Save Koch Nintendo Switch

Save Koch Review

Sometimes I wonder why we play stressful games. Then, I remember the immense satisfaction that comes from overcoming them. Enter Save Koch, a solo experience that will have you hunched over in a cold sweat trying to save a Mob Boss’s bacon. Although each round is timed, it will take hours of concentration to uncover everything this game has to offer. 

Each round has a random solution, but begins the same way: Jeffrey Koch gets a tip that he’ll be killed in a week – unless he can hunt down the mastermind. Confined to his panic room, Koch has three ways to interact with the world: his suspect board, his tablet, and his incessantly-ringing phone. The goal is to gather clues on a growing list of characters – all while staying afloat amidst churning chaos. 

With only four goons in the field, many tablet missions will fall through the cracks – so you need to focus on what’s important for that particular round.

The moment you gain control, time starts ticking – and it does not stop for anything. There’s no tutorial: this is a textbook trial-by-fire. Your first order of business is choosing which associates to command through the tablet. In the beginning, your only options are a drunk detective, a thief horse, and a very good dog who is great at medicine and torture. Backing them up is your right hand, Burmy the rat. Other associates can be unlocked for future playthroughs. I found it difficult to navigate the tablet’s map with the controller, and preferred using the touchscreen here.

Tablet missions are timed, and it’s impossible to do them all, so prioritisation is key. It’s important to avoid sending your associates on ill-fitting missions, risking failure. However, it’s never explained exactly what each associate is good at beyond their title. For example, sending Scooter the dog to interrogate someone is clearly a good decision since torture is his speciality, but he could apparently perish while doing surveillance – and then you’ll have to silence his widow! That’s right – every decision has consequences. 

Make no decision lightly – it’s not just Koch’s life at stake. He’s got loyal-ish associates and a 14-year-old daughter to protect.

Now, factor in the back-to-back phone calls you’re getting all the while. Dialogue choices are also highly consequential, so you’re again forced to prioritise, blowing some callers off with rude remarks so you can get back to the tablet. In phone calls, we’re treated to detailed character portraits that show off the game’s comic book style. There’s no voice acting or shift in the ominous music, but the dialogue sparkles with personality. For many characters, there’s a backstory to be explored if you can sacrifice the time.

Some conversations are game-changing, while others are annoying. If only Koch had Caller ID!

Every clue will be compiled on the board, where you can surmise whether someone is acting against Koch, or just being their usual vile selves. Characters’ intentions change each game; an ally in one round might be the mastermind in the next. When you’re ready to strike, choose a target and prepare for pandemonium. If you dilly-dally, the mastermind will make their move. Win or lose, you’re treated to one of several cutscenes depending on the circumstance – but my game often froze here. Luckily, there’s a Gallery to re-watch them in the main menu.

Although each round of Save Koch is a time investment, you can save and quit at any time. There’s no save state, though – decisions are final. And, indeed, some things will inevitably fall through the cracks. Failing to protect Koch’s teenage daughter, killing angry widows, burning bridges – it hurts. Successfully saving Koch will leave you with a mixture of real emotions – and an itch to do it all over again.

Save Koch £17.99


Between a strict time limit, ruthless enemies, and heavy consequences, Save Koch is an intense sleuthing experience that’s held back by minor technical issues. Each round is unique enough to give this game a healthy shelf life.