When I saw the artwork for Ceiba, I signed up as an interested party to cover it. What’s it about? Dunno, but with an open mind, you go into a game without expectations, enjoying it for what it’s worth. That little bit of wisdom shared, what the eff is it?!

A visual novel! Great. I kid. I’m quite a fan of visual novels these days as the quality is getting better, or perhaps I’ve been cherry-picking the better titles. Wirion, 7DOTS, and Moonworks game is in the higher quality category, notably in the visual department. You’ll note I took on the game based on the artwork.

Hardcore VN fans will know that many of these games are made with software such as Ren’Py, but I’d never have known if it hadn’t said that on the ingredients list. Ceiba goes all out with the presentation – both the artwork and the audio, but first, the plot.

Ceiba Switch Review - Tom
Tom, the peep. Source: PR

As a sci-fi-based story, Ceiba takes place in a space garden called Ailanthus. It’s supposedly an explorative mission to orbit the atmosphere of a hostile planet, studying numerous plant life and reporting back those studies. Because this is a VN, you won’t be doing actual experiments, but apparently, a lot of the research in the game has some connection to real scientific research.

The latter is conducted by humans, however, and Ailanthus is run by artificial servants called Artifites. You wouldn’t think that from their appearance, but some brainiacs with a penchant for cosplay, wearing inappropriate clothing for work. On top of that, your male character (assuming in this day and age!?), is looking for some romance, what with them being stuck in this garden for an age.

Let’s switch from science to maths and work out this sum: scantily clad cosplay characters + romance = sketchy dating sim with some awkwardness. The only thing here that is accurate is the awkwardness as you attempt to woo one of your co-workers, steadily building up the relationship at the cafeteria. Sexy. As for the dating part, it’s nothing of the sort and is, in fact, an intelligent story.

A little too intelligent.

Ceiba Switch Review - Hear me out
Hear me out. Source: PR

For the first 10 minutes, I skimmed over Artifites and photosynthesis as it was just bloat for me. While these characters are artificial, their emotions are not, so, in fear of sounding all flowery myself, I was after some human (like) connections and dialogue. While Ceiba isn’t something I’d deem romantic, the conversations are engaging, but the pull comes from the sci-fi element.

Now, I won’t be spoiling what happens in the game as that’s key to the experience, but let’s say this love interest has their motivations and somehow drags you into their journey. As one can expect, Ceiba on the Switch is mostly a passive experience, but multiple-choice options lead to one of the multiple endings.

Because it isn’t a huge game, you’re likely to play through multiple times for the additional conclusions – not just for completion’s sake, but due to the decent pace and length. That said, while the music is really good, fusing the rhythm with the text is challenging, as it purely depends on your reading speed. If you’re a slow reader, the soundtrack feels a bit distracting, and the voice acting is Russian (I think), so unless you understand that you’ll be reading at your own pace.

After a slow start, I got into Ceiba as my go-to title for winding down to and it’s low demand for input. The artwork isn’t to my tastes, though it’s stunning nevertheless. The alien worlds and, specifically, the character designs are out of this world. Boom boom. I wasn’t a fan of one scene featuring a static series of images spinning around repeatedly, but aside from that, this visual novel is quite dynamic and worth your time if you want a sci-fi story, not a dating sim.