The Kids We Were (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Nayu 27.01.2022

Review for The Kids We Were on Nintendo Switch

Set in a small town comprising of several streets with features like a bathhouse, a school, a sweet shop, and both a temple and a cemetery, The Kids We Were follows young Minato as he stumbles across a mystery while travelling with his cautious mother and hyperactive little sister. It is up to him to travel back in time within the same town, solve some mysteries, and change his family's future, which at first looks bleak and tragic in this Avex award winning title.

It takes just a few minutes play to fall in love with The Kids We Were's block style graphics and the main characters, and a good six to eight hours to complete Minato's tale. There is no doubt that Minato loves his little sister, as even when she can be extra hyper and slightly annoying, he would do anything for her, and that includes agreeing to journey back to the past to try and change the present so that she can maybe be healthy once more. The premise seems simple enough, but as expected it is far more complex than that. Minato has just three days to solve the curious seven mysteries in his notebook, a feat that feels near impossible when his first day passes so quickly.

Screenshot for The Kids We Were on Nintendo Switch

Thankfully while in the story there is a time limit, there is no such limit in the actual gameplay. Time will pass, but only once set events occur, so there is no pressure to race through it all; however at times the moving speed of Minato feels on the slow side so speed is relative. Through talking with people around him, Minato learns more about his current situation, which often feels bleak due to the overhanging time limit and high stakes. He is fascinated by how the town changed to suit the past: this interest is passed onto the player by having era specific items to collect that are found by investigating everywhere.

It is possible to get every item, even if they are not found by search the streets or shrine. At a certain point the items can be bought with money that Minato finds in each area. Handily, it is indicated how many coins are left to be found in each area, although the exact locations have to be found in the good old-fashioned way of manually searching every nook and cranny. The friends Minato makes may not be able to search for coins or items, but they valuable knowledge that they are happy to share once their own needs are met. Thanks to the situation of one of the girls Minato meets, no one seems too bothered that he does not have his own house to stay in. He resorts to lies to hide his true identity, which he gets called out on in due course, but because his companions have issues they need help with too, they forgive him when the truth is revealed.

Screenshot for The Kids We Were on Nintendo Switch

There is a lot of going back and forth to the different areas within the town, either to hunt down specific people or find an item. The bright and cheerful graphics offset the intense situations that unfold and really tug on emotions. The diversity of aspects of life is surprising; these include eccentric personalities, domestic violence, natural disasters, inheriting a family business and more. There is one character who pops up in specific places and who explains how certain aspects of the game work which is useful for those who only play occasionally and may forget various mechanics. Another exists just so different tracks in the soundtrack can be listened to which is a fun extra feature. It would have been fun to be able to go into all the buildings found on the street rather than just the story driven ones.

Screenshot for The Kids We Were on Nintendo Switch

The menu makes it easy to see which mysteries need to be investigated and the game automatically updates them once new information is found. No single mystery is easy to figure out, it usually involves multiple meetings with a variety of people and waiting for random events to occur before they are solved. Just because there are no battles to be fought it does not mean that Minato is never in danger. There are times when his existence is threatened and the precious future that he is trying to change is a hair width away from crumbling apart forever. In fact, the normal end is not necessarily the best one.

It is only thanks to this being a complete edition version of The Kids We Were that the true ending can be accessed, but only if certain choices are made and it is not necessarily obvious that there is more to the story when the first ending is reached, so some players may not get the happy ever after ending if they do not know that it exists. Separate to the best ending is a bonus story that is told from Mirai's point of view: it is not known if this is available if only the normal ending is played, though.

Screenshot for The Kids We Were on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Aside from the relatively minor issues of movement, and how the various endings are discovered, The Kids We Were is a captivating nostalgic trip for those who lived in the '80s regardless of if that was spent in Japan, and a worthy education for those born in later years. The finely balanced mix of humour and seriousness of the issues explored, coupled with the cute style makes it feel at home on Nintendo Switch. Having collectables provide a reason to replay it for completionists, and the intricacy of the plot with the highly likeable characters make replaying it a strong possibility for others just to experience the heartfelt story once more.

Developer

GAGEX

Publisher

GAGEX

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

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

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