Game Review #285: My Big Sister (Nintendo Switch)
  • Allan Jenks

Game Review #285: My Big Sister (Nintendo Switch)



Reviewer: Allan Jenks

Developer: Stranga

Publisher: Ratalaika Games

Category: Adventure, Role-Playing, Horror

Release Date: 5.10.2019

Price (at time of review): $5.99



Buy My Big Sister from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.


To My Surprise, It Was a Horror!

When I first saw My Big Sister, I immediately wanted to play it. It looked awesome. I initially thought it was a JRPG, but, after no battles—random-encounter or otherwise—were happening, I quickly figured out it was not. It turned out to be a horror adventure game, which I have never really played, not for lack of interest, but it's just not a genre in which I have much experience. The 16-bit charm and dark, somber artwork of the game drew me in right off the bat, and the morbid-yet-heartwarming story was immediately growing on me, so I was happy to take a closer look at the horror adventure genre to see if it was for me.



The First 48 Minutes

I mentioned the morbid-yet-heartwarming story, and it really did grab me right from the beginning. There is no long and drawn out build before anything happens, it hits the intro just right to get things moving without feeling rushed. You play the part of Luzia, a 12-year-old little girl having trouble sleeping. After wandering downstairs for a snack and lecturing your big sister, Sombria—Sombie, for short—on the dangers of smoking cigarettes, you head back upstairs to try and get back to sleep; but something doesn’t seem quite right. You go back downstairs and see a scene straight out of a horror movie. There is a blood trail leading out the front door and into a moving van, where you find Sombie, who yells for you to run before a bloody cutaway to black.



So I’m all in now. Without giving too much more away, your big sister gets a curse put on her by a witch, and you have to find your way home from wherever in the world you were taken before time runs out in order to break the curse, otherwise you will lose her forever. In order to get home, you must travel by truck, bus, and train. Each different chapter has its own puzzles to solve or item-retrieval quests to complete in order to progress forward in the story.


You Can Still Die Down Here…

While you don’t have battles in My Big Sister, that doesn’t mean you can’t die. There are certain creepy times when you really should trust your gut and just not go back down that hallway concealed by a torn piece of canvas. There weren’t too many times when I really needed to start over anyway, as most of this experience is just casually—and nervously—solving puzzles and immersing yourself into the story playing out around you, but there are save points generously placed throughout the various locales to ensure you never have to repeat too much if you screw up—though you do not get multiple save slots in this game, only one, so keep that in mind when making key decisions.



The entire playthrough took me just under 4 hours, and there are two endings you can get, a good ending and a bad ending. I won’t spoil anything, but the bad one is pretty dark. The story does take a lot of pretty intriguing twists and turns along the way, and I left the story still pondering a lot of the subject matter. I was sucked in to this game from start to finish. As a bonus, once you complete the game, you then unlock the Chapter Select Mode, where you can go back and play your favorite parts of the story over again at random, which I thought was a nice little addition.



The Eerie Sights & Sounds

The 16-bit “modern-retro” style of My Big Sister, like its many brethren in the indie market these days, is just video game comfort food for me. The pixels are just so nostalgic, and bring me back to a simpler time in gaming where the focus was on gameplay and fun rather than how many pores you can see on your character’s nose during battle cut scenes.


The design in this game in particular is beautifully done. The color scheme is dark, somber and eerie throughout, though each location has its own unique look and feel. Little details were definitely shown some love here—though I had a chuckle or two at some of the spelling errors that slipped through in the translated script—and the character design was excellent.



The soundtrack is perfect. It sets the mood exactly how it should throughout, and the sound effects are spot on. There were truly eerie moments that were made so much better by the music and sounds found within this game. The soundtrack is also available on its own if you want to check it out for purchase here.



Wrapping Up

So did I enjoy my first real foray into the horror adventure genre? Absolutely! My Big Sister was a fun ride from start to finish, and I really enjoyed what I like to think of as “a JRPG without battles”, which may be an over-simplification, but it really was all the fun of a JRPG game’s exploration and puzzle-solving, without having to stop exploring every few feet to face another random encounter in battle. I know a couple reviewers who are way into this genre, and I am going to start getting some of their recommendations into my hands as well now. This was a fun ride, and I would recommend it to any fans of adventure or puzzle-solving games, or just a fan of horror games with the occasional jump scare or two. Pick this one up! It’s only $5.99!


Score: 9/10


Buy My Big Sister from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.


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