A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
The game features strong themes of friendship, as well as choice and consequence. The game's setting establishes a world of harsh division between upper and lower classes, but also shows how people can choose to follow their own paths regardless of their backgrounds.
Positive Role Models
Zoe and Kaito come from completely different backgrounds, but have a strong friendship despite these differences. They look out for each other and try to help any way they can. The class divide in their world causes a lot of friction between the upper and lower class, which can lead to violent consequences. Player's choices dictate where Zoe and Kaito fall in that conflict, as well as how far they go down a positive or negative path.
While Zoe and Kaito are add some diversity in terms of their genders and ethnicities, the game does rely heavily on stereotypical representations in terms of class and privilege, and how they are represented from an ethnic standpoint.
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Ease of Play
The game's split between story driven dialogue choice and exploration sections and rhythm based arcade style gameplay sections. The former is simply a matter of looking around and making character decision, while the latter requires reflexes and timing to collect points and complete quick time events for a high score.
Violence & Scariness
While there's not any graphic depictions of violence, the game does feature some intensely intimidating scenes with portrayals of both realistic and exaggerated violence. There are also scenes which depict acts of terrorism, including bombs and explosions that are described as having killed innocent people.
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Some occasional profanity appears, though censored visually, in the dialogue. Also, some profanity, such as "s--t," occasionally appears in the lyrics of the game's music.
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Products & Purchases
This is a prequel to 2022's Road 96.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Road 96: Mile 0 is a downloadable adventure game available on the Xbox Series, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and on Windows based PCs. The game is a prequel to 2022's adventure Road 96. Players take control of two friends as they navigate through a world of class divide and authoritarian, elitist government rule. While the game doesn't have graphic or bloody depictions of violence, there are some intensely dramatic scenes of both exaggerated and realistic violence, including flashbacks of a past supposed terrorist bombing. The dialogue includes some profanity that's censored onscreen, though some profanity is uncensored in the lyrics of the game's music.
Is It Any Good?
Ralph Waldo Emerson famously said, "It's not the destination, it's the journey." When it comes to Road 96: Mile 0 though, the journey is one that can't ever quite find a sense of direction. A prequel to Road 96, the good news is that you don't need to be familiar with the events of the original game to understand what's happening in this one. The bad news is that even if you did play the original, you might have a hard time following what's going on here. One minute you're distracting your dad so your friend can sneak in for a visit or pushing a kid on a swing via quick time events, and then you're having a deep conversation about class oppression and sharing traumatic memories, before you're inexplicably roller skating up the side of a building trying to dodge attacks from a kaiju sized version of your newly hired bodyguard. And that's just the first fifteen minutes or so.
Taken as separate pieces, the game isn't bad. The problem is, the game is trying to do too much of everything at once without much rhyme or reason. There are a couple of different stories going on at once each with its own point of view that present players with different choices and resulting in different consequences. On its own, that would be enough to make the story difficult to keep track of. But then the game shifts into these surreal arcade style rhythmic skating sections that challenge players to race for an otherwise meaningless high score that seems to be there for no reason other than to try and entice them to keep replaying the sections. These sudden shifts in tone, story, gameplay, and the like interrupt whatever flow the game tries to build, creating a whiplash effect on this otherwise entertaining (if not bumpy) road trip.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.