Let’s see how far I can get through this Short Peace Ranko Tsukigimes Longest Day Review without saying ‘Goichi Suda is a bit crazy’ or something else along those lin-… oh dear, looks like just I did. I got about 16 words in. Is that okay? Still, that’s probably 16 more than everyone else managed.
Suda 51 wears his crazy like a badge of honour. It’s what he trades off and he’s made a pretty good name for himself in the sphere of super-odd, super-niche Japanese Gaming. His game’s are never ‘brilliant’ – preferring instead to mark themselves out as ‘interesting’. With the exception Lollipop Chainsaw, I’ve always found his work to be just that. ‘Interesting’ and, more to the point, ‘memorable’ in one way or another – and as a result I’ve always been drawn to his new releases.
Short Peace, if you’ve not already heard, is actually a compilation of four animated shorts – and Ranko Tsukigime’s Longest Day is the fifth part of that, only in Videogame form. I guess it makes sense to tackle that part of the package first – given that this is primarily a videogames website.
You play the titular Ranko Tsukigime, a high school student that lives in a car park. She also wants to kill her father – and what better way to do so that to run really fast through a maze of underground tunnels.
At it’s heart, it’s a side scroller – you run from left to right, being chased by a demon – if it catches you, it’s game over. To help you overcome any obstacles, you can jump, hover, slide down slopes and wall jump. It’s a basic moveset that you’ll need to use with some sharp timing in order to maintain momentum ahead of the always-chasing menace.
You can also attack any enemies that stand, or float, in your way – and destroying these enemies builds meter which you can use to shoot behind you in case your pursuer gets a little too close for comfort. The stages are short (as in, a couple of minutes), but there are multiple routes throughout – which you’ll need to replay and explore if you’re going to uncover the wealth of unlockables on offer.
At spoints, you’ll also come to a number of challenges which mix up the play style, from retro-style platform-fighter to a simple shooter which helps break up the action. You’ll also be treated to a number of short anime cut-scenes which vary wildly in artistic style, are always a great watch and never cease to amuse or surprise – and in one instance qualifying as, perhaps, one of the weirdest things I’ve ever seen. In a good way.
It’s all very enjoyable in a lazy Sunday afternoon kind of way. However it would be wrong of me not to point out that it’s a game that’s very, very light in terms of content – regardless of how much fun I had with it – and though you’ll get enjoyment from replaying for unlocks and better times – I’d be surprised if if you were still playing a week from purchase. I managed to get from start to finish in under an hour on my first play through.
Along with the game come the four anime shorts, Possessions, Gambo, Farewell to Weapons and Combustible – none of them are really connected to each other outside their underlying theme of Japan past and future. The standout short films here are undoubtedly ‘Possessions’ (wandering Samurai stuck in a haunted shrine) which went on to receive an Academy Award nomination, and ‘Farewell to Weapons’ about a couple of guys disarming tanks in post-apocalyptic Tokyo.
There’s no doubting the quality of the animation in any of these shorts – and they provide a great snapshot of Japans standing in the world of animation (still awesome, basically) but much like Ranko Tsukigime – they are very short indeed.
Which leaves me with the task of whether to recommend this ‘game’ to you. It’s times like this that I’m so pleased Rice has a No Score Policy – because it’s the kind of thing that would unfairly undermine a ‘game’ like Short Peace.
Short Peace Ranko Tsukigimes Longest Day is, first and foremost, a curio – a collectors item. If you’re looking for a videogame purchase that’s going to supply you with a month’s worth of solid game time, then you definitely won’t find it here. Lightweight though it is, I enjoyed it on it’s own merits – and, for me, personally, I’m glad I have it in my collection. It satisfies my craving for the unique and slightly weird.
In the same way that I wouldn’t dismiss a piece of art for being ‘too small’, or a film for being ‘too short’ – I’m not going to stick the knife into Short Peace for how much it doesn’t give you. It is what it is, I like the fact that it exists. I like the fact that it was made. I’m buying it less for it’s longevity as a videogame, and more because, as a package of nice animation with a curious little game inside it, I want it as part of my collection.
If you have a similar outlook on your games, anime and manga collection as me – then it won’t disappoint.
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