her friends and other acquaintances who, it turns out, knew her grandmother in ways she could not comprehend or expect, as both animals and humans felt her grandmother's presence which warms Sumire's heart. The world is not perfect by the end of the game, and it is impossible to bring the wise old woman back to life permanently, but Sumire reluctantly accepts goodbyes are a part of life, and it doesn't mean that person or companion has gone forever; she will always see her grandmother in the world.

In addition to the well thought out story, the graphics in Sumire are stunning. Be it the simple and elegant white flowers in the option screen, or the way the scenes transition using colours and motion, not one part of it is ugly. Even the hideous moments with their harsh edges and surprising colour choice have a dark sense of beauty accurately portraying raw and unfettered emotions. The notebook where Sumire records her adventure, which can be useful to check what quests have been accepted, has a charming watercolour style that encompasses the whole game. The text of character words and thoughts varies in style where appropriate which enhances the tone of the tale.

Screenshot for Sumire on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

9/10
Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

The first glimpse of Sumire's soft hues on the title screen indicate the strength of the emotional connection felt from Sumire's story. The messages arising from her adventure are powerful and will resonate with anyone who has suffered grief in any form, as well as help prepare people for how unique death is in its effects. The myriad choices that need making, plus the decent amount of challenges, encourage using the One More Day option once the game ends to this charming must-play title on Nintendo Switch.

Developer

GameTomo

Publisher

Sumire

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

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

This seems super sweet and I love the art style. I'd play it sometime most likely!

( Edited 23.06.2021 15:18 by Sandy Wilson )

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