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Subsurface Circular Switch review - Subsurface? Maybe. Sub-par? Not at all


For: Switch

Definitely sub-edited though

Product: Subsurface Circular | Publisher: Bithell Games | Format: Switch | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
 
Back in August, Thomas Was Alone designer and indie-rockstar Mike Bithell dropped a surprise release on Steam. I abandoned all of my adulting that night and played the two hour tech adventure, and all I could think about was how good it might be on the Switch.

Thus the Bithell gods blessed me, and here we are.

Subsurface Circular spins a casual yet brittle tale of class, religion, and power, with undertones of revolution and an ever-present nod towards the old 'Robots will prevail' tech dystopia.

It tells a story and builds mystery in a single setting by consistently changing its direction, tone, and characters, providing a different interaction in every scene.

Tek yourself before you wreck yourself

Your journey begins, and you - a robot detective - are enlisted by a worried  Tek with a missing friend. 'Tek', is the term for robots in this game, and there's lots of different ones, whoyou'll meet throughout your train ride.

Robots get on and off the train, and it's your job to talk to each of them and solve the mystery of the missing Tek.

The plot juggles themes like AI, conspiracy theories, and human rights, but keeps it light and mostly on a (sub)surface level as your investigation progresses. Each Tek you talk to requires something from you, be it a phrase, a piece of information, or the answer to a riddle.

Subsurface Circular Switch review screenshot

Some Teks even work as a pair and your interaction with one will affect another's responses. That was clever, Bithell. You smart little thing.

The fact that your character does not move throughout the entire game is a testament to the astuteness of the narrative. The entire plot revolves around you, and you don't even need to leave your seat.

Every robot has its own thing going on, its dialogue laced with that special wit generally found in the works of team Bithell, and I thoroughly adored the 4th wall-shattering hat tip towards Thomas Was Alone.

But does it work on Switch though?

Course it does. How could it not? It's a short, narratively driven gem, and potentially Bithell Games' best work to date. It's was a 'this should be a Switch game' from the off.

The use of the Switch's rumble makes for an even-more immersive experience - your hands tremble with the train as the journey progresses.

The game also utilises the Switch's gyroscope feature, allowing you to tilt your handset and look around your environment, which is a pretty neat addition.

You can also literally now play a game set on the underground, on the underground. But we're not the first to make that joke.

The only thing it may lack is replayability but at £4.79, Subsurface Circular is a must-have experience for the Switch.
 
Subsurface Circular Switch review - Subsurface? Maybe. Sub-par? Not at all
Reviewer photo
Danielle Partis | 7 March 2018
It might be a little short, but Subsurface Circular feels like it's found its forever home on the Switch
 
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