Suika Game | Review | Switch - Japan-based Nintendo Podcasts, Videos & Reviews!


Friday, October 13, 2023

Suika Game | Review | Switch

It’s not often that a game comes out of seemingly nowhere and blows up the Japanese sales charts, but that’s exactly what Suika Game, or “Watermelon Game,” did. This simple, Japanese indie title hit the Nintendo Switch eShop with limited to no fanfare when it released back in December 2021, but it has just recently crossed over one million downloads. Just what is this game and should it be on your radar? That’s exactly what we’re here to talk about. 

For myself and other English speaking gaming friends in Japan, it was a bit of a shock to see a pretty random game at the top of the Switch eShop download charts. If you are into V-Tubers, it might not have been so surprising. The game has been making the rounds on the internet since early September starting with streamers in Japan, extending up to celebrities and then mainline news outlets. By October 6, parent company Aladdin X announced that the game has reach one million downloads on the Switch. 
As for the game, it was developed by a branch of Aladdin called popIn. The company primarily produces projectors for the Japanese market as well as a variety of apps and games for their products. Before releasing on the Switch, Watermelon Game was created and released one of their 3-in-1 projector’s in April 2021. After receiving positive feedback from customers, the company decided to take a stab at putting the game out on the Switch. Suika Game released on Nintendo’s platform on December 9, 2021.

The gameplay in Watermelon Game couldn’t be any simpler. All you do is move the fruit at the top of the screen and hit A to drop it into the on-screen box. Your goal here is to match corresponding fruit with each other. If you do this, they transforms into another, larger fruit, with the biggest being a watermelon. Once the jar is filled up with fruit, it’s a game over. Your goal is to score as many points as possible. 
There is a handy dial on the bottom right hand side of the screen that let’s you know the transformation order of the fruit, too. Knowing this, or at least paying attention to the on screen info, can really benefit your play sessions when going for a high score. If you have a grape next to an orange in your box and have a grape coming up as your next drop, you can drop that directly on the other grape, which transforms into an orange. If you get the trajectory correct, this will then hit the orange and transform. With so many pieces going into the jar in each play session, you are likely to get some lucky transformations here and there, which feels very satisfying. As simple as things are in Watermelon Game, it’s actually quite fun. There are also local system based leaderboards as well as online leaderboards that you can check. Even with limited knowledge of Japanese, Watermelon Game is very accessible as long as you know the basic rules. 

Visuals, Audio & Performance
While the gameplay takes center stage in Watermelon Game, visuals and audio are what you would expect from a cheap, mobile-like experience. Even with that said, it’s a cute looking game that isn’t trying to do anything too crazy visually, which keeps the game running smoothly. The music is also fitting and kind of relaxing. The simplistic, cute aesthetic can appeal to anyone. 

Random Issues
My experience with the game has been pretty positive, however I think the influx of users has hampered the online leaderboard system of the game. When playing at peak times (evenings between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Japan Time), I ran into issues where the score upload function would take a couple of minutes to update after getting a game over. It’s not a huge deal, but a bit off-putting when other times it is almost instantaneous. Additionally, the scoreboard resets at midnight every day. I noticed that while checking out this change in real time, the overall daily scores did not change. Moreover, they remained exactly the same a day later. It could be a coincidence, but I kind of doubt it. Again, I think the sheer amount of people playing was not something the developers intended which leads to these delays and oddities. Hopefully this is something they can address in a patch down the line. 

Watermelon Game is super simple and yet addictive. it’s also not going to break the bank either, with the suggested retail price being so low (again, ¥240, or roughly $1.60 USD). It might not hold your attention for hours and hours on end, but it’s a fun little game to blow through if you’re looking for a short, relaxing gaming session.

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