[Nintendo Switch] Girl Genius: Adventures in Castle Heterodyne Review

by EdEN, Owner

Girl Genius: Adventures in Castle Heterodyne from Rain Games is a 3D game based on the graphic novel series. Learn more in our Girl Genius: Adventures in Castle Heterodyne review!


Girl Genius: Adventures in Castle Heterodyne from Rain Games is a 3D action game based on the graphic novel series. If you’re new to it, Girl Genius is the Hugo Award-winning series from Phil Foglio and Kaja Foglio, which was started back in 2001. It follows the story of one Agatha Heterodyne as she journeys through a Victorian-style alternate-history world with a healthy dose of steampunk. Kaja Foglio describes the setting as gaslamp fantasy since, along with mechanical creations, there are also biological creations – known as constructs – that are part of this universe. Rain Games previously brought us 2D puzzle platformer Teslagrad, the 3D action game World to the West, and sequel Teslagrad 2, so I was definitely up for checking out this new release.

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This video game adventure will have you exploring the titular Castle Heterodyne, which, as its name suggests, is the home of our heroine Agatha Heterodyne. It’s now her chance to prove herself in the eyes of the usurpers and the evil Wulfenbach Empire to bring the Castle to its former glory. Oh, and there’s a crazy AI currently controlling the castle, so you’re going to have to work on taking care of the obstacles and hazards you’ll encounter during your journey. It’s an adventure in a world of magic, science, and romance that will certainly grab your attention! The castle is very much a mechanical entity that you need to heal if you want to claim your spot at the top.


Rain Games took the project to Kickstarter back in 2020, seeking $200,000 in funding to be able to work on the development of the game for an eventual release on PC and Nintendo Switch. Once the crowdfunding campaign was over, and thanks to the support of almost 4,700 backers, they secured over $250,000 in funding. While the team had initially aimed for a 2022 release, the game was eventually released on Steam in 2023, and it’s now landed on Nintendo’s console, with a physical edition launching today and Kickstarter backers that pledged for it getting their Kickstarter Nintendo Switch physical edition very soon.

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You can play through Girl Genius: Adventures in Castle Heterodyne by choosing one of four difficulty options: Story Mode, Easy, Normal, and Hard. Story Mode is a good option for those of you who are here for the game’s story and to explore the castle since enemies won’t hurt you. Playing on Easy will be a bit more challenging, but enemies will be weaker and won’t deal much damage. Normal offers the standard experience, with enemies that will pose a threat, but without overwhelming players. And if you want to bump up the challenge, there’s always Hard, in which enemies are sturdier, and they will certainly pack a punch!


You’ll have Agatha walking around each area with the left analog stick, looking around, and aiming with the right analog stick. The B button is for evading incoming attacks, and you can also run if you press and hold down the button. Your weapon is mapped to the R button, while your tool is mapped to the L button. These include a grapple and a lantern. There’s also a handy radial menu you can bring up by pressing the ZR button. You can interact with objects and characters by pressing the A button.

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The D-Pad is also available to quickly change between tools by pressing left and right, and you can press down to summon the aid of Dingbot. Dingbot is a very useful companion since you can summon it to get to some areas that Agatha can’t initially reach. You’ll switch between Agatha and Dingbot as needed once Dingbot enters the scene. Press and hold down on the D-Pad to recall Dingbot and carry out as Agatha. Once you add a drill to Dingbot, it will be able to dig on soft soil. And if you need to heal your wounds, just press up on the D-Pad to use a potion… as long as you have one on you!


By destroying objects and defeating enemies, you’ll be able to collect resources. Resources can be spent on upgrades and other interactions in the game. You can use resources to boost your wrench so that the final hit of a combo has a wider damage radius and then improve the damage dealt with by the wrench. Once you unlock the healing potion, you can spend resources to increase the number of charges for using the potion, as well as boost the number of hearts you heal when you drink it. You can also unlock the Girl Genius comics in-game by spending some resources, thanks to the help from InkyPen.

If you want to 100% Girl Genius: Adventures in Castle Heterodyne, then you should know this one features an in-game achievement system for you to work on. There are over 30 objectives for you to consider during your time with this colorful adventure. As to not spoil things too much, I’ll only mention a handful of them. You can unlock achievements by defeating enemies such as Nyar spiders, fencing clanks, and chicken clanks. You can also get achievements for commanding the castle to release a trap, locating all allies at Castle Heterodyne, locating all lore segments, and beating the game in any difficulty setting. Oh, and there’s also an achievement for repairing the coffee machine!

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Girl Genius: Adventures in Castle Heterodyne is a 3D game based on the graphic novel series. As Agatha Heterodyne, you’ll end up exploring the titular castle after claiming your right to it. Unfortunately, an AI is running the castle itself, and you must heal the structure to be able to control the traps and hazards that keep you from progressing further. By spending some of your hard-earned resources, you’ll be able to boost and upgrade the items at your disposal, and you’ll also be able to obtain the graphic novel series in-game in digital format. Girl Genius: Adventures in Castle Heterodyne is out on Nintendo Switch with a $29.99 price tag.

Disclaimer
This Girl Genius: Adventures in Castle Heterodyne review is based on a Nintendo Switch copy provided by Rain Games.

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