Delve into a dark visual novel story that takes place in the world of Digimon with Digimon Survive, which adds a sprinkle of horror elements that come from the living monsters that are Digimon. Digimon Survive is a visual novel primarily, however it includes combat that is played through its turn-based tactics gameplay. Initially announced in 2018, Digimon Survive has been victim to numerous delays and the pandemic hit development hard to the point that many assumed the game had not survived… but four years later, it’s finally here.
The strongest aspect of Digimon Survive is its story and by extension, the characterisation and tone. The player follows a group of school kids who find themselves lost in a variant of their world as they struggle to survive against evil, murdering Digimon with their own. There is a split in the story at a specific point based on your moral alignment at a certain point within the first combat based chapter; the moral alignment, in addition to branching paths, consequently leads to different digivolution trees for the partner Digimon.
Digimon Survive’s new dark angle shines Digimon in a red light where they are malicious monsters who are out for blood. It adds a whole new layer of intrigue and while the cliche of solving problems with the power of friendship is still heavily relied upon, those that don’t get enough friendship attention can end up being brutally murdered infront of the character’s very eyes. There is roughly 40 hours of gameplay per playthrough as well with four different endings in total, so there is plenty of story to get through, although players will repeat much of it within the early game.
- Intriguing Story
- New angle for the franchise
Unfortunately, Digimon Survive’s combat is bland at best; most combat encounters I ran on auto battle aside from bonus damage relying on unit positions, it’s all quite lacklustre. There’s no complexity; having two square movements in a tile-based tactics game makes it difficult to get certain units involved in combat. This is unless you spend several turns doing nothing with the characters that have higher movement options. On top of that, the terrain is relatively boring, providing little-to-no strategic value.
The exploration where you progress through the story can often feel clunky and repetitive. This is commonly due to characters regularly repeating phrases over-and-over in different rooms, while a lot of the interactable objects (especially in the early game) are useless objects that waste the player’s time. This leads me onto the opening of Digimon Survive; this is one of the hardest parts to get through. The dialogue drags on, it’s repetitive and it leads nowhere, and the aforementioned exploration sequences only exacerbate the issue.
- Boring tactics gameplay
- Clunky exploration
- Slow opening
Final Score: 7/10
Digimon Survive is a fantastic story with moral choices that falls short through uninspired tactics combat and a slog of an intro that is enough to turn people off the game before the story kicks into gear. Using the world of Digimon to explore a darker, more adult orientated story was an amazing idea as the new lens of familiar faces in a horror theme captured a lot of dread. In the end though, Digimon Survive is a title that is difficult to recommend to people who prefer tactical combat and for those who like the story-driven gameplay, they still have to deal with the clunky exploration portions and the slog that is the early game.
Thank you for checking out our Digimon Survive Switch review, thank you to Bandai Namco AU/NZ for providing the review code and thank you to our Patreon Backers for their ongoing support: