Developed By: TopHat Games, Suzaku Published By: Eastasiasoft Categories: Horror, Adventure Release Date: 01.07.21
What do you get when you mix an Asian culture inspired horror game with an adventure game with busty main characters? You get SENSE – A Cyberpunk Ghost Story.
I feel things need to be discussed before the review proper. SENSE seems to have garnered some controversy over it’s character designs and inclusion of a transgender character. First off, I in no way support the harassments the developers. However, on the other side of the culture war, people will blindly purchasing the game regardless of quality, purely to spite people, which I also do not support and makes me put this whole controversy into question. Nothing in the game is overly egregious. The Switch is home to softcore porn games by this same publisher, but the one with a big boobed anime girl is what makes people collectively lose their shit?
SENSE to me is mostly a mediocre adventure game. Like many in the genre, you’re going to walk around like a chicken with no head figuring out what to do. To make this issue grander, SENSE likes to make it so you cannot interact with certain items until it decides it wants you to. So you’ll look at something, it won’t do anything, but after an event, you can go back to to finally grab the item. This means a lot of unnecessary backtracking. At points, I was running between the same two rooms half a dozen times and I just felt like I was wasting my time. All that aside, the game is never cyptic about what is needed or what needs to be done. The game has plenty of bad ends, some funny like just going home in the intro, some not so funny. Those ones being after you play for a bit and make a minor mistake, which with limited saves is painful to get. The menus are quite the pain in the neck to go through. Press up on the right stick or a shoulder button, then slowly move through tabs or items, sometimes you won’t even know if a tab is highlighted.
What’s an adventure game without a plot though? The game starts very loud and bright, colorful. You’re on your way to the bar for your first date. Your cybernetic eyes start acting up with a cool set of effects, and you need to head to the bathroom. Upon leaving, you end up a place not where you were before, a creepy, abandoned, haunted apartment complex. It’s not the most creative start to a game, but it works just as well as anything.
Now, what I think the game does remarkably well is the horror aspects. SENSE is a creepy game. The bad ends are gruesome. The electronic ghosts reminiscent of Richard’s ghost in Silent Hill 4 are incredibly unnerving. The game is dark, maybe too dark at times, but sets a great atmosphere. The game exceeds at setting a good horror mood, and to be honest, I didn’t really expect it when I started the game. Like plenty of other horror games, the game has limited hard saves. This doesn’t quite meld well with the adventure game aspects like sudden bad ends, but the game does give quick saves as well, so it isn’t too bad.
SENSE is unfortunately not worth the hype or drama it garnered. It’s for the most part not very fun. It runs choppy on the Switch and feels like it revels in wasting the player’s time. Hidden in the flaws is an admirable effort in the world of horror games though, which if you were going to play it, I’d play it for that alone. But people buying the game just to spite a loud minority are getting taken advantage of.
Buy Now: $19.99
*Game Download Code supplied for review purposes