Robotics;Notes Elite Switch Review

Do you want to build a robot?

Off the back of perhaps the greatest visual novel ever Steins;Gate, 5pb made the 3rd in the Science Adventure series: Robotics;Notes. Unfortunately much like the one that started it all; Chaos;Head, it never saw the light of day in the West. Never fear for Spike Chunsoft is here serving up a double dose of Robotics;Notes goodness with both Elite (a slightly enhanced version of the original) and DaSH (a brand new adventure that we will be reviewing shortly).

I bet millions of guys wish AR apps could put everyone in cat maid outfits.

So here we are finally able to experience the strange goings on in Tanegashima island as the high school’s robot club attempts to build a giant robot. It’s set 10 years after the true end of Steins;Gate and you do bump into one returning character all grown up. You play or read mostly as the fighting game obsessed Kaito Yashio (Kai) who’s completely uninterested in the Robot Club and actually quite a douche about helping out in any way other than physical presence whilst overly optimistic, robot obsessed Akiho Senomiya tries fulfill her older sister’s dream of building a life sized ‘Gunvarrel’ anime robot.

Apparently Gunvarrel was so incredible no one dared make another robot anime.

There are two main plots driving the story forwards, the giant robot and robot clubs survival and a massive conspiracy. Honestly both had me eagerly playing through to see what happens next as I became attached to the quirky southern islanders and intrigued by the spiraling conspiracy. The once mighty and great Robot Club is now just a shell of its former self so Akiho and Kai have to befriend your usual visual novel/RPG crew of quirky personalities with nowhere they belong. Consisting of your overly fair share of geniuses and individuals with personality defects, they are high schoolers building a giant robot after all. There’s one character in particular that had me actually laughing over and over with her perverted fantasies and general quirkiness.

Doesn’t everyone?

It all starts very slowly and similar to a school based anime without the comedy until a very strange robotic? girl turns up for a minute without actually meeting anyone just to peak your interest then back to slice of Robot Club life, don’t worry though because once you get through the beginning you get comedy, intrigue, the whole shabang as you uncover more mysteries and conspiracies before really solving anything at all. A lot is your typical coming of age story for your eccentric group as they come to terms with themselves, family issues, hopes and dreams, being a millionaire genius perverted shut in who’s in search of their mum that went missing under unbelievable circumstances, you know the usual. All of the 5 endings and some chapter endings will definitely tug at your heart strings.

How omnious.

Interestingly you get small slices from all sorts of characters perspectives which really builds the world and helps you to feel a connection to the story. Towards the end poop gets real and things get serious, Robotics;Notes has an incredible story that is every bit as life or death as Steins;Gate only with a longer build up.

There’s many mysteries to solve.

The story branches based on your replies to not Twitter (Twipo) on your not Android (PhoneDroid) in a similar way to Steins;Gate with text messages only slightly less coherent as there aren’t actual conversations and people don’t reply until later when you check again and wonder what they’re talking about. The tweeps are a great incite into the characters and the world as you see what people are like and some gossipy internet news. ZL or ZR calls up your phone when you’re Kai and it’s worth checking every time some time skips.

So rude.

You can easily accidentally skip chapters (called phases in game) as after chapter 5, the game branches, or doesn’t, it’s more just you can skip time, for instance when first playing I skipped chapter 6 & 7 so you might want to look up a guide if you don’t want to Pulp Fiction the order. However if you give nice, helpful, sometimes a little harsh but true and honest answers you’ll likely unlock all the chapters in the correct order anyway, but do put in a locked save at the end of chapter 5 or you can skip back to it with the daily records function in game.

The daily records is handy for unlocking all the chapters.

The graphics are a mix of old school and new school with characters being 3D models that sway around in front of you and backgrounds being the classic 2D visual novel set pieces. The result looks fantastic though it’s still missing the animation of most of the action. 

There’s a few drawn screens that look amazing.

The soundtrack gives off Steins;Gate vibes creating a familiar and fitting feel packed together with emotive Japanese only voice acting that helps to bring the cast to life.

Occasionally you’ll have some button inputs, though you’re given plenty of time for them.

Especially with the PhoneDroid interface it’s a shame and quite surprising there’s no touch screen controls as Robotics;Notes originally launched on the PSVita. It does have a pretty cool motion sensor mode when looking around using an AR app called IRUO though. 

Your PhoneDroid’s view though you only really use Twipo and IRUO.

Robotics;Notes might start out as a mild mannered coming of age story about an unlikely group of country bumpkins coming together to build a robot with a splash of conspiracy thrown in for good measure but give it time and BAM it’ll hit you right in the feels. Just as you think you’re recovering BAM right in the kisser and suddenly you can’t turn away without finding out the conclusion to this incredible story. It has great value for money as it took me 40 hours to complete with the text often on auto scroll. If you’re a fan of Steins;Gate or visual novels in general you owe it to yourself to experience the genius third chapter in the Science Adventure series that is: Robotics;Notes.

There’s some sections where you travel to locations and search with the AR for markers.

A huge thank you to Spike Chunsoft for providing the review code, Robotics;Notes Elite and Robotics;Notes DaSH are available now on the Nintendo eShop for £31.49/€34.99/$34.99 and physically as a double pack providing unbeatable value.

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