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Close to the Sun review for Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One


Platform: Nintendo Switch
Also on: Xbox One, PS4, PC
Publisher: Wired Productions
Developer: Storm in a Teacup
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: M

Under the right circumstances, I could imagine Close to the Sun being an absolutely incredible experience. It’s a Bioshock-influenced walking simulator with some genuinely creepy horror elements: if that doesn’t get you at least a little interested, I don’t know what would.

Unfortunately, playing Close to the Sun on the Switch is decidedly not the right circumstances. In fact, I feel quite confident that playing Close to the Sun on the Switch is about as terrible a way to play it as I can possibly imagine.

I’ll be blunt: this is a bad game, entirely because the Switch isn’t nearly powerful enough to pull off what the game wants it to do. Don’t get me wrong, I love my Switch, it’s my go-to platform, and I’ll never complain about it getting too many games. But there’s no way this experience could possibly be classified as enjoyable.

The graphics are a very big part of this. Right off the bat, from the very first scene, you can see the game struggling to render everything that’s meant to be on screen. That first scene takes place in a very small room, and even then, things look a little blurry, and if you try and move at all it gets even worse. From there, as the game opens up, it’s all downhill. Everything looks jagged and indistinct. The game can barely show you what’s right in front of you, and if it’s in the distance, forget it — it’ll pop into view quite abruptly, and you’ll notice the sudden appearance of massive objects where there were none before.

This could maybe be salvaged if Close to the Sun at least controlled well, but it doesn’t. By default, you move along at a crawl; even once you figure out how to run (because this game is lousy about telling you how to do anything), you’ll still feel like you’re only on a brisk walk. Given the game occasionally asks you to run for your life, you can see why this is a bad thing. Even picking up objects and trying to rotate them is next-to-impossible — which, again, is something the game asks of you occasionally — since they move as if they’re stuck in molasses.

It’s all especially frustrating because I could imagine Close to the Sun being a great game. You can tell that, on the right platform, the Bioshock/art deco influences would look absolutely stunning, and would help make the creepy story — about a woman trying to rescue her sister off a ship from the clutches of a mad Tesla — all the more riveting.

But again, the Switch is not the right platform for Close to the Sun. The right platform would be one that could actually show what’s going on without it feeling like your console was about to burst into flames and melt down. If you do have one such non-Switch platform, you may be inclined to check this out, but if the Switch is your only option, steer very clear of Close to the Sun.

Wired Productions provided us with a Close to the Sun Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: D+