Pub Encounter - Nintendo Switch Review

Game Info:

  • System: Nintendo Switch, Steam
  • Publisher: D3Publisher
  • Developer: Dogenzaka Lab
  • Release Date: June 14th, 2018

Who it Caters to

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One of the newest titles coming to a Nintendo Switch near you is Pub Encounter, an otome game aimed at more open minded girls. If you have any experience with games like The Men of Yoshiwara series or The Forbidden Romance series (which shares the same Publisher), Pub Encounter is one for you. Of course, be prepared for a somewhat forbidden romance that you don’t usually see in an otome game!

What to Expect

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If there is anything that you should know about Pub Encounter, it should be the fact that this otome game is not going to be as text heavy as games like Hakuoki or Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly. This would be great for those who want a simple dating sim without all of the heavy story and plot points. This one is solely focused on the romance!

Of course, let’s not forget the fact that Pub Encounter is a romance between a young woman and several middle aged men. Oh yes, your romantic love interest will not be a young boy fresh out of university or high school; he’s a seasoned man with a stable career and real life problems outside of finding himself. If any of this entices you, keep reading to find out more!


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Things have been hard for Itsuki Shiori (you) at her job. She keeps making mistake after mistake, so defeated, Shiori decides to clear her mind by taking a different route home. Along the way, she comes across a bar named Audire that interests her with its nice atmosphere. At this bar, Shiori meets a group of rather mature older men who all hang out regularly. Just what new experiences await Shiori at Audire?


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Ported from the 2016 mobile phone game, Pub Encounter has finally reached a console near you on the Nintendo Switch! Of course, Pub Encounter was released on the PC previously, but this is its first console in the West. In Pub Encounter, you play the part of Itsuki Shiori, which is the main character’s default name, but that can be changed if you wish. As Shiori, you have the option of courting 5 mature yet eligible bachelors!

Pub Encounter is a rather unique game in the dating sim/otome game scene what with all of the love interests being older (but not elderly) in comparison to the usual ikemen type. How does this really change the gameplay? Well, for the most part, the characters don’t immediately seem to fall into the usual tropes (i.e. tsundere, kuudere, dandere), although they all do have similar personalities to the usual love interests if you continue playing. However, these personality tropes change when you alter the situations by making the characters more mature with careers, history, and even their upbringings. Despite the age of these men, Pub Encounter still has that “first love” feeling that we are so used to. Whether or not this will appeal to you is up to you, but do remember that this is an M for Mature title so be prepared for more than just a first kiss at the end of the game!

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As far as the gameplay, we have to say that this was a good casual game to play on the Switch between text heavy otome games. It has a focus on just the dating part, so if you want a more developed romance, you’ll be sorely disappointed, but if you are used to mobile dating sims, you should set your expectations accordingly. You’ll dive straight into the romance and a little plot, but for the most part, this isn’t going to be a game that you can’t put down. It’s merely for casual enjoyment.

It was nice to be able to play a game with more mature themes and some unique plots, but because this is for casual gaming, we were disappointed to see that things were wrapped up too easily and plots weren’t well developed. We tried to be understanding considering this is a mobile game, but it still stings a little. Also, something that feels awkward is the emphasis on the age gap between the male leads and Shiori. Yes, we get it; there’s probably a 20 year age difference (we’re guessing), but we don’t need people to be constantly saying how young Shiori is or how much older the male lead is, nor do we need strange moments where Shiori is treated kind of like a child. You may not notice these moments as well as we did, but it did make us feel a bit awkward, but we understand that there is ageism in most societies so this could be part of the normal, awkward conversation, right?

Honey's Gameplay Consensus:

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While your experience may vary, the gameplay of Pub Encounter was quite enjoyable and fits the casual style of many mobile otome games like the Shall We Date series. We enjoyed the fact that there was mature content that fits the actual age group the game is intended for, but at the same time, it doesn’t stray too far away from the usual format that dating sims have and crosses the line landing Pub Encounter in the cliche territory. The plot also matches very well for the age group and although the plots are not as well developed as, say, a full blown visual novel, Pub Encounter is still an enjoyable dating sim experience if you are only looking for a casual game. For $16.99, it doesn’t break the bank and lets players play the game without pesky commercials or daily limitations that come with most mobile dating sim apps.

Honey's Pros:

  • Game is available in English, Japanese, and Chinese text
  • Has mature content for adult gamers who might wish for more physical interactions
  • Plot lines were written to reflect the age of the characters including more mature possibilities
  • Many hours of gameplay that don’t feel text heavy

Honey's Cons:

  • Sometimes it feels like there is an overemphasis on the age gap between characters
  • Jumps into the romance a tad fast giving it that obvious mobile dating sim feel
  • Rather dull main character who seems to conveniently be exactly who the characters need her to be
  • Some of the plots wrapped up unrealistically and too easily
  • Weak character backgrounds

Honey's Final Verdict:

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Sometimes we don’t need to have the developed story and heavy plots; sometimes we just want to have a cute romance and maybe with an older man! Well, if that is so, we hope that you gained something from our review as you learned about exactly that type of dating sim in Pub Encounter. With men varying in age, experiences, and even backgrounds, you will get to experience a different type of dating sim that is on the market.

For those of you out there reading this, what are your thoughts on the game? Do you think it’ll be as moe as any other dating sim with younger men? Do you look forward to dealing with real life problems with these handsome older men or do you wish they were a little bit less seasoned? Share your thoughts in the comments below because we’d love to hear your take!

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Author: Jenangelx3

California based workaholic. Current mottos are “I don’t care” and “I’ll try almost anything once”. Interests include traveling, eating, video games, and weightlifting. Currently living life to the fullest, pursuing my happiness, and conquering my fears. Yoroshiku onegaishimasu!

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