Project Zero: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Sandy Kirchner-Wilson 14.06.2023

Review for Project Zero: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse on Nintendo Switch

Sometimes a game gets hyped up for a Western release only to never appear, and Project Zero 4/Fatal Frame 4 was one of them. Originally touted for a release outside of Japan back in 2008, this horror game went unlocalised after being advertised in multiple locations. Being released for Wii, players who wanted to play the original game couldn't due to the region locking of the hardware. However, in 2023, Koei Tecmo has finally revisited this title and brought an enhanced port to all current gen game consoles. How does it fare on Nintendo Switch?

Now available officially in English, Western players can finally experience the fourth entry in this coloured franchise. Project Zero: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse is a dark and intriguing tale about a group of girls and a mysterious force bringing them back to Ragetsu island. People are turning up dead, hands up at their faces as though frozen in fright. The main cast is drawn to the island by this, a startling repeat of the island's disaster from their childhoods that they had escaped.

However, upon arriving at the island, it becomes startlingly clear there are supernatural forces at work and that perhaps these events are happening again to claim the rest of the victims. It's up to the timid crew to gather their wits and grab a camera obscura to battle the angry ghosts that wander the halls.

Screenshot for Project Zero: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse on Nintendo Switch

Anyone who has picked up a Project Zero game before will be immediately tuned into the control scheme at play in this remaster. It mirrors the Maiden of Blackwater setup, allowing for a greater degree of control than the original non-pointer-based controls of its Wii incarnation. For a comparison, point characters are controlled similarly to Resident Evil 4: over-the-shoulder camera with tank-like controls and a quick turn for reactionary situations.

This works well mostly, but occasionally when trying to point the torch around with the right stick, it's possible to break the player orientation - perhaps this is a holdover from when the torch was controlled by tilting a Wii Remote. Movement itself is slow, closer to the earlier games in the series than this title's sequel. It's rarely aggravating, but it would be nice to have "run" mean run.

Combat is focused on ghost photography and sees players hop into a viewfinder mode. Aiming the camera obscura and manoeuvring the character are key to surviving these spectral battles. Luckily, the controls here don't go weird at any point, allowing this slow-paced combat to unfold.

Screenshot for Project Zero: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse on Nintendo Switch

In order to increase the fear factor, players have to let ghosts get close and enter their attack animation to deal the most damage, catching a coveted "Zero shot" or "Fatal frame", which pushes the ghost back and deals maximum damage, as well as earning the most points (more on them later). This is frantic and stressful, especially with multiple ghosts, but it's pitched perfectly and feels great.

As with most Project Zero titles, there is a light RPG element where players can find new powers to enhance the camera's ghost fighting ability, and earn points or stones to upgrade said powers and base stats. This plays largely simple, with some stones being rewards for players brave enough to hunt down items and others being rewards for performing well across the game.

These upgrades are the only way players can reduce the difficulty curve of the game and so making use of the system is highly recommended. The only other collectable is the reward points, which are earned by fighting ghosts and progressing in the story. They are used to unlock costumes and accessories that can be equipped at any save point.

Screenshot for Project Zero: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse on Nintendo Switch

The visual design has the classic look of the series with slightly anime looking, yet realistically rendered characters, with differing levels of frilly dresses giving them a distinctive charm. There are lots of costumes and accessories available, and they unlock as various criteria are met. The ghosts themselves are terrifying as usual and have a lot of designs mostly dependent on where they are encountered, keeping things interesting.

Environments throughout the game are detailed and feature some neat little details such as interactive curtains, incidental animations and decent texture detail. However, on close scrutiny, the underlying Wii game rears its head. The overall atmosphere from the visual side is great and keeps tension amped up for the entire adventure. The audio quality is sublime and the atmospheric flourishes, voicework and sound effects are excellent. This is also backed up by a great set of musical tracks.

Screenshot for Project Zero: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

A fantastic conversion and localisation of a game horror fans have been waiting for for years. Project Zero: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse is an amazing horror title with an intriguing story, great visuals and a penchant for being terrifying. It works well on Switch, and, outside of a couple of small control issues, is a worthwhile and recommendable experience for horror game enthusiasts.

Also known as

Fatal Frame: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse


Koei Tecmo


Koei Tecmo





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 Out now   Australian release date Out now   


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