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The Sinking City review for Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One


Platform: Nintendo Switch
Also on: PC, Xbox One, PS4
Publisher: Frogwares
Developer: Frogwares
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: M

It’s weird how a couple of months can make a difference between liking a game and not liking a game. Take The Sinking City, for example. When I first played it on PS4, I was mostly indifferent to it. I liked that it reminded me of Frogwares’ Sherlock series, but generally there wasn’t anything that stood out — positive or negative — in my mind.

Here we are half a year later, and I…well, I wouldn’t say I love it, but I feel an odd amount of fondness for it. Every time I come across another part that reminds me of my first play-through, my brain goes, “Oh yeah, this part.” I wouldn’t think I’d have much nostalgia for a game I played half a year ago — and particularly one I didn’t have very strong feelings for at the time — and yet, for whatever reason, I kind of do.

If anything, in fact, this version of The Sinking City is slightly worse. The load times are much more noticeable here, for one thing. There aren’t as many of them as you might expect for an open-world game — which is a pretty impressive feat, when you think about it — but when they do pop up, they take their time.

On top of that, the eponymous city feels even emptier than before. There seems to be even fewer people living in the town of Oakmont in this Switch version than there were in the PS4 version, and those that are here are even more indifferent to your presence than in other versions. (There’s no piped-in complaints when you run into someone, for example.) Given that one of my major complaints about the PS4 version was how uninhabited and sterile the city felt, that should be a big strike against The Sinking City on the Switch.

Despite all those complaints, however, I feel nothing but affection for this game. I’m willing to excuse a lot more — in large part, I suspect, because I enjoy handheld games a lot more. To me, it’s still a novelty to get an open-world game in the palm of your hand, which is what you get here. And even with the flaws mentioned above, the game isn’t a huge step down from what you get elsewhere: it plays pretty much the same, which means if you like Frogwares’ brand of mystery-action (see also: all their Sherlock games), you now have the added advantage of being able to take it on the go.

Of course, if you don’t like those games, or even if you didn’t like The Sinking City on other platforms, that doesn’t mean a whole lot — a middling game is still a middling game, whether you’re playing it at home or taking it with you. As such, I’d say pretty much the same thing about the game now that it’s on the Switch as I did back when it came out on PS4: if you’re into slightly janky detective games, you’re going to love The Sinking City (and as someone who does love those games, I mean that with all the affection in the world).

Frogwares provided us with a Sinking City Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: B