The Steins;Gate series is famous for several things: having a time-bending narrative, a dark world and engaging characters presented in a non-linear traditional visual novel format. It’s safe to say that it's a far cry from the deluge of other visual novels present on the Nintendo eShop, so is Steins;Gate: My Darling’s Embrace any different to those titles?

Unfortunately not. In short, Steins;Gate: My Darling’s Embrace is more in the style of a typical dating simulator with series-styled flourishes than a serious Steins;Gate story, but hey- if you’re looking for fluff with Steins;Gate’s cast of characters, or if you’re looking to see more from these characters then the game is for you. However, if you’re turned off by dating sims but love Steins;Gate, it’s not a worthwhile adventure.

The game does go through some effort in explaining the terms and lexicon used by the Steins;Gate series, so if you just want a dating sim and like the Steins;Gate style and characters, you’re grand. The art is very well done, and the often humorous fanservice that you end up seeing is less X-Rated and more along the lines of moe elements. It’s certainly not as pervy as some other visual novel dating-simulators that you’re able to find on the Switch eShop.

Steins;Gate: My Darling’s Embrace allows you to follow different paths for each “girl” in the same way as other games - through split-second decisions based on texts you receive. Like the great Tokimeki Memorial before it, in this game, you’re going to be wanting to get close to someone through selecting the right choices in order to unlock special CG Scenes. If you’re big into the fandom and want to see your own headcanon fully realised, the game is more than accommodating.

Because of the nature of the Steins;Gate series, the overarching plot points may result in a bit of tonal whiplash from the fairly lighthearted tone of this game, so while it might seem like the characters are not quite acting like they would in the main games, it's a fun distraction from the heavy themes of the original Steins;Gate games, and for fans looking for what it’s offering, you can’t really fault it. With high production values and the quality of writing that you’d see in a mainline Steins;Gate game, this one is definitely for the hardcore fans looking to see their favourite characters again and see them in silly situations.