you are not logged in

Syberia On Nintendo Switch Reminds Us Of A Time Before Syberia 3

Of mammoths and automatons.

Syberia has somewhat of a cult following, having arisen during the tail end of the adventure game boom of the 90s and early 2000s. It was curious and eccentric, set during an indiscernible time period but with ties to real-world history and settings. There was a distinct European vibe throughout that gave way to more Cold War and Soviet influences the further players travelled.

Syberia and its 2004 sequel aren’t as widely celebrated as some of its peers, yet they have continued to re-emerge throughout the years on various platforms. In fact, my first experience with the series was actually on the Nintendo DS, before picking up the two-part collection on PlayStation 3, then on mobile, and now have the opportunity to revisit them on Switch. They’ve been doing the rounds to say the least, as Microids continued to chip away at Syberia 3 which launched earlier this year.

Having waited more than a decade, fans were less than pleased with the long overdue sequel. Despite some modern refinements, Syberia 3 felt woefully outdated compared to the adventure games of today. Even worse, it failed to give players any sort of closure, at times feeling like its own standalone adventure.

For those who are completely new to the series, Syberia casts you as Kate Walker, an American lawyer who winds up in the sleepy French village of Valadilène. She’s there to finalize the takeover of its once-famed toy factory. However, upon her arrival, she discovers that its owner, Anna Voralberg, has passed away, forcing her to go in search of her enigmatic brother, Hans.

It’s pretty bonkers, even by adventure game standards of the early 00s, and only gets stranger as Kate falls further and further down the rabbit hole. That quirkiness may be a little too much for some people’s tastes, made slightly harder to swallow thanks to some awkward dialogue and hammy voice acting.

Although the visuals have been dialed up slightly, these aren’t what you’d call full-blown remasters. By docking the Switch you can watch Kate Walker’s adventures play out on the big screen, though you don’t really gain much of a visual boost. Playing in handheld mode is the more preferable option due to its convenience and some added functionality. Being able to tap through menu options sure beats pressing buttons on the Joy-Con yet Syberia’s use of the touchscreen is strangely limited.

Some actions can only be triggered by using the Joy-Con with no option to move Kate by placing waypoints on the touchscreen. It’s a strange mismatch that will see players ignoring touch controls altogether or using an odd feeling combination of both. Considering the dearth of touch controls in first party titles it’s no surprise to see third party games lacking in this department, but it’s a real shame when these game could be played entirely with touch controls on smartphone or tablet.

The only other hiccups I encountered were a handful of repeated dialogue options. Instead of pushing the conversation forward, NPCs would regurgitate their previous response unless I backed out and started talking to them again.

These are both solid ports of two very special games, but in truth there are better versions currently available for a fraction of the price. Playing the originals on PC gives them that lovely nostalgic feel whereas the mobile ports for iOS and Android offer the best way to experience them on-the-go. While it’s great to see Microids put the series in front of a larger audience, it’s hard to imagine many Switch owners jumping at the chance to play it, especially after Syberia 3’s somewhat sour reception.

Comments are closed.