Call of Cthulhu has been on the block for a while now after hitting the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC back in 2018, but it’s better late than never when it comes to releasing on the Nintendo Switch, right? It might not necessarily be one of the most anticipated titles to hit the platform as of late, but Detective Edward Pierce’s Lovecraftian adventure has had a surprisingly good port and is definitely worth your time – particularly if you plan on playing on your Nintendo Switch’s handheld mode.
Call of Cthulhu sees you investigating the death of a family on the mysteriously horrific island of Darkwater, with Edward having to interact with its peculiar inhabitants, uncover documents to discover more of its history, and then make decisions that determine how the many events of the game play out. Add to that some crime scenes to examine (which are pretty neat) and an RPG-like upgrade system that allows you to shape Edward’s skillset, and you’ll quickly find you’ve got yourself an enjoyable little first-person mystery.
Whilst the core experience in Call of Cthulhu is investigation-focused and takes a slower pace, there are some action sequences to be found; unfortunately, they’re neither enthralling or particularly well executed. Stealth sections see you sneaking past dumb enemies that barely notice you, whilst some shooting sequences just feel like tacked on segments to add a bit of action to the experience. Neither do anything offensive or horribly sloppy, but they don’t do anything that’ll excite the player either. They’re just there.
Naturally, the narrative and gameplay hasn’t changed in the transition to the Nintendo Switch, but what about the game’s performance?
I primarily play my Nintendo Switch in its portable mode, so I was pleasantly surprised with how Call of Cthulhu looked on the console. Don’t get me wrong, there’s an obvious decrease in clarity and resolution when compared to its PlayStation 4 or Xbox One counterpart, but it still managed to look half decent with the eerie environments still proving intriguing to explore and sustaining the horrific vibe you associate with the Cthulhu name. Heck, the frame rate even manages to remain consistent for the most part (though you should expect some drops here and there). Those looking to experience Call of Cthulhu at its prettiest and best performing won’t want to play it on the Nintendo Switch, but if you want a handheld fix of the game you’ll definitely be pleased by this offering.
There are some issues though, with the tiny text proving to be close to indecipherable at times when playing on the smaller screen. There’s a fair bit of reading to be done in Call of Cthulhu, so having to squint just to make out basic text can be a bit of a pain. Then there are the loading times, which are some of the worst I’ve encountered on the Nintendo Switch so far. This isn’t a huge problem because loading screens aren’t too common in the game, but when they do come around you might want to have your smartphone handy because you can expect to be waiting a good minute or two…
Call of Cthulhu is still as intriguing and fun to play on the Nintendo Switch as it was when it originally released, though it’s definitely inferior on a technical basis when compared to other platforms with the sometimes sketchy framerate and long loading times the worst offenders. It certainly plays well and looks decent on the console’s portable mode though and it’s a good way to experience the game.
If you ARE planning on playing on a TV and have access to a PlayStation 4 or Xbox One though, you’re probably better off playing the game there – Call of Cthulhu doesn’t hold up as well when docked on the Nintendo Switch and some of its poorer qualities are more obvious there. If you’re planning on playing handheld exclusively though, the Nintendo Switch offers an enjoyable way way to experience this horrific first-person adventure.
Developer: Cyanide Studio
Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC