Suda51’s latest offering happens to be found with a bunch of short anime films.
This is something a bit different on offer from Bandai Namco – Short Peace: Ranko Tsukigime’s Longest Day is a compilation containing four short anime movies and a videogame, all on one disc for the PlayStation 3. The movies themselves, which are all quite excellent, showcase the creative skills of a variety of powerhouse Japanese directors, including the creator of the now classic Akira. To match these talented individuals, the videogame on offer comes from none other than Lollipop Chainsaw’s Suda51, so don’t be surprised when you find something a little bit quirky in the gameplay.
Opening with a nicely polished anime cut scene, the players are introduced to schoolgirl Ranko Tsukigime. She seems like any other schoolgirl, but she leads a slightly strange life outside of school. Her father is incredibly rich and owns a whole bunch of underground car parks, one of which she actually lives in, which is different. Ranko’s father was also responsible for the death of her mother, and avenging her mother is something which drives Ranko to lead some kind of secret life as a kick-ass assassin type. It’s all very nicely portrayed on the screen, with plenty of style.
When it comes to the actual gameplay, there is a certain amount of style to the way things look, but it does feel somewhat underwhelming after the animated intro. In the style of a side-scrolling endless running game, the screen is zoomed out until Ranko is much smaller and much less detailed. The backdrops are nicely done, not that the player will have much time to enjoy them as they run from left to right, and there is a colourful digital confetti effect that the players will be exposed to as they defeat their enemies. As I said, it’s stylish.
While the game may look like an endless runner, it is in fact the player that is doing the running as they are pursued by a cloud of demonic hands which spell game over. So the player must keep running from left to right, jumping over obstacles, wall jumping onto higher platforms and dispatching the numerous bad guys that stand in her way.
Most of the enemies are taken care of with a quick slash of the sword, causing them to explode into the digital confetti and possibly cause a chain reaction that destroys other enemies on the screen. Destroying these abstract enemies serves two purposes – firstly it keeps the way clear for Ranko to continue running, picking up quite a speed as long as stumbles are avoided – secondly it provides ammunition for Ranko’s other weapon. This second weapon is needed to keep the demonic hands that are chasing Ranko at bay, and almost serve as additional lives.
As the player progresses through the levels, the gameplay is tweaked a little from the side-scrolling formula to include the likes of boss battles or vertical levels, with one level even offering retro graphics for novelty effect. There are alternate paths in most levels, tempting the player to come back and try again for a faster time or higher score. Also adding to the replay factor are hidden collectibles that the player can uncover as they progress.
Which is quite handy as the game is obviously designed to be replayed, something which is evident by just how short it is. There are only some 10 levels in total, and they are all quite short. Score chasers will be the most tempted to come back for more, trying to increase their combo chains or improve their time. However, many gamers will likely find that improving their game or unlocking new outfits for Ranko will just not be enough to convince them to run through again.
Visually Ranko Tsukigime’s Longest Day is quite the feast for the senses, and the gameplay for what its worth is quite entertaining. But it is just too short, and the interesting story of Ranko and her quest for vengeance never seems to pay out in end, leaving the player feeling somewhat at a loss as they find themselves back at the menu screen.
While there is no connection between the individual movies and the game, Short Peace is obviously something that needs to be appreciated as a whole package. Gamers who are not fans of anime will find that the game is both too short and lacking in any depth to warrant the asking price. As a bundle for fans of Japanese anime and quirky gaming, Short Peace is a nice collection, but fans of Suda51’s very distinct brand of gaming craziness may do better to wait for his next full game to get their fix. The score reflects only the videogame, not the whole Short Peace package.