[Beyond PlayStation] Arcade Spirits Review

by EdEN, Owner

Arcade Spirits from PQube and Fiction Factory Games is a new romantic visual novel on Nintendo Switch with an arcade twist. Learn more in our Arcade Spirits review!

Arcade Spirits from PQubePQube and Fiction Factory GamesFiction Factory Games is a romantic visual novel set in a world in which the 1983 video game market crash never happened. You know which one I’m talking about, the one with the video game based on that one alien who wanted to phone home at its center. Because of this, arcades still reign supreme in the game’s 20XX setting, and you end up getting a job at the local arcade Funplex. Your first step will be to create your avatar, which will be present during cutscenes and all interactions in Arcade Spirits. You can select first and last name, pronoun (He, She, They), hair style, skin tone, hair color, eye color, and clothing color – from a wide variety of options. Confirm your selections, and you’ll be ready to go!

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As is the case with visual novels, you’re going to be doing a ton of reading for Arcade Spirits. You can set to manually move the conversation forward by pressing the A button over and over again, or you can sit down and relax by activating the automatic function so that you can take on the game’s story and interact as needed. Other than arcades still being very much alive and well, the rest of the game’s world is not that different from our reality. There are no flying cars, smartphones are a thing, there are some instances of A.I. support as personal assistances, etc.

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As for the cast of characters you’ll interact with, there’s seven of them for you to get to know better! There’s Juniper, your character’s best from since high school, and your current roommate who pays half of the rent. Gavin, who’s in charge of the accounting for the Funplex. Percy, a retro gaming aficionado with a hearth of gold. Cosplayer Ashley, who takes on the role of Pinky, the Funplex Flamingo. Naomi, who makes sure that everything is running in tip-top shape at the Funplex. Teo is an active participant in Spotlight Stage, as you can probably tell from his dancing outfit. And then there’s Queenbee, the fierce Fist of Discomfort champion with a personality to match.

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With the help of the Identity Identifier System – a.k.a IRIS – you will be able to track your current relationship status with each of these characters, as well as learn more about your own personality traits as you play the game. IRIS will be able to sort your actions and responses based on five Identity Identifiers: Quirky, Steady, Kindly, Gutsy, and Basically. You will see the colorful icons for each of these traits as you interact with other characters during your time with Arcade Spirits, letting you know the type of response you’re about to select. You could also select to remove the indicators if you want to. Oh, and don’t worry about not being able to identify them by their color, since each one is also presented as a unique shape so that those with colorblindness can spot them.

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Your purchase of Arcade Spirits on Nintendo Switch also includes a section aptly titled Documentary, in which you will get a bit of info into the arcade scene, and how you can build your own MAME cabinet for some arcade-style fun! It’s not going to be a step-by-step guide, but it will certainly be enough to give you an idea of what you can do and to see if a MAME arcade cabinet is the right thing for you. The game also makes it clear that the companies mentioned are merely suggestions used to present some resources for hobbyists, and are not an endorsement or them or present that the dev or publisher have been compensated in any way. The Documentary section is split into five categories, so that you can have a good overview of things. These include “What is a home arcade cabinet?”, “Arcade hardware!”, “Game software!”, “No cabinet? No problem!”, and “Putting it all together!”

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Arcade Spirits is a fun visual novel on Nintendo Switch that plays off the interesting “what if?” of the 1983 video game market crash never happening. It features a colorful cast of characters that stand out with their distinct personalities and solid voice acting, IRIS included. Arcade Spirits is out now on Nintendo Switch for $19.99.

This Arcade Spirits review is based on a Nintendo Switch copy provided by PQubePQube.

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