Obakeidoro Review – Nintendo Switch

Developed By: Free Style Games

Published By: Free Style Games

Reviewed By: Alex Laybourne

Thank you so much to Free Style Games for providing a review code

Horror for the Whole Family

Nintendo has long been known for being the home of family-friendly games. Mario, Yoshi, Kirby, the list is long and certainly predominantly kid-friendly. Sure, the GameCube, Wii and Wii U had their smattering of PEGI 16 games like Resident Evil, Call of Duty and who can forget Bayonetta, but they were the outliers when looking at the history of Nintendo Games.

Then along came the Switch, and with it came a dark suite of games. Everything from Outlast to the soon to be released Paper Dolls. You have Layers of Fear, Darkwood, Death Mark and even Dark Souls on the system, pushing it into an edgier territory and giving fans of a broader spectrum of games something to get excited about. We’ve even got The Witcher 3 coming to the Switch for crying out loud!

It was only a matter of time before a cute, family-friendly horror game came along to grace the Nintendo Switch. On the surface, that is exactly what Obakeidoro seems to be, but what about when you start peeling back the layers? What does Obakeidoro have to offer? Keep reading to find out.

Do You Dare Take on the Boogeyrun?

Monsters are real, they exist in our world. The good thing is, they only come out at night. The bad thing is, if you are out after dark, they are going to come for you, and they are unrelenting in their quest.

There is not much more to the story than that. It’s a small little explanation given for why two siblings and an anthropomorphic bunny rabbit would be out playing a giant game of cops and robbers with the things that go bump in the night.

It’s the perfect amount of backstory for the game. It sets the scene that Obakeidoro, or Boogeyrun in English, is a game played by spirits which is becoming more popular among humans also.

Obakeidoro Nintendo Switch

Catch Me If You Can

Obakeidoro falls into the category of survival games on the Nintendo Switch like Friday the 13th and Dead by Daylight (launching soon). It sees you play in three-minute rounds taking control of either a human character or a monster.

Depending on which side you choose, the goal is to either capture or to evade. It’s that simple.

Let Out Your Inner Monster

The game starts with Patches, the default monster and all-around cute looking creature. The more you play, the more XP and gold you build up. As you advance through the ranks you unlock new monsters and a few new maps.

As the Monster your sole aim is to capture the three humans and place them in a cage located in the center of the map. You can move around, jump and grab the humans. It’s simple to control the monster yet so entertaining.

Each time you catch a human they are dumped into the holding cage. In order to win the game, however you need to catch all three before one of the other players release the switches on the cage to set everybody free.

While you cannot be killed, each member of the human team carries a lantern which will stun you if you are caught in its beam.

As you play each round you earn gold points for catching humans and avoiding their lantern’s beam. Bonuses are given for actions such as completing the game in a certain amount of time or completing a game without any breakouts.

Playing as Humans

There are three human characters you can play as. The two starting characters, Alisa and Alex are twins and the only actual humans. The third character who you can unlock is the cuddly toy rabbit that belongs to Alisa.

As a Human, you play in a team of three and your objective is to avoid capture and free those that have been captured to win the game. You’re armed with a lantern that can be used just once (It’s recharged each time you are caught and then freed). You can also crouch, which extinguishes our light so you can hide.

Don’t think you can hide the whole time though. The monster has ghostly helpers that will find you if you do and call the monster right over to your spot.

Obakeidoro Nintendo Switch - Humans

Quick-Fire Rounds Perfect for Filling Time

Because, the rounds only last three minutes (less if all humans are captured), it is the perfect game to simply pick up and play. Whether you’re waiting for the bus, riding the subway or on your lunch break, any time is a great time to play.

The gameplay is super fun and addictive and the cute design really offers something different from the rest of the genre. You will get drawn into that ‘just one more round’ mentality chasing down the next ranking, so you can see how the next monster plays.

Ranks, Badges, and Unlockables

As I mentioned, the game comes with a bunch of unlockable content. This is only earned through playing the game and rising through the ranks. Even then, you need to play the game well to have earned enough gold to get the items you have unlocked.

There is a nice and varied selection of monsters that you can unlock in the game, and while the basic principle remains the same, there are subtle differences that make certain characters better on certain maps.

If I had one gripe about the game, it would be the lack of human characters. There are 5 base monsters to unlock and a few duplicate monsters in their ‘dark’ form. Yet the humans only have Alisa, Alex and Googly the Rabbit. It would have been nice to have more variety to choose from, but maybe that will come with a future update.  

There are also badges that you can collect while playing, both for humans and monsters. These are not only collectibles for reaching different milestones, but they give upgrades such as giving your character a speed boost.

Obakeidoro Nintendo Switch - Monster Select

Offline, Online and Local Play Make for a Great Time All the Time

As you would expect with a game of this sort, there is both a local and an online mode that will let you pit your wits against other players around the world. The thing I did like was that if no players can be found, or not a full team can be found, then the team will be filled with AI opponents. This means you never wait more than 90 seconds for a new match to start.

There were times when I was playing against a full group of AI online, several where it was split between other players and AI, and many against a full team of other players.

Another nice touch is that you build XP and gold in all modes, which means you are not forced into a style of play you don’t want to be in just to ensure progression.

Spooky Settings with Hauntingly Jaunty Tunes

When playing a survival game like Obakeidoro, one thing that really makes the experience enjoyable is a range of maps that all offer different challenges. Mere cosmetic adjustments are not enough. I was happy to see that the different maps in Obakeidoro did indeed present different challenges which helped keep things interesting.

Not only did some levels have more switches to activate in order to free trapped opponents, but they all also had different obstacles. From mist and fog to swampy ground that reduced your movement speed there were a variety of obstacles to adapt your playstyle to.

Much like the characters, I can see more maps being introduced down the road, but for now, the offering is more than acceptable.

The musical score’s cute, yet undoubtedly horror themed which works perfectly with the gameplay. It’s haunting and jaunty at the same time. My only gripe is that it would have been nice to have a wider range of songs or the ability to select from a pre-defined soundtrack.

Obakeidoro Nintendo Switch - Caught

No Monster Troubles Please

I’m very happy to report I did not experience any technical problems during my time with the game. In both online and offline mode, there were never any frame rate issues, and I never had a connection drop out.

It also bears mentioning that the game runs like a dream in both docked and handheld mode.

Conclusion

Obakeidoro is a terrific game. It’s addictive and oh so enjoyable. The rapid-fire nature of its gameplay means you can always sit down and play. No two matches are the same, and there’s more to the game beyond merely running for your life. The ability to send commands to the other players, and work as a team to be victorious adds an extra element of tactics to the gameplay.

There’s a subtle depth to Obakeidoro that makes it all the more enjoyable. I especially enjoyed playing it with my kids, who themselves had a blast playing amongst themselves.

8/10

Pros

  • Cute Visual Design
  • Fun Gameplay With Simple Mechanics Suitable For All Ages
  • Guaranteed Online Matches
  • Quick to Pick up & Play At Any Time

Cons

  • Not Much Selection For Human Characters
  • The Soundtrack Can Get a Little Repetitive

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