Archetype Arcadia [Switch] Review – Sword Art Online But Also Not

Our Archetype Arcadia review takes a look at the positives and negatives of the sci-fi visual novel. So, what did we think?

Share this
  • Share this on Facebook
  • Share this on Twitter

I’m a big fan of visual novels – probably because I really like anime. So, because of that, I’m always willing to give a new visual novel a go. But what did I think of Archetype Arcadia?

The First Hour or So…

image from archetype arcadia of one of the monsters with long arms and large hands, it looks like a troll

This one’s a tough one for me. I enjoy the premise and the overall storyline, but I think the execution is lacking slightly. I do tend to prefer visual novel games that have a little more player interaction or at least some fluid animations. But the abruptness of the movements, especially during a ‘battle scene’, threw me off a little. I wasn’t particularly a fan of the Avatars flying about the screen and turning red – it’s not exactly immersive.

Maybe I’m just hard to please when it comes to visual novels, as I understand that the majority of the time they’re supposed to be simple. But I found it hard to get really invested in Archetype Arcadia. I went in more or less blind, so I was actually pleasantly surprised when I realised that the plot was reminiscent of Sword Art Online – I admit, I’m one of those anime fans who love SAO.

In Archetype Arcadia, there is a lot going on. I couldn’t quite get my head around it all at first, even with frequent lore drops. It takes on the “virtual world but it’s actually dangerous” trope, which isn’t always the most popular way to go with a story. Luckily, I like it.

Do the Positives Outweight the Negatives?

image from archetype arcadia of the character kristin resting her elbows on a table while she rests her head in her hand and smiles

That isn’t to say there weren’t in-game choices at times, which I did appreciate given the long-winded dialogue that sometimes was thrown my way. I’m not a huge fan of dialogue that never seems to end, so I did get a little bored – which wasn’t helped by the fact that I wasn’t hugely engrossed in general.

Still, I will say that the art and music direction is lovely. Even the chibi Avatars look adorable, and the character art is pleasant to look at. The environments in the background are also impressive, giving a real feeling of loneliness and decay.

We start to dive into the psyche of Rust, the main character. I actually really liked this touch, as we got to delve deeper into how this whole experience is affecting him and the way he perceives the world around him. Exploring his past with his sister was also a great addition and it helped to give us a better picture of how strong their bond is.

Despite these grievances with Archetype Arcadia, it’s a perfectly fine visual novel. If you like Sword Art Online or a darker storyline mixed with futuristic themes, you’ll probably enjoy this one. There are certainly worse visual novels to play through, and with more refinement, Archetype Arcadia could have become a brilliant little gem.

The good

  • Nice art and music
  • Interesting premise

The bad

  • Takes a while to get interesting
  • Animations are a little janky
70 out of 100

With experience writing for GameRant and in SEO copywriting, Adele loves to combine her adoration for gaming and writing. She'll talk your ear off about anything fantasy, and if she's not typing away at her desk, she's probably playing an RPG somewhere.