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Thirsty Suitors (Switch) Review

by Alex Orona - December 7, 2023, 12:04 pm EST
Total comments: 1


All Style and Little Substance Left Me Thirsty For More

There’s something to be said about bombast. Grandiose. Spectacle. And that’s a lot of what OuterLoop Games has brought to the table with their sophomore game, Thirsty Suitors, a hot new indie game that brings together a Sri Lankan version of the Scott Pilgrim story with turn-based RPG combat and Tony Hawk style skateboarding. It’s a crazy combination of genres that fits together a stylish story of returning home to confront your past. Unfortunately, this merger of genres doesn’t add up cohesively.

In Thirsty Suitors, you play as Jala, a young girl returning home to confront the sins of her past. Of course, since she's been gone, her exes have formed an evil league with the sole purpose of destroying Jala. There’s also her combative family with an overly critical mother and grandmother and an estranged sister on the verge of getting married. There are a lot of challenges for Jala to face, and she’s not necessarily looking forward to them.

From here we go through a cavalcade of people from Jala’s past, usually in the form of turn-based combat. There are a basic attack, special taunts that open up a weakness in your opponents, and special skills. Your skills have affinities like rage or thirst, so giving someone a Rage Taunt could make them weak to rage abilities. Both taunts and skills cost WP, this game's version of mana, but basic attacks recharge some of that so there’s a push and pull to refill your WP before unleashing an onslaught of abilities.

Each special ability comes with a button press sequence for increased damage, reminiscent of Super Mario RPG. There are also super clever versions of summons, where you call in your mom, aunt, or other family members to come in and perform an all-out attack. When deep into a story-based battle, between rounds there will be conversation choices that can either help or hinder the next round but also affect the story itself. These dialogue options are great for exploring Jala’s effect on the story, but it can be confusing because choosing a dialogue option isn’t a one for one exchange. The dialogue option will say one thing, but Jala will voice something completely different, so it’s hard to feel like you have full agency behind Jala’s words and actions.

When not fighting exes or suitors, exploring the world consists of Tony Hawk Pro Skater-style skateboarding segments. When you need to move around the map, it's by doing sick grinds and flip tricks on your skateboard. Also like the Tony Hawk games, everything is grindable or meant for doing crazy flips or running along walls. There’s a combo counter and score counter but it doesn’t really impact too much on world exploration. Later on, there are skateboarding challenges given out but outside of those side quests, skateboarding is generally superfluous.

The third pillar of Thirsty Suitors is quick time event cooking lessons from your mother that act as more of a cultural exchange between generations but also a way for Jala and her mom to match quips with each other. Outside of that, the game acts as a pretty standard visual novel, exploring the city, getting into fights and winding down with touching moments with your father to close out the chapter. Despite the title of Thirsty Suitors, I was surprised at the sheer amount of horniness existing between the characters. There definitely is a lot of unique characterization and giant-sized personalities at play here.

That being said, Thirsty Suitors is a mile wide but an inch deep. While it oozes charisma and charm around every turn, each of its individual parts aren’t crafted particularly well. The combat feels rote. Finding the randomized weakness to taunt so that you can then attack those weaknesses feels slow and plodding. Even when hitting those weaknesses, the damage doesn’t feel significant and fights tend to drag. In a year that gave us similar but snappier combat in Sea of Stars, this felt like a snail's pace comparatively. On the other hand, skateboarding feels super unwieldy. It’s hard to control, and detracts from actual world movement to the point that I would have rather just walked from place to place, and that’s saying a lot coming from someone who loves skateboarding games.

Another major issue I found in Thirsty Suitors is its lack of character development. Jala doesn’t grow throughout the experience and is generally petty throughout. She remains the same and has a deep tendency to blame everyone around her for her issues, and considering dialogue doesn’t match the conversation choices, it feels like you don’t really get a choice in the story. Even the cooking lessons with her mother focus more on the snipes back and forth. I would rather have had a cultural discussion about dating rather than Jala’s journey to blame everyone but herself. Suitor after suitor felt like walking red flags that rarely ever grew past their initial introduction. There are even romance options to get back together with them, but after the amount of basic personality flaws provided at the offset, I never felt inclined to pursue any of them. The game does a clear job of showing you their flaws with few redeeming qualities.

Despite my qualms with the game, there’s no question how much style it exudes. Jala doesn’t walk down stairs; she wall flips down them, and before each battle she summersaults out of her jacket in preparation. These touches add a unique flare to a rather disappointing game. Gameplay mechanics all exist disjointedly as if they were all part of different games–all with a style of their own, but less fun to engage with. I would’ve better enjoyed any one of these systems had they been more fully fleshed out. As well, the game is certainly visually impressive but lacks depth to its mechanics and character growth. I’m incredibly happy to see more cultural representation in games, but I wanted more from the story than what Thirsty Suitors was giving me. It’s an outlandish take on the Scott Pilgrim story but lacks the same kind of fun.


  • Kickin bombastic soundtrack
  • Stylish animations and world
  • Lack of character growth
  • Mechanics feel disjointed
  • Skateboarding is unruly, hard to control and unnecessary


Dlloyd82David Lloyd, Reviews EditorDecember 07, 2023

I don’t want to be that guy, but I’ve finished this game and wanted to make sure anyone who reads this gets a second opinion before passing on it. Now, let me start by saying that if Alex didn’t like aspects of the game, that’s perfectly valid. However, I noticed several facts about the game in this review that are incorrect. I’d recommend reading either of these reviews to get a full suite of opinions:

IGN - https://www.ign.com/articles/thirsty-suitors-review
The Guardian - https://www.theguardian.com/games/2023/nov/01/thirsty-suitors-emotional-combat-thats-equal-parts-funny-horny-and-heartfelt

My take, this is an amazing game that takes inspiration from Yakuza, Persona and Thousand Year Door. Jala’s responses are controlled by the player so the story can go quite differently than what was described here. If you got GamePass, I highly recommend playing it. If your only option is Switch, I’d still recommend it for a fun 8-10 hour experience.

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Game Profile

Genre Adventure

Worldwide Releases

na: Thirsty Suitors
Release Nov 02, 2023
PublisherAnnapurna Interactive

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