Hello Kitty Island Adventure console preview – a wonderfully pleasant time

Hello Kitty Island Adventure is coming to the Switch, and it could be very good for me... and very bad for my time management.
Hello Kitty Island Adventure

I’ve not owned an Apple device since the iPhone 4s, so when Apple Arcade exclusives come along and blow up huge like Hello Kitty Island Adventure did last year, all I’ve been able to do is stare at my Pixel with a longing sigh.

Thankfully, in this one particular instance, I can feel left out in the cold no longer – Hello Kitty Island Adventure is making its way to Switch and PC in 2025, with a PlayStation 4 and 5 release to follow some time after.

I got to have a hands-on with the Switch build of Hello Kitty Island Adventure at Summer Game Fest while chatting with a member of the team from Sunblink Entertainment, and what I experienced was a wonderfully pleasant time indeed. In my personal case, somewhat worryingly so.

Read: Hello Kitty Island Adventure gets fantasy-themed Imagination Celebration

It’s Switch time for Hello Kitty Island Adventure

Firstly, the Switch has timed exclusivity for consoles. One awesome feature of this port is that in addition to featuring controller support, it’s also fully playable with touch screen input – exactly the same way as the iOS version is. The developer laughed while explaining this to me, saying that because of this fact it’s also been the easiest version to do build debugging on, as he can just bring up the on-screen keyboard and touch-type with it.

Their intent is to release it with full content parity with the iOS version, which meant that my introduction to the island was amusingly chock-full of content from the Gudetama event that began in May. I was told that the updates the iOS version sees every six weeks will continue, and that any which arrive after the launch of these new ports will be available as DLC. 

I’d wondered about how the whole thing would be monetised on these new platforms, given that the original iOS version is available exclusively as part of the paid Apple Arcade subscription service. They weren’t really ready to talk in detail about that yet, beyond stating that it’s going to be sold as a premium game with an up-front fee.

Hello Kitty Island Adventure
Image: Sunblink Entertainment

They’ve promised that these ports will feature no paid microtransactions or premium currencies, just as the original version doesn’t. They’ll have a difficult tightrope to walk with these decisions, as players are generally much more tolerant of having to make slow, steady progress in ‘free’ smartphone games than they are in paid console ones, especially ones with a full AAA price-tag.

At the same time, a physical Switch release could blow up massively with a more casual audience or as a gift for young kids, but the optics of pricing a smartphone game port at retail are inherently messy to navigate.

Having never played the original release, I can’t really speak to what’s new or different. It ran well, even as the unfinished and unpolished build that it was. At one point I visited a shop and was told that every player is granted a random daily selection of items available to purchase in it, so visiting the islands of friends to check out their shop’s inventory is something you can do.

Hello Kitty Island Adventure
Image: Sunblink Entertainment

Having obsessed over Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth’s similar Dendoko Island mode earlier this year, I was curious if other islands were able to be visited while their owner is offline. The answer was sadly no, but I was told that the host is free to be doing their own thing in the game while you shop at their store, so that’s something at least.

Now here’s why I stated earlier that my enjoyment of Hello Kitty Island Adventure during the preview session was worrying for me personally: I was obsessed with Animal Crossing: New Leaf on the 3DS. Like, really obsessed.

I was working as a manager at a games store when it came out, and with my customers and my housemates also being hugely into the game, it genuinely was the key thing that my life revolved around, for a solid two months. I still have such strong memories of how bad the obsession got that when Animal Crossing: New Horizons landed on Switch I had to make the healthy decision for myself to stay the hell away from it.

The best thing I can say about Hello Kitty Island Adventure is that even after just half an hour I could feel it getting its adorable little claws in me. It may well also be the worst thing I can say about it, depending on your (or, more pertinently, my partner’s) point of view.

Hello Kitty Island Adventure is available now on Apple Arcade, and will release on Switch and PC in 2025 with PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 to follow. 

Jam Walker is a games and entertainment journalist from Melbourne, Australia. They hold a bachelor's degree in game design from RMIT but probably should have gotten a journalism one instead. You can find them talking entirely too much about wrestling on Twitter @Jamwa