Review: Melon Journey: Bittersweet Memories (Nintendo Switch)

Melon Journey: Bittersweet Memories is an adventure game for the Nintendo Switch. It sports a super-retro style in a world full of cute critters that belies the dark story bubbling beneath the surface. Let’s dive in for adventure!

The story follows Honeydew, a marketing employee at a company that produces a successful brand of melon soda. It seems Honeydew has the day off, so she pops into work to check on things before heading to a café to meet some friends. When her bestie, Cantaloupe, doesn’t show up, it’s time to start investigating. 

Review: Melon Journey: Bittersweet Memories (Nintendo Switch)

Gameplay involves wandering around various locations and interacting with characters and objects. It plays much like an interactive novel. You’ll discover items along the way and help resolve issues for some of the citizens, all while searching for clues to the mystery of Cantaloupe’s whereabouts. And this, in turn, leads to a far more sinister plot.

Melon Journey is full of interesting characters. Each has his or her own story to tell, from a simple tale about train conductors taking long lunch breaks to a ghost who wants to join a local gang. There’s a cheese cult. There’s someone who constantly loses his pet ant. We find a fake popstar, a DJ, and an aging, jaded musician. Not to mention the mayor who seems to be out of touch with today’s citizens. There are so many quirky and fun moments to discover.

The game also encourages these interactions by making it part and parcel of discovering the hidden plot. It’s worth testing everyone you stumble upon; you just never know what’s changed since you last ventured past. And while not every element is essential, if you don’t talk to everyone, you’ll miss some of the story. It does lead to a little repetition as you seek something new, but, generally, the effort pays off.

Melon Journey: Bittersweet Memories - Nintendo Switch - screen 2

The inhabitants of this offbeat world are mostly cute animals. There are hedgehogs, mice, rabbits, owls, and many more. Honeydew herself is a human (I’m pretty sure) who is forced to wear rabbit ears as part of her job. The CEO of the soda company is a rabbit, after all. 

Graphically, Melon Journey looks fantastic. It’s immediately obvious the game is going for a Game Boy-esque vibe, tinged with a green color to highlight the melon aspect. It works so well, taking the Game Boy aesthetic we know and love and wrapping it in a top-down pixelated style. The characters ooze personality, with facial expressions and movements that bring the story to life. The animation and cut scenes are also excellent, as is the music. The eShop listing dubs the audio stylings as “jazzy lo-fi”, which fits the bill perfectly. It’s full of upbeat electronic tunes that suit the retro graphics while immersing you into this world. 

Melon Journey: Bittersweet Memories - Nintendo Switch - screen 3

There’s a lot to love about this title. Apart from occasionally not knowing where to go, my only real complaint is a random glitch that caused the game to restart. This happened three times during my five-ish hour playthrough, which basically caused the Switch to restart. Word of warning—save continually! The developers recently mentioned via Twitter a patch that solves this issue, but it’s hard to test since it’s random. I hope the patch works, because this is an otherwise wonderful game.

Overall, Melon Journey: Bittersweet Memories is a unique journey into a world full of interesting characters. There’s a lot to uncover and a lot to enjoy, and the retro graphics are terrific. This is one to check out, although a glitch (which is hopefully now patched) does mar things slightly—be sure to save regularly.

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