Regardless of how good Steins;Gate was, it never quite took off in the west like it did in Japan. As a result, a lot of the spin-offs, side games and even some of the titles set in the same universe either never came over or did so significantly later. The latter is where Steins;Gate: My Darling’s Embrace falls. Set in the world of Steins;Gate, in the Delta world line, this adventure is less about time travel or the AI we see in Steins;Gate 0 and instead romance. With players finally having the chance to see Rintaro end up with one of the various girls, is it a must for fans or terrible fan service? Here’s our Steins;Gate: My Darling’s Embrace Review.
Steins;Gate: My Darling’s Embrace goes in with the assumption you have some level of understanding of the core story. Since it takes place in the aforementioned Delta world line, this means a good amount of story has already taken place. Rintaro already has the phone microwave, has sent working D-mails and the Future Gadgets team includes Makise Kurisu and Kiryuu Moeka and it goes from there. Those without knowledge of everything leading up to this point aren’t left completely in the dark.
Characters are still somewhat introduced, there are jokes that are somewhat explained or add a layer of flavor for newcomers and a fairly beefy terms guide that can explain every term of thing you could possibly want to know or have forgotten. Where it falls short is context, something that is hard to avoid given how complex this narrative is, though it isn’t overly important for this adventure.
Here, the story isn’t about finding the right future where things work out and instead is a bit more of a character study. Every route is a what if story that runs down how characters would react if X or Y given event were to happen. Some of these are a bit more canonical than others, like Rintaro chasing after Kurisu, with others feeling a bit more like fan service than others.
Where this adventure has a bit more fun with the overall concept is removing some of the more troubling aspects of the main story, like Rounders, and isn’t afraid to be a bit sillier. So, if you wanted to romance Faris, that is certainly on the table, as is Moeka, even if most will stick to the main two.
Given the simplistic nature of Steins;Gate: My Darling’s Embrace, there isn’t a lot of depth to your choices. Essentially one choice sets you down most of the paths, which is great for anyone looking to maximize efficiency but it makes the largely linear story less dynamic, even if there are dynamic elements like sending mail.
This adventure also hinges on two basic things. Unless you want the romantic aspect of the story, something shippers will enjoy, it only really works as a character study. You’ll see more sides of some of the minor characters like Faris, which is nice but only important if you really want to explore everything Steins;Gate has to offer.
Steins;Gate: My Darling’s Embrace Verdict
Basically, this is a game that was made with fan service in mind. It’s silly, adds some neat elements and tries to have fun with the concept but it simply is not on par with the main games. For some this is enough or in some cases exactly what they want, it’s just something you need to know before investing in it. If that is fine, you’ll likely have a lot of fun, as it explores some of the sillier and fun sides that are hinted at in the main story. However, anyone expecting something on par with the original will likely be quite disappointed.
[Editor’s Note: Steins;Gate: My Darling’s Embrace was reviewed on Switch platform. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]