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Road 96: Mile 0 Preview Impressions

Road 96: Mile 0 is a narrative adventure game developed by DigixArt and published by Ravenscourt. It’s set for release on April 4, 2023, on PC, Xbox, PlayStation and Nintendo Switch and is a prequel to 2021’s Road 96. If you didn’t play the first game or want a quick refresher, you can read Daniel’s review of Road 96 here. I have been playing a preview build of the game that covers Act 1 as we explore four areas within White Sands, Petria, and learn a little about best friends Zoe and Kaito. While the core gameplay is the same as Road 96, a new gameplay element added with Mile 0 is Musical Rides that are fun with some awesome musical tracks.

This game has us playing as a younger Zoe, a character from Road 96, and Kaito, a character from DigixArt’s first game from 2018, Lost in Harmony. Minigames were a great thing in Road 96 to break up the walking simulator gameplay, and I was glad to see them return in this prequel. This preview opened with an introduction to the new minigame of Musical Rides which look to have taken inspiration from a similar element of Lost in Harmony. It’s an on-rails section with awesome musical tracks as we skate, slide and grind along paths, streets and rails, collecting glowing diamonds and dodging obstacles.

Both characters have different beliefs, and we find out early on that both have upsetting events from their past to the point that Zoe gets anxiety whenever a particular topic is raised. The music tracks selected by the developers perfectly set the tone and emotion of times where we see Zoe and Kaito talk about their feelings and what their next plans are. We learn that Zoe comes from the rich side of the city and her father works for the government. Whereas Kaito comes from a poor family living in a less privileged area, and it will be up to the player as to whether they take advantage of Zoe’s status or choose to work around it.

Through conversations, action choices and paths on the musical rides, we see Zoe can go down two different moral pathways, with outcomes swaying a meter towards either side. On one side, if we side with our father’s ideals, do what’s best for the citizens we meet and perform actions like fixing torn posters or painting over graffiti, we will swing the ideals to the left. If you choose to tear down posters, graffiti walls and generally act rebellious, it will swing to the right. Each decision has an impact and will work toward alternate endings for the game.

Throughout my playthrough of Act 1, I wanted to do the right thing such as pick up trash and fix torn posters, but I found this meant going against some actions and requests from Kaito. In the new Musical Rides segments, you will come to forks in the road where you will choose which way to progress either of those moral pathways. Sometimes I was happy to go along with Kaito’s actions, while other times I felt I shouldn’t, and so I can see players have some different approaches to these decisions and outcomes for the game. These musical rides were more about listening to the awesome 90’s tunes. You can listen to one such track called ‘Land Locked Heart’ by The Midnight over on YouTube.

The story was just starting to get interesting when I got to the end of the preview, and I was hungry for more. I really enjoyed the moments where you can just walk around, sitting down to eat a burger and have a drink while listening to the radio or putting in a cassette tape that Kaito gives you. The minigames of hammering nails and drawing graffiti, while involving simple gameplay mechanics, allows you to have a bit of fun with the interactions and comments between Zoe and Kaito. There was certainly an emotional connection between the two that I look forward to delving deeper into when the game releases next month.

I was fortunate to be able to ask some questions of the developers about their development team, what they enjoyed most about working on these games and a little about what players can expect. You can read the interview here. This preview utilised a key provided by Plaion ANZ and Road 96: Mile 0 will launch on April 4, 2023, on PC, Xbox, PlayStation and Nintendo Switch.


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