Close to the Sun is a mystery-driven game that is perfect for those with that particular BioShock craving. With enthralling mysteries afoot and gritty environmentals to explore, Close to the Sun for Nintendo Switch translates well for gamers-on-the-go but that doesn't mean the experience is without flaw.
For those that may not know, Close to the Sun is a first-person horror adventure that is anything but sunshine and roses. The team over at Storm in a Teacup took what fans loved from other franchises like BioShock and made it their own with a journalistic twist.
This alternative reality transports players back into the start of the early 20th century to become a Rose Archer, a journalist hellbent on rescuing her sister Ada. As a huge Nikola Telsa stan, the time period and tension witnessed with him and Thomas Edison was a super nerdy treat and one that really provided a wonderful backdrop to the dark and very steampunk-driven atmosphere seen within Close to the Sun.
Though the game is a bit of a slow burn, the narrative does pick up once the player docks in their quest for finding the sea cruiser Helios following a letter from Ada. Given that this is a horror game, obviously a warm sisterly reunion wasn't in the cards and now a mystery has unfolded. Though the slow burn can be tough to draw in the player at first, the payoff is definite. There's a natural pacing that makes Close to the Sun seem realistic and enthralling, something that those that are fond of reading novels will instantly connect with.
There are also a ton of puzzles. I mean, a ton. I'm not good with puzzles, I'll never be good at puzzles. You'd think all my years with games like Tomb Raider I'd be better at them, but you'd be wrong. Pair puzzles with the added pressure of "if I don't do this correctly, I'm going to die" and you have a recipe for me wanting to throw my Switch across the room. That's a portable console drawback: the rage can now affect an entire system (kidding).
But with the intricacies of the gameplay itself and the dark graphics with details that shouldn't be missed, how did this experience translate over to the Nintendo Switch? For transparency, I played this game on the Nintendo Switch Lite and overall didn't see a whole lot of differences from its PC counterpart. Mechanically, the game ran pretty smoothly though there were peppered framerate issues that did take the immersion out a little bit.
My biggest gripe about how Close to the Sun handled on the Switch was its camera angles, especially in tight-knit areas where I needed the character to go through a door or a small space. To be fair, I ran into this same issue on PC though the smaller screen of the Switch made this mechanical hiccup even more noticeable because the margin of error is drastically reduced.
Though many games see a graphics scale when ported to the Nintendo Switch, it wasn't as downgraded as I would have thought. The details were still very much experienced and the overall feel of each area explored very much retained its morbid beauty. From the shadow effects and the grime to the buzz of a flickering bug trap, visually the game was comparable to its platform counterparts where it counted when realistically looking at the fact that this experience is being experienced on a much smaller screen. Though that screen size difference was noticeable, it didn't take away from the almost claustrophobic feeling that this game intentionally inspires in players.
Overall, Close to the Sun is a visually stunning game and a wonderful addition to the long list of successful Nintendo Switch. From a game standpoint, it's a thrilling experience that any BioShock fan needs to add to their library. From a mechanic Switch standpoint, it's obvious that this port was handled with care and wasn't just a sloppy project with the hopes of additional exposure. Close to the Sun is definitely worth picking up and being able to take this experience on the go has a value to it that I think many gamers can appreciate.
Our Score: 7 out of 10