When I started Death End re:Quest on the Switch, I wasn’t sure what I should expect. I’ve played a lot of visual novels with gameplay over the years, but I’ve never played a proper visual novel/turn-based RPG hybrid. At first, I thought the game might be mostly text with a few short gameplay segments.

Thankfully, my early assumptions were totally off base. The battle system in Death End re:Quest is innovative and incredibly addictive. It’s easy to pick up the basics, but there’s also a lot of depth here. In a lot of games, encounters against trash mobs feel tedious, but in this game, they’re an opportunity to experiment and try out new strategies.

In Death End re:Quest, your characters are free to run around the battlefield, similar to an action RPG. You can approach the enemies you want to fight, make sure they’re in attack range, then queue up three different physical or magical attacks. If you land three attacks in a row, you’ll launch another powerful attack, sending your enemy flying across the battlefield. If you can push a monster toward one of your teammates, they’ll hit them with another attack, allowing you to deal a ton of damage in a single turn.

Being able to freely move across the battlefield gives you a lot of freedom, but there are also hazards you’ll need to watch out for. The battlefield is littered with dangerous bugs that essentially function as landmines. Stepping on even one of these bugs can hit you with status effects, end your turn early, or deal damage, which can seriously hurt your characters. If you fail to watch where you’re going and run into a few in a row, you could wind up taking out one of your own party members.

Of course, if you’re careful, these bugs could also be used to your advantage. If you position your characters in the right way, you can send them flying straight into a pile of bugs. Not only will this remove hazards from the battlefield, but it’ll let you deal even more damage to your enemies. If you position characters carefully and assess the battlefield before your attack, you can take out powerful enemies in a single turn.

While you can move your characters as much as you want before queuing up your actions, your character will need to perform all of those moves from the same position. Sometimes you’ll need to decide between healing your party and finishing off your opponents. This is another reason you’ll want to prioritize getting rid of bugs. Once you take out 50% of the bugs on the battlefield, you can call on another character, Arata Mizunashi, for help.

Arata can buff your characters, debuff your enemies, and summon powerful monsters to aid you in battle, which can help you get through tough fights. He also has the ability to temporarily change the genre of the game. If you’re sick of turn-based combat, you can switch over to a slot machine, a fighting game, or even a third-person shooter. There are five different genres to choose from, which means battles always feel fresh.

Arata’s help can get you out of a pinch, but it comes at a cost. When you use his abilities, the bugs you’ve destroyed will return to the battlefield. If a bug spawns in where your character is standing, you’ll be hit with negative effects. In Death End re;Quest, you always have to weigh risk against reward.

Death End re;Quest on Switch has some of the most compelling combat I’ve seen in years. If you’re a fan of turn-based RPGs, and you’re also a fan of visual novels, this is definitely a title you’ll want to check out. Whether I’m setting up the perfect chain attack or cycling through genres, fights in Death End re;Quest never leave me feeling bored.

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