The Exit 8 | Review | Switch - Japan-based Nintendo Podcasts, Videos & Reviews!


Friday, April 19, 2024

The Exit 8 | Review | Switch

Gamers on PC have been enjoying the Japanese underground passageways in The Exit 8 since the game released on Steam in late 2023. For Switch fans, the game made an appearance during the Japanese edition of the April 17, 2024 Indie World Showcase and saw a worldwide release immediately afterward. According to the Japanese publisher Playism, the Switch version jumped to the top of the eShop rankings in Japan to number one in the first 24 hours. Regardless of its popularity, is the version of the game running on Switch worth taking a look? That’s exactly what we’re here to talk about. Let’s get into it. 

For those unfamiliar, The Exit 8 places players in an endless, underground walkway somewhere in Japan. The premise is simple - get out! To escape, you will need to look for anomalies in the walkway. If you see anything weird, turn back and run the other way. If everything appears fine, keep on moving forward. Starting at Exit 0, you work your way up to Exit 8 by successfully identifying whether or not there are anomalies in the area. These range from relatively simple things that you’ll notice almost immediately to minute details that are hard to track. Sound also comes into play for some of the anomalies so having a keen ear is beneficial. At heart, The Exit 8 is a walking sim, but there are some light horror and jump scare elements. These aren’t overly scary, but are typically more creepy than anything else. 
Controls and the overall game are fairly simple. All players have to work with is the left stick for movement and a run button (which is mapped to ZL or by pressing in the left stick). There is an options menu available as well which allows for customization on stick sensitivity, inverting the controls and a few other things. The Exit 8 is very minimalistic and that suits the game well. 

Although it is theoretically possible (thought not likely) to run through the game to reach the end, players are encouraged to pay attention to the details. The biggest piece of non-spoilery advice I would give is to be familiar with the passageway. Just take your time and enjoy the ride. 
The Exit 8 is a short game and it doesn’t hide that fact at all. As a matter of fact, the game’s product pages on Steam and the Switch clearly state that, "The Exit 8 is a short walking simulator inspired by Japanese underground passageways, liminal spaces and back rooms.” I ended up clearing the game and finding all of the anomalies in around an hour and fifteen minutes. Even though it is short, you will really need to mind your surrounding to get the most out of the game. 

Visuals, Audio & Performance
If you’re coming from playing or checking out footage of the PC version of The Exit 8, you are going to notice the obvious conceits made to get the game running on the Switch. While I think things look fine overall, you will notice that the game can be a little bit choppy from time to time, especially if you’re playing in handheld mode. The man that is ever present in the walkways also is a bit low-poly, but it wasn’t enough to take me out of the experience. 
Even with that said, the signs, posters and other elements of the walkway look relatively sharp - quite a bit sharper than what I was expecting to see on the platform. Having played a lot of down-ports on Nintendo’s system, it was good to find out that this is one of the better ones. Again, like I said previously, this can’t quite compare to how lifelike the game can look on PC, but this port does an admirable job bringing things to life on the Switch. Additionally, if you’ve ever been to Japan, you might recognize the tile (which is used in lots of places around the country), the yellow “tenji blocks” or tactile paving for those with reduced vision, the yellow train station/walkway signs, fire extinguisher doors and more. The attention to detail here is fantastic.   
Sound is another important element in The Exit 8. The game can be best experienced with headphones or some kind of sound system. I missed out on several audio cues due to playing the game in handheld mode while my significant other had the TV on. Of course, you can still play this way, but you’ll miss the subtle details that the sound brings to the game, such as the gentle buzz from the lights, the footsteps of the man walking in your direction, your own footsteps and more. 

The Exit 8 is short, but it doesn’t outstay it’s welcome. This simple concept is a lot more fun than it has any right to be and will compel you to keep coming back until you at least clear it once. Others might find some fun in replaying the game or showing it to others. Given the portable nature of the Switch, this is easier than ever (unless you have the game on Steam and a Steam Deck). The Switch version is a bit choppy, more so in handheld mode, so that is something to keep in mind if visual fidelity is a concern. Otherwise, The Exit 8 is a fun, bite-sized experience that more people need to play. 

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