Review- Rose & Camellia Collection Earnestly Approaches a Silly Premise 1
Image via WayForward and Nigoro

Review: Rose & Camellia Collection Earnestly Approaches a Silly Premise

Years and years ago, when you could still play Flash games on the internet, the Rose & Camellia series ended up becoming an icon. Nigoro turned Victorian-era slapping into a very serious and dramatic sport. Now, with help from WayForward and Limited Run Games, this series is further saved from extinction via the Rose & Camellia Collection for the Switch. It’s exactly what a fan might want, though the control options might not always be ideal.

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Rose & Camellia Collection features five games. The four Rose & Camellia collections are power struggles among women within or tied to the Tsubakikoji family. Players’ protagonists attempt to prove themselves by taking down the other members. So Reiko is fighting to become the matriarch in the first game. Saori, her sister in law, strikes back in the sequel and attempts to dethrone Reiko. Rose & Camellia vs. La-Mulana features Mulbruk slapping other female characters from the series to become the heroine. Note that the Rose & Camellia vs The House in Fata Morgana isn’t present here, though. 

Basically, Rose & Camellia Collection is a compilation of boxing-style, gimmick games that actually had a lot of care and effort put into them. In each entry, your avatar will be pitted against an opponent. Your viewpoint is from behind them, with an over-the-shoulder look at the person in desperate need of a good slap. Each character has a certain number of health points, indicated by flowers. Attacks whittle them down, though there are also on-screen visual indicators of how well your enemy is doing. (They also have tells that let you know if they are about to actually hit you.) You take turns slapping each other, until one person’s health runs out.

So, as for those controls. Basically, the input options pay tribute to the fact that the original Flash game involved swiping with your mouse across the screen to slap or dodge. So, you have two options here. If your system isn’t docked or you are going through one of the campaigns, it defaults to the touch screen controls. You either swipe left or right in order to slap an opponent or dodge an attack. If you are docked or choose versus, I’ve found it defaults to motion controls. In that case, you hold the A button and flick your wrist to slap or hold the L or R trigger and flick to dodge. 

The issue is, the five games eventually end up demanding perfection. You only start with Rose & Camellia, the versus mode with characters like Reiko and Saori available, and Rose & Camellia vs La-Mulana if you tick the box in options. Gaining access to more games and characters means you actually need to slap everybody and live to tell the tale. Foes that appear later in campaigns are more difficult! If you aren’t precise and exactly dodging or hitting them, you’ll lose! Which means you don’t unlock more characters and games! 

So honestly, I feel like the lack of a more conventional control scheme as a third option does Rose & Camellia Collection a disservice on the Switch. Especially since there isn’t also a calibration options in the settings so you can better adjust inputs to ensure improved accuracy. It left me concerned that some people might not take a chance on it or make the most of the games. I do appreciate the “equal HP” option in the settings, however. Also, though it doesn’t tell you it is saving, once you unlock an opponent in one of the campaigns, you can then resume that story from that fight. 

Especially since this is such a gorgeous package. Nigoro really did a lovely job with the Rose & Camellia games originally, and this new edition with WayForward’s assistance really helps. The voice acting is great. The translations for all of the games, including the new-to-the-west Rose & Camellia 3 and 4, are so well done and often hilarious. The details for character designs, especially as you get further into the fights, are great. The music is lovely. It’s a complete package.

Rose & Camellia Collection is one of those collections of gimmick games that are way better than they have any right to be. There are some downsides to it, such as only offering touch or motion control scheme options and locking games behind the completion of other titles. It is incredibly silly though, and quite a fun title to play alone or with friends. 

Rose & Camellia Collection is available on the Nintendo Switch. 

7
Rose & Camellia Collection

Slap your way to the top of high society! Grace and glamour give way to open-handed duels across five games of aristocratic absurdity - Rose & Camellia 1, 2, 3, & 4, plus Rose & Camellia vs. La-Mulana - in which you'll slap, dodge, feint, and counter your way through a series of one-on-one smackdowns. Switch version reviewed. Review copy provided by company for testing purposes.

Rose & Camellia Collection is a gimmick game that 100% commits to the bit in a delightful way, though the control options may frustrate some.


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Author
Jenni Lada
Jenni is Editor-in-Chief at Siliconera and has been playing games since getting access to her parents' Intellivision as a toddler. She continues to play on every possible platform and loves all of the systems she owns. (These include a PS4, Switch, Xbox One, WonderSwan Color and even a Vectrex!) You may have also seen her work at GamerTell, Cheat Code Central, Michibiku and PlayStation LifeStyle.