Game Review: STEINS;GATE: My Darling Embrace (Nintendo Switch)

The STEINS;GATE franchise continues to expand worldwide and courtesy of SPIKE CHUNSOFT the spin-off side-story STEINS;GATE: My Darling Emrbace finally makes its way to the west. Sadly it is only a digital release, much like the Nintendo Switch release of STEINS;GATE 0; but that is a small price to pay to experience an unusual selection of stories from the STEINS;GATE universe. How does this release compare to previous entieis? Well let’s take a look and find out.

Title: STEINS;GATE: My Darling Embrace
Publisher: Spike Chunsoft
Developer: 5pb
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Resolution: 1920 X 1080
Audio: Japanese
Subtitles: English (White)
Local Players: 1
Online Players: N/A
Install: YES (2.9 GB)

Our View:

Developed by 5pb and published digitally by Spike Chunsoft within Europe and North America, STEINS;GATE: My Darling Embrace is the spin-off STEINS;GATE game that further explores Rintaro Okabe and his relationships with his friends, or in turn the members of the gadget laboratory, through varying scenarios brought about as a result of a new gadget that Kurisu Makise has invented.

Knowledge of STEINS;GATE, whether it be through the original visual novel game or anime series, is required in order to enjoy STEINS;GATE: My Darling Embrace as the story takes place shortly after Kurisu Makise joins the group and when Okabe still refers to himself as Houhin Kyoma. As with previously released STEINS;GATE projects STEINS;GATE: My Darling Embrace is a visual novel game at its core, so you’ll have plenty of text to read, and as such different choices made throughout this experience will result in a different scenario and ending. In total seven different scenarios and six endings exist, with each tailored to a different character within STEINS;GATE – such as Kurisu Makise, Mayuri Shiina, Suzuha Amane, Faris NyanNyan, Luka Urushibara and Moeka Kiryu – and each lasting around four hours in length.

These different scenarios are achieved depending on when and how you send D-Mail during the first chapter; as an example not sending the D-Mail will see you explore the common Kurisu storyline while sending the D-Mail straight away will see you on Moeka’s scenario. Other than this crucial point of the game STEINS;GATE: My Darling Embrace is a linear story but occasionally you will receive text messages from other characters that can be interacted with. Text messages received will offer up multi-choice responses and depending on how the player responds will depend on the answers received. At first I expected this to have some impact on the scenario (or route) that would take place; but it instead it just brings some additional functionality into the game.

Regardless each scenario within STEINS;GATE: My Darling Embrace begins in the same way; with Rintaro Okabe using the D-Mail and phonewave to transport his mind three days into the past and in turn becoming unaware of what is transpiring within his lab. Its quickly explained that Okabe insisted for additional gadgets be made so that they could be sold to fund their activities within the lab and these additional devices are eventually developed and sold; but one such device creates problems for those involved.

This device, and the turning point within STEINS;GATE: My Darling Embrace, is the introduction of “My Darling, Idiot”, a watch-like device that is designed to be worn by couples in order for them to be better acquainted with one another. The punch-line to this device is that those who wear it must be within 1 metre of each other and if the devices detects anger it will induce an electrical shock to those wearing the device. It’s here where the first scenario (out of the seven possibilities) begins as Okabe and Kurisu accidentally wear, and become entrapped, within the devices and as such must become better acquainted with themselves in order to escape the situation that they have landed themselves in.

This storyline at least sees Okabe and Kurisu do everything they can to be respectable and familiar with each other; but for Okabe – who at this point in the story still acts like the deluded Houhin kyoma and insists on calling Kurisu, Christina – it is a difficult feat to overcome. Naturally personalities clash but during this timeframe we learn more about Kurisu’s personality as well as Okabe mindset; something which neither STEINS;GATE game has managed to display other than when needed.

Amusingly this is just only one portion of this particular story; as before being entrapped with Kurisu, Okabe demanded Daru to develop a new gadget that would display a video message across analog signals within Akihabara but during its creation Daru accidentally used Kurisu’s hard drive which had memory data stored from her own gadget. This memory data, which is a reference to Kurisu’s own work in America as well as the Amadeus Project within STEINS;GATE 0, turns dreams created from a headset device into video form. The realisation that Kurisu’s dreams could be shown to those within the area causes a desperate search for the device which has gone missing.

The ending to this scenario is just as comical and abrupt as the beginning of it; with Kirusu’s dreams being broadcast across a small number of screens in the area that depict her potential interest in Rintaro Okabe. It’s a fun scenario and further highlights the characters personality; but alas this is just one of many scenarios found within STEINS;GATE: My Darling Embrace. The other scenarios, of which occur depending on when Okabe uses the D-Mail in an attempt to remove the gadget on his wrist, see various activities and scenarios brought about. For instance Moeka’s storyline sees the lab members as a band while Mayuri’s storyline sees Okabe and Mayuri act more like couple.

The different scenarios found within STEINS;GATE: My Darling Embrace obviously put STEINS;GATE into a different type of genre and offers something completely different to previous games while using the same cast of characters. It’s a collection of short spin-off storylines that further refine the characters and their personalities while remaining true to their origins of being scientists, hackers and gadget lab members. Those who enjoyed STEINS;GATE and the characters will enjoy what this game has to offer; but it’s not without its own problems.

Just like with STEINS;GATE 0 the localisation quality control seems lacking with text occasionally being broken across multiple lines (i.e. line break) and as well as minor inconsistencies with how text is display (i.e. missing a word or letter) thus making it difficult to read as well as not; which is bizarre considering that it is a visual novel. Other minor oversights include character voices being, by default, considerably lower than past games.

Outside of the games different scenarios, and its minor localisation issues, the game features multiple extras that can be enjoyed upon completion of a single route. In this case all different conversations, music, movies and artwork seen during your experience will be unlocked to view at any time. More importantly additional information about the world of STEINS;GATE can be found through the games in-game glossary. Naturally all of this content is part of the game; but it is still great to explore freely at any point – as the music and artwork is especially great to check out.

STEINS;GATE: My Darling Embrace is a fun little side-game that allows fans to enjoy more stories with their favourite characters; but at the same time I found the game to be lacking when compared to the thrilling and exhilarating stories found within STEINS GATE and STEINS;GATE 0. This game is certainly one for the fans; but if it’s an ever-developing story with the possibility of World War III that you are looking for then you’ll want to look elsewhere. Fun short stories with slice of life elements are what is in store for you here.

Score: review-stars-3

STEINS;GATE: My Darling Embrace is now available digitally for the Nintendo Switch (from the Nintendo eShop), the PlayStation 4 (from the PlayStation Store) and Windows PC (via Steam).

About Scott Emsen
Scott is the Founder and Executive Editor of AnimeBlurayUK but in the past he has worked at ZOMGPlay, Rice Digital and Funstock and was once a Community Moderator for the Nokia N-Gage forums. Based in the UK, he loves anything related to Games & Anime and in In his spare time you'll mostly find him playing on one of his many gaming consoles; namely the PS Vita, PS4 or Xbox One.

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