to have fun 13 Guardians: Aegis Rim It is embracing confusion. The game, which was originally launched in 2020 on PS4, is hard to describe, with gameplay that spans multiple genres and a non-linear storyline that includes everything from time travel to android doppelgängers and it gets more and more weird from there. It demands a lot of gamers, but the result is one of my favorite sci-fi stories from years – and it’s no surprise that it’s a perfect fit for the Switch, with a new version for the Nintendo tablet launching today.
For a more detailed summary, here’s my review since when 13 guards for the first time. But the short version is this: the game is a mixture of a visual novel and a real-time strategy game, which follows more than a dozen characters through events spanning several centuries. It is a story that loves to deceive you. At first, it feels like a simple classic mechanic versus kaiju, as the RTS parts of the game involve high school students driving powerful mechanisms to battle an invading alien force. These sequences are simple but satisfying as you move characters across a grid to destroy increasingly devious creatures, and unlock new abilities along the way.
Mostly, though 13 guards It is a visual novel that follows the stories of about a dozen Japanese high school students across a range of different eras, beginning in the 1980s. They run as short side-scrolling ads where you can do some exploring, but for the most part, you’re reading/listening to the dialogue. Definitely requires some patience. But the most interesting thing about the story is its structure. At almost any given moment, you can choose from a range of different character stories, allowing you to follow the path that seems most interesting to you. The nonlinearity made me feel more invested in the story, as if I was investigating different leads to see exactly what was going on. 13 guards It also offers a cool feature called Thought Cloud, which is basically similar to video game stock, except for ideas, adding a sense of dynamism to conversations.
13 guards He also does a great job of slowly revealing himself. While it initially sounds like the story of the conquest of Kaiju, with a bit of teenage drama thrown in well, it eventually turns into a sprawling and complex novel about, among other things, the future of the entire human race. I wouldn’t spoil any of the big finds, but it probably took 10 hours before I had any idea what the game really was. The way his breadcrumbs presents a strange and intriguing narrative helped me get through this early feeling of being completely lost.
This was all true before, of course, but this structure of small sized rings also makes it 13 guards Perfect Switch game. I’ve retaliated for the first few hours now, and I’ve spent most of that time in bed, squeezing in a few more shifts before bed. Each episode lasts 20-30 minutes as well, which makes it easy to play in short intervals. It’s a lot like reading a good book – just one book where you have to pause every few chapters to play a quick game of chess. The game is identical on the Switch otherwise, but the portability is perfect for the game, making it easy to choose between enjoying the story or getting immersed in it.
This means that 13 guards It still retains some of its jagged edges on the adapter. As fascinating as the story can be, it also has a lot of requirements; You have to really believe that those hours and hours of sheer confusion will pay off. And while the game has beautiful 2D graphics – something the developer Vanillaware is known for – it has some, let’s say, questionable character designs that can spoil the experience.
However, if you can get past that, it’s worth paying for that initial feeling of bewilderment. Because while confusion can often be a bad thing, here it is that makes putting the story together more satisfying. 13 guards cram a lot of high-level concepts into one experience – including, among many other things, hard dayLike repetition, time-traveling robots, a talking cat with a magic gun – but somehow in a way that makes sense in the end. And now you can solve the puzzle from almost anywhere.
13 Guardians: Aegis Rim Available now on Nintendo Switch and PS4.