Parents' Guide to

Road 96: Mile 0

By David Chapman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Adventure prequel is an interesting yet bumpy road trip.

Road 96: Mile 0 pack art featuring Zoe and Kaito

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What you will—and won't—find in this game.

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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.

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