Kokoro Clover Season 1

These days, video games don’t have to just be one thing, thematically speaking. A game can be a first-person shooter RPG like Borderlands. Or maybe it’s a multiplayer horror game like Evil Dead: The Game instead of just a solo survival adventure. Games can tell all kinds of stories and experiment with different types of gameplay. Some indie games — like Baobabs Mausoleum and Pony Island — even revel in feeding you bits of different genres all at once.

In what can be considered an ambitious effort, indie game Kokoro Clover Season 1 takes a stab at giving you two different types of experiences in one package. The game is a 2D platformer with shoot ‘em up elements, but it’s presented as an episodic anime series. Unfortunately, that sounds a lot cooler than it ends up being, as the game doesn’t do either thing very well.

Kokoro Clover - Nintendo Switch

You play as a young girl who discovers the titular Kokoro Clover, a mystical, magical item that grants powers, allows bestial transformations, and connects to the spirit world. It’s all pretty standard stuff — it’s neither groundbreaking nor necessarily offensive. It’s unoriginal, sure, but with some solid writing, it could work.

The problem is, Kokoro Clover Season 1 doesn’t have strong writing. Instead, it relies on long-winded and largely uninteresting banter between the heroes and villains. These scenes, which take place before and after levels, just drag on and on. It’s exhausting reading the dialogue because nothing that’s said is interesting in any way. It’s a shame, too, because some of the characters have quirky looks and demeanors, and the game even tries to be humorous at times. Sadly, it just falls flat.

When you’re not stuck reading dialogue sequences for up to probably 10 minutes at a time, you’re playing through 2D platforming stages. These are rather short and simple, and they’re massively uninspired. You can get from the start of a level to the end in just a couple minutes. This then leads to more dialogue and then a simple, easy-to-spam boss battle.

Kokoro Clover Season 1 Boss Fight

Outside of the Story mode, you can also play Adventure mode, which features different stages without the dialogue scenes. This is only cool on paper, though, because the levels themselves are dreadfully boring and nowhere near worthwhile. There’s also a Boss Rush mode, but well, the boss battles just aren’t enjoyable.

It’s a shame that Kokoro Clover Season 1 isn’t a better game than what it turned out to be. It looks like a fun little pixelated anime show, and it really tries to be just that. Unfortunately, dull writing and bland platforming gameplay make this game one to avoid.

Disclaimer: I was given a review code for Kokoro Clover Season 1 on Nintendo Switch, but the opinions expressed in this article are my own.

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