Boasting one of the weirder names I’ve ever seen on the Switch eShop, Hot Gimmick Cosplay-Jong is another port of a Psikyo-created game from the arcades to Nintendo’s hybrid console by Zerodiv. Unlike pretty much all of their other games however, this one is not a shoot ’em up. It’s actually an arcade take on mahjong, and that should have been a red flag for me; my uncultured butt thought I’d be able to get into it relatively easy since I’m familiar with the mahjong tiles games, but real mahjong couldn’t be any more different! Despite my status as a total rookie, I still think my review could apply to experienced players to a significant degree. If not, then I suppose I’m just that awful at understanding this game’s niche and this writing can be taken with a grain of salt.
Whereas many of Zerodiv’s other games suffered from arcade-native resolutions, Hot Gimmick Cosplay-Jong‘s wider aspect ratio lends itself well to the Switch’s screen. The sprites are as well-defined as they could be and the portraits of the characters are remarkable. I’m not a fan of the English language being butchered by the dialogue though. Zerodiv’s games have a habit of being localized unsatisfactorily but Cosplay-Jong is worst example of it by far. Fortunately, the scenarios can be so ridiculous (as with any adult-themed game) it’s hard to not chuckle with the act.
Although not destined to stick out like a sore thumb, the soundtrack is nice enough to fit right in with this type of game. The voice samples typically triggered by the in-game girls are clear and crisp, and whatever sound effects are present serve their purposes finely. I’d say the sound design is generally the most consistent with Psikyo’s work brought to us on the Switch than the other aspects of Cosplay-Jong.
Even though mahjong is a game meant to be played with four people, Hot Gimmick Cosplay-Jong is a two-person game where you face off against the one CPU opponent. An absurdly smart CPU opponent, at that. If you know what you’re doing, you better get the right tiles together fast or else the CPU will grill you in no time. As soon as the voice sample exclaims “Reach!” your moves are numbered. Then again, it’s only a matter of time before you hear that in the first place. If you’re new like I am to mahjong, the game gives you absolutely no leg room to learn how to play it. The instructions state what kind of mahjong rules apply to Cosplay-Jong without elaborating on how they work.
Of course, mahjong sessions also tend not to have the variety of choreographed enemy waves and flashy scenery of shoot ’em up games. If you’ve played one round, you’ve played ’em all. Hot Gimmick Cosplay-Jong tries to keep things interesting with “sexy” end round animations; sex can sell but it can’t fix flawed gameplay fundamentals. That’s assuming you’re playing the regular mode. The other mode in the game has you face…digitized men in goofy bodysuits?
I appreciate Zerodiv for trying to have something different to release but this isn’t the kind of game most people would have in mind (or at least not what I’d have in mind). They even went off the rails of their usual $7.99 pricing and gave this one a whopping $20 tag! Guys, this game is not worth that money. Even without the fact there exist traditional mahjong experiences on Switch that are cheaper, that’s too much to pay for any arcade port – let alone one for a game that’s not that good.
Review copy provided by Zerodiv