Quarantine Circular is the latest text-heavy adventure release from Bithell Games on Nintendo Switch. Learn more about this gem in our Quarantine Circular review!
Quarantine Circular is part of the “Bithell Shorts” games that creator Mike Bithell aims to release which place a heavy focus on the overall narrative of the story and setting, as well as on the push and pull of the characters you will get to interact with. Having played the superb Subsurface Circular on Nintendo Switch I was definitely looking forward to playing Quarantine Circular, so I was happily surprised when the game was stealth released on Nintendo’s hybrid console… on a Saturday!
You step into the shoes of one Marc Pérez, Technical Support, and you are paired with Mr. Chat, an artificial intelligence, to help you get going as you take on your main objective: establish a line of communication with a non-human being. Since the non-human specimen does not speak your language, step one is going to be introducing yourself as the AI finds a way to translate back to you what the “unknown entity” (dubbed Gabriel) has to say. This will be a rather direct approach and process with some nice interactions along the way.
As you chat with Gabriel, and with the other characters who will join in on the chat, you will unlock focus points, which are keywords that you can use to obtain additional information here and there as needed. These focus points will be available to you until they are of no further use, only to be replaced with new focus points so that you can repeat the cycle. Focus points are very important and must be used to move the story forward, as they will open up new interactions with the characters at play, as well as unlocking extra focus points for you to carry on with the cycle.
The previous game in the “Bithell Shorts” series, Subsurface Circular, took place entirely on a moving train, and Quarantine Circular keeps up with the theme of “one location, all the time” by setting up all interactions on the deck of a large boat. This new setting certainly helps to set it apart from Subsurface Circular since it feels more colorful and alive, in a different way, just from the openness of the location and the surface of the boat receiving a ton of lighting from all over the place.
The game makes great use of the Nintendo Switch’s HD rumble, vibrating at a slow and steady pace when Gabriel speaks so that you can feel what it must be like to talk to a non-human being who speaks a language you’ve never before, and who is roughly four times your size. This one, as was the case for Subsurface Circular, also looks great while playing both on your TV screen and the Nintendo Switch’s screen when you take it into Portable or Tabletop mode.
Quarantine Circular’s sneak release was a pleasant surprise since, after playing the previous Bithell Short, I was more than up for playing a new entry in this sub-series. The characters you’ll meet feel like real human (and non-human) beings, with realistic interactions and reactions that will keep you going until the end. You’re looking at a couple of hours or so to finish the game, and once you’re done, you can do it all over again after activating the developer commentary track to learn more about the game and its development. I had a great time playing this one, and I look forward to the next Bithell Short!
This Quarantine Circular review is based on a Nintendo Switch copy provided by Bithell Games.