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Road 96: Mile 0 Review – A Fitting Sequel

Road 96: Mile 0 is a narrative adventure game developed by DigixArt and published by Ravenscourt. I was able to preview the game last month ahead of it’s global release last night on April 4, 2023, on PC, Xbox, PlayStation and Nintendo Switch. I also interviewed Yoan Fanise, Co-founder of DigixArt and creator of Road 96 about the development process and what players could expect going into this sequely to Road 96 which you can read here. Having now played the full game, it’s a fantastic and emotional journey showing us the mindset of Zoe in the events leading up to Road 96.

The preview build gave me access to Act 1 of the story as we explore four areas within White Sands, Petria, and learn a little about best friends Zoe and Kaito. We play as a younger Zoe, a character from Road 96 (read our review of the first game here), and Kaito, a character from DigixArt’s first game from 2018, Lost in Harmony. The game throws you straight into a new minigame introduced to Road 96: Mile 0 and these are musical rides. They are on-rails sections with great music tracks that depict representations of the landscape mixed with the emotions of the characters at that time.

The musical rides are a lot of fun and the music tracks are excellent, however the actions of the characters like jumping over or crouching below obstacles or switching across rails isn’t done perfectly in time with the music like other rhythm-based games. This threw me off a little initially, though thankfully deaths only put you back a short distance, so it isn’t too much of a hindrance if you’re coming unstuck often. There were times where the camera angle made it difficult to judge where I needed to place the character, especially in the floating/flying sections. In general, these were a good change from the walking and talking segments.

Through conversations, action choices and paths on the musical rides, we see Zoe and Kaito can go down two different moral pathways, with outcomes swaying a meter towards either side. On one side, if we side with Zoe’s father’s ideals, do what’s best for the citizens 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.

From what I played of Act 1 in the preview, I could sense a connection between Zoe and Kaito. There were emotions starting to show and there was also something sinister going on in the background. From Act 2 onwards, the story really takes off and gets quite exciting and intriguing, driving me to play more and more. I found I was making different behaviour choices for Zoe in the preview of Act. Then when taking over and playing as Kaito, it was interesting to see things and make decisions from his perspective. You played a little bit of devil’s advocate in parts, and you could see why the characters are motivated to do the things they do. As the story progressed, I had a sense that certain things were going to happen, but I trusted my relationship decisions and carried on.

As we get to the final act, we start to see how decisions we made and things that happen in this game have shaped how Zoe starts out in the original Road 96. I loved that as the final act is coming to a close, we’re seeing a transition between the two games, and the end scenes are fantastic. There’s true emotion there for both Kaito and Zoe, and I had two feelings as the credits rolled. The first was that I really wanted to play Mile 0 again so I can make different choices and see if I can make some things change. My second thought was that I really want to play Road 96 again, so it’s a credit to the developers at DigixArt on crafting a sequel that is well worth playing and connecting the two so well together.

Overall, Road 96: Mile 0 is a very well designed and thoughtful sequel to an already fantastic game. The same gameplay style is as the first Road 96, with the addition of music rides which were a fun and bright distraction from the main gameplay loop. The game is relatively short, so a replay is definitely going to be on the cards.

This review utilised a Steam key provided by Plaion ANZ and Road 96: Mile 0 is available now on PC, Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo Switch.


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