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The Unholy Society - Switch Review


The Unholy Society Switch Review

Join anti-hero Bon the exorcist in The Unholy Society Switch Review, coming to a Nintendo near you.

If the boots fit, exorcise in this, The Unholy Society Switch review, available on the Nintendo and also on Steam.

Religion isn’t a subject I want to tackle on a game review site, but it’s inescapable when you’re playing a priest exorcising demons and have the Pope on speed dial.

In The Unholy Society, you play Bonaventura Horowitz or Bonny, sometimes Bon to his enemies. Emphasis on enemies as he’s a bit of an anti-hero and few like him.

It’s a relatively quick game that I finished one evening, so is it worth worshipping or sending it back to the depths of hell?

The Unholy Society Switch Review

I can’t recall what lured me into buying this game.

It was either the presentation or the themes, but ignoring my beliefs, it was probably the blurb on the eShop that was well-written enough to catch my attention to buy one random evening.

The Unholy Society - Phone
Where’s Wally/the symbol?

The art style is a blend of SkyhillAgent A: A Puzzle In Disguise and a little Serial Cleaner thrown in the mix – alas, the animation isn’t as up-to-speed as its peers.

There were cases where I was walking on and into assets on-screen, which I wasn’t supposed to, but it wasn’t the end of the world.

It’s the end of the world when you realise the conquest of the night before is a succubus from hell sent to destroy you.

Yes, that’s how the game opens, and shortly after a quick trip to the bathroom to read a series of text messages from your sister, you return to your room, and a battle ensues.

The Unholy Society, from Cat-astrophe Games, is a mix-up of real-time battles, unadulterated adventure and dialogue choices. However, all three aspects are very much ‘on the rails’.

Where’s The Special Move?

As an exorcist, let’s look at the battle sections first as there’s a fair amount, and each one is the same.

Unlike the third-person side-scrolling from the main game, battle sequences are in first-person where you hold up a pseudo magnifying glass up during the fight to locate symbols to launch an attack.

The Unholy Society - Silent
Silent…Virginia…? Where’s the fog?

Before the fight, you use your smartphone to select a set of moves, unlocking them as the story progresses, and you have to match up thee symbols by hovering the cursor over them then pressing R.

This activates an attack, all within a timer, when the timer is up, your opponent will attack. 

Most of the time it’s Where’s Wally? as you sluggishly locate these occult-like semantics in a scene – often where the time will run out before you can attack.

When you win the fight, you earn a random object that has no relevance in the game such as a comic book (there are no in-game achievements to make use of the items, nor can you interact with them).

While some of the enemies were ok, the experience was a little monotonous.

What’s Wrong, McFly?

Between battles, Bon can be seen to walk around town from left to right, encountering the odd NPC, stray cat or item to interact with.

Interactions are dead simple: a circle appears on-screen for anything you can use/speak with, and you push the direction of your choice.

This applies for dialogue and item interaction – the latter being a rather lifeless experience.

The Unholy Society - Ring
Ring, ring – it’s for you

Take one side quest, for example, your uncle asks you to retrieve some of his missing items. 

Move to the left, and a circle appears for you to interact with where you can either pick up the item or leave it. Continue to the left for a few steps and repeat, then head back to your uncle, walk to the right a bit and do the same thing.

Within about 30 seconds, I had completed the task, and it required zero effort.

This happens a lot, and there’s not one ounce of challenge to the task at hand. 

There’ll be secret entrances to locations with riddles, but you needn’t remember anything you’ve read as it’s all automated.

The areas aren’t that big, but it becomes dull walking, so whip out your skateboard and cruise along like Marty McFly. 

For a few seconds, at least.

You Talkin’ To Me?

So with a lacklustre battle system, effortless quests and a character that seemingly can walk through objects, The Unholy Society sounds like it’s a steaming turd.

Not exactly.

The dialogue is excellent, and I would have happily played this as a visual novel rather than with any of the other gaming elements.

Characters have a slight arrogance to them that’s quite likeable, and the responses on offer are excellent.

The Unholy Society - Grave
Grave times

Unfortunately, none of your choices serves much of a purpose as after a couple of deaths in the game, I tried a few different conversational pieces, and nothing changed.

It’s a shame as it’s well written, and I could have happily continued to harass the Pope on the old mobile while he was playing golf.

The interaction with other characters and dialogue was the reason I finished it in one sitting as I was drawn in, however, to really piss on my parade from a great height, after completing (no spoilers), it was revealed that this was the first episode and would be continued.

Unless I missed this on the eShop, there was no indication that there would be a cliffhanger and I found it more irritating than having me long for more.

This happened with Perseverance. Equally, it had its flaws, and the reality that it was episodic is disappointing.

Back To The Church of Godzilla

Does that mean I’m done with it? No, not really, but I wish it were spelt out that the game would be continued and that it was reflected in the price.

While The Unholy Society isn’t an interactive storybook, it is incredibly linear in its approach and would have faired better by being a visual novel, in my enlightened (pah!) opinion.

The presentation, ignoring the clunky animation and intangibility with scenery, was pretty good and a little reminiscent of The Darkside Detective (but you can actually move, and on a skateboard at that).

But, and a big fat hairy butt, The Unholy Society was a bit of a cop-out with the continuation reveal and the bits in-between the dialogue, i.e. the bulk of the game, was a little flat.

Still, there’s always the sequel Bon Saves Christmas, or whatever they rename it.

The Unholy Society Switch Review
6 / 5 Verdict
  • Interesting concept.
  • Excellent dialogue.
  • Lots of potential for building characters.
  • Other than the battles, no challenge.
  • Dull fetch quests/puzzles.
  • The animation is a little clunky.
Biting off a bit more than it can chew, The Unholy Society shows a bit of promise with its anti-hero protagonist. Still, it could do with a revamp of the gameplay mechanics as it's more story-driven than the skateboarding shenanigans would have you believe.

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