Onsen Master from Whitethorn Games and Waking Oni Games is a colorful hot spring customer management experience on Nintendo Switch. Check our Onsen Master review!
Onsen Master from Whitethorn Games and Waking Oni Games is a colorful hot spring customer management experience on Nintendo Switch. You’ll be tasked with helping to revitalize the hot springs on the fantasy island of Izajima. Since your potential customers will be visiting with hopes of making the most of the healing properties of each hot spring, you must be ready to help them by mixing and matching a variety of ingredients that can aid in assisting them to get exactly what they need.
If you had to sum up Onsen Master in a sentence, it would probably be Overcooked meets Spirited Away. A dark cloud has cast itself upon the island, affecting its inhabitants. To make things worse, mischievous Yokai have been affecting the hot springs in Izajima. And did I mention that the great Onsen Master, keeper of the hot springs and healer of ailments, has mysteriously vanished? As Mu, the Onsen Master’s apprentice, it’s up to you to restore the balance as you try to uncover what is really going on… as well as locate the Onsen Master before it’s too late!
You can enjoy Onsen Master either in its Story Mode or skip the story and take on the Arcade Mode. When playing in Arcade Mode, you’ll be able to select from one of the six hot springs to test your skills as you help customers. You’ll start off with human customers, but you’ll soon start to help Yokai customers as well! I suggest you first take on the Story Mode so that you can learn all the basics while getting a better feel for each of the hot springs so that you don’t go into the whole thing blind.
To better get the hang of things, the game will start you off with a tutorial segment, presented as an old lesson presented to Mu by the great Onsen Master. You’ll learn about how taking a look at each customer will allow you to see which ingredient they need to heal. Just go and collect the right ingredient by using the left analog stick to control Mu, pick it up by pressing and holding down the ZL or ZR buttons, and bring it to the mixing station to prepare the right mix for the job.
Once the ingredient is there, you’ll need to use the right analog stick and move it around in a circular pattern to prepare the mix. Once the mix has been completed, grab it and drop it in the bath to get it ready for your customer. Once that’s done, go and interact with the customer to let it know that the bath is ready to be enjoyed! Go to the right customer and press and hold down the ZL or ZR buttons to grab their hand and lead them towards the bath. When things get a bit hectic, you can try and grab two customers at once to speed things up! You can also take advantage of this by taking more than one ingredient with you to the mixing station and from there to the bath.
Each bath will have a maximum capacity to consider, and new customers won’t get into a bath if it’s already packed. You also can’t just drop new customers into the bath as soon as other customers leave. Customers using a bath means that the tub will end up dirty after the whole process, so you’ll first need to clean it up. Walk up to the bath and press the A button to jump into the tub to clean it up with the right analog stick. Once that’s taken care of, prepare the bath for the next customer – or customers. You might also need to take care of the mess outside of the tub, which is done by pressing and holding down the Y button and then using the left analog stick to move Mu around.
Once the tutorial segment is over, your real journey will begin! You’ll notice that instead of the single tub available during the tutorial, the level will now have four tubs that you’ll need to manage. This will give you an idea of how hectic things can get when customers start to arrive in larger groups, demanding different ingredients for their ailments. You’ll have to rush to mix the right ingredients for each bath, taking pairs of customers towards the tub – when possible – so that you can fill each one up and only have to worry about a single clean up routine.
Some customers won’t be as patient and will start to rush towards a tub as soon as they enter the onsen… which is actually not a bad thing! Not having to lead every single customer to a tub can help to make it easier to multitask, but it can also ruin your plans if you have something else in mind. Just pay attention to what ingredient each customer needs, clean up each tub as needed – as well as the area outside of it – and keep the timer in the upper left corner in mind so that you can aim for a three-star rating for each level!
At the end of each set of levels, you’ll have to take on a boss fight against a giant Yokai. These play out the same as regular levels, except that since the giant boss Yokai is feeling sick, it might end up charging at you and attack. A giant Yokai will also make a mess as it gets in and out of a tub. On top of this, you won’t be able to fit any other customers into a tub that has a giant Yokai in it, so you’ll need to rush to prepare another one for your loyal customer as you hope that one of them doesn’t decide to just rush in and jump into the wrong tub!
Onsen Master is a fun hot springs management experience with a dash of the supernatural thrown in for good measure. Its colorful presentation and charming soundtrack make for an attractive combo, although the game’s resolution does fall a bit when playing in Portable or Tabletop Mode – nothing major, but something to consider. Offering a Story Mode where you will go on a quest to find out what happened to the titular Onsen Master, as well as an Arcade Mode that allows you to jump right into the action, this is a good option for some entertaining single-player and multiplayer gaming sessions. And as you progress through the game’s Story Mode, you’ll unlock new information that will be added to the Codex section, where you can learn more about each of the human characters and Yokai you’ll meet during your journey! Onsen Master is out on Nintendo Switch with a $14.99 asking price.
This Onsen Master review is based on a Nintendo Switch copy provided by Whitethorn Games.