Road 96: Mile 0 Review
Road 96 was a surprise hit in 2021 that focused on several teenagers trying to cross the border from the autocratic Petria into a nation in the north, and now fans have a follow-up released in the form of a prequel aptly titled Road 96: Mile 0. The game follows Kaito, a teenage boy grieving the loss of a close friend who has since developed a deep bond with Zoe, an important character from Road 96. With one being the daughter of Petria’s Oil Minister and the other being a boy from the oppressed working class, these two have highly contrasting backgrounds that somehow have managed to work against the odds.
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What makes Road 96: Mile 0 interesting from a narrative sense is not only its connection to the previous game, but it also acts as a follow-up to developer Digixart’s first game Lost in Harmony. While much of the cast comprises characters returning from Road 96, Kaito is one of the protagonists from Lost in Harmony, and not only follows up on that game’s story, but it also incorporates some of its gameplay into this new title. Unfortunately, Road 96: Mile 0 stumbles on many of the notes that made either of the studio’s previous games work so well and rushing a story that could have been an emotionally resonant lead-up to the previous game.
Like Lost in Harmony, this title places much of its action in imaginative segments called Rides that have Kaito and Zoe skating through their imaginations to the beat of a song for the sake of sorting through whatever is emotionally distressing them at the moment. There are where the title can offer some of its most striking visuals even if they lead to moments where it can be difficult distinguishing Kaito and Zoe from everything else happening, leading to some annoying deaths. This is only a minor gripe since players are never sent back too far in a song, and if anything, it would have been nice to see the Rides be expanded. Most of them only last a couple of…