Author Topic: Sympathy Kiss (Switch) Review Mini  (Read 542 times)

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Offline Shaymin

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Sympathy Kiss (Switch) Review Mini
« on: February 20, 2024, 06:19:44 AM »

This stuff is why I prefer to work from home. That and the hour+ commute.

My non-NWR job loves to crow about the quality of “work-life balance” they provide as an employee perk. Given that I have been able to only get one holiday season off in the last seven and that required eleven days in the hospital, I’m pressing Y to doubt. So I wasn’t sure if I was mentally prepared to review a new Idea Factory-localized romance that’s set in an office environment. Though I’m still working through the last couple of suitors, I’m ready to give it a “meets expectations” on the performance survey.

The heroine of Sympathy Kiss is a design grunt at an app developer in Japan, whose self-named app–which was an early mover in digital news and social networking–was struggling in the face of more modern competition. As such, the heroine is drawn into a team at the company whose job it is to turn the app’s performance around, with the implicit threat of layoffs if they can’t pull it off. In the midst of this, she can build a romance with her (male) teammates or possibly with young, attractive men at a partner company. I did have a hard time making the first choice of the game since it came up incredibly quickly; it felt like I had booted up the game and played for ten minutes before I was asked what “role on the team” I wanted (i.e., which suitor would be the focus of the route). I didn’t really know what I wanted to do with the first choice, so I just went with the first guy on the list and I’m not sure that was the right call.

A lot was made in the prerelease of a few key features: the ability to text with colleagues outside of the suitor, an “emotion select” screen, and the ability to make specific work/life balance selections. The first and last didn’t really provide much beyond some light flavor (at least that I saw), but the “Emotion Select” might be one of the lamer option choices in an otome I’ve played. The options show up as vaguely text message-like emoticons that take up almost the entire screen and usually just offer a binary choice; if the suitor did something dumb in a date situation, it would show the option to be angry (>_<) or embarrassed (~_~) and that would be the extent of the choice. It’s not really used all that much, but might come up later on the last hidden / golden route. I do have to give them credit for accurately portraying office life in a way that works internationally: it was really easy to empathize with the protagonist’s work struggles as I often feel like she did on the job. Off of it, not so much.

This is what the emotion selection looks like docked. It's worse in handheld mode.

The writing is technically proficient; I didn’t identify any egregious spelling or grammar errors in the text. Good to see that IFI has upped their game in this department given what happened in the last work-based romance they localized. The city the game is set in is a clear pastiche of metro Tokyo with the environmental variety to match, while the guys are the usual mix of typically attractive men whose key differences come down to the personalities (the overeager, the brooder, the flirt) in a typical romance novel fashion.

It’s good to see that Sympathy Kiss is strong on the technical end, it just didn’t click with me. If you’re a little more amenable to dealing with people at the office, you’ll be able to get through it quickly and easily. I’m more of the kind who wants to interact with as few people as possible in the run of a day.

Donald Theriault - News Editor, Nintendo World Report / 2016 Nintendo World Champion
Tutorial box out.