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Rose & Camellia Collection (NS)

Rose & Camellia Collection (NS) - Review

by Evan Norris , posted on 24 April 2024 / 1,761 Views

Some games are so brilliant they simply must be purchased. Others are good enough to warrant a rental, but nothing more. And still others are too inconsistent or deficient, and can be skipped over altogether. Then there are games so weird, wild, or unexpected that they simply must be experienced to be believed — quality notwithstanding. The Rose & Camellia Collection, published by WayForward and Limited Run Games, brings together several of these types of games. Combining motion-controlled slapping mechanics with the histrionics of a telenovela, they're quite unlike anything you've experienced before on Switch.

Rose & Camellia Collection contains five titles, three of which originated as flash games, two of which are brand new. They are: Rose & Camellia 1, 2, 3, & 4, plus Rose & Camellia vs. La-Mulana

While the package is technically a collection of games, it really feels more like a group of several scenarios, or perhaps chapters, operating under a single banner. This is due in part to each installment featuring overlapping characters and plot points, and in part to brevity. Each game lasts only about 15 minutes, including cut-scenes.

Each one plays roughly the same, as well. You'll take control of a protagonist in an aristocratic setting, and whack your way to the top in a series of 1v1 slap fights. For each contest of strength, you'll control your character from a behind-the-back viewpoint and use a Joy-Con (or touch controls, if you're playing undocked) to attack, dodge, feint, etc. You'll take on snooty patricians, spoiled heiresses, vindictive maids, and many others. Imagine if Punch-Out!! and Downton Abbey had a baby, and you'll start to get the picture.

The mechanics aren't terribly deep, but they're not bad. You can press the A button and swing the Joy-Con to slap your opponent, or hold the right bumper and flick the controller backward to dodge a slap. You can also fake an attack or counterattack. It's all fairly responsive and easy to grasp. The issue is that each game has only a handful of fights, and none of them raise the stakes in any significant way. It's all basically slap, dodge, slap, dodge, until someone runs out of health. There are some interesting wrinkles here and there, like a duo of maids who attack in tandem or a four-armed fighter from India, but the core loop remains unchanged.

What makes the collection memorable isn't mechanical; it's theatrical. While these games are too simple and unchanging in terms of gameplay, they're outstanding when it comes to story and character. The Rose & Camellia games are a complete riot, with prim and proper ladies yelling things like "just accept my slap already with good grace!" The juxtaposition of nobility with frivolity goes a long way here. And it only gets weirder and funnier as it goes. In Rose & Camellia 3, during the "Death Queen Circuit", you'll come face to face with Seiko, whose astrological sign is Slapittarius. In Rose & Camellia 4, you'll slap a giant robot.

These ironic, humorous interactions are brought to life via some lovely hand-drawn art and some seriously silly voice acting. All the actresses involved, including legends like Cristina "Vee" Valenzuela, totally understood the assignment, delivering melodramatic but winking performances that raise the ridiculousness to 11.

In addition to five Rose & Camellia games, the collection includes a two-player multiplayer mode, using the same perspectives and mechanics. Player one controls one of the heroines and player two steps in as one of their rivals. This mode is good for a few minutes of flailing and laughter, but not much else.

Perhaps that's the best way to describe the Rose & Camellia Collection — good for a few minutes of flailing and laughter, but not much else. Ultimately, due to its short running time and unchanging gameplay, the anthology isn't worth purchasing. But it is worth experiencing, at least once. It's too weird, absurd, funny, and different to ignore, even if the games within don't stand on their own.

This review is based on a digital copy of Rose & Camellia Collection for the NS, provided by the publisher.

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SanAndreasX (on 24 April 2024)

That reminds me. Do you think the FF7 Remake will keep the slap fight between Tifa and Scarlet?

This game really slaps. GOTY right here. Forget about Unicorn Overlord or Dragon's Dogma 2.

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