We will start this review in a slightly different way than usual, because from the technicalities that spoiled the reception of Road 96 and the pleasure that comes from the game. If you were planning to buy a production from Digixart studio for Switch, I strongly advise against it. In the port for this platform, literally everything that could be broken has been broken. The game looks tragic, the optimization is dead, the teeth ache from the drop in frames, and the gameplay is not adapted to rain. Okay, I got it out of my mind, now I can focus on what’s good about Road 96, and there’s quite a lot of it.
Before you set off, you should get to know the team
What distinguishes Road 96 from other storming adventure games is the plot and the way it is told. The game takes us to the fictional state of Petria, headed by the authoritarian ruler, President Tyrak. As you can imagine, the situation in the country is dire, which particularly affects young people. Teenagers in pursuit of a better and safer life are trying to illegally cross the border to which the title Road 96 leads. Of course, the hard-handed state abounds in troops of services sealing the border and catching refugees. The task is not made easier by a huge wall (sounds familiar?) And a range of high mountains, so regardless of the path taken, any attempt to cross to the other side will be risky. Hope for change can also be seen in the upcoming elections and the growing power of the protesters who express their opposition more and more boldly. During our adventure, we will also cross roads with Black Brigades – quite a radical and notorious group of fighters.
I must admit that the Digixart studio chose a rather difficult story to tell, but it completely coped with its depiction. Only Tyrak seems suspiciously mild for an authoritarian ruler and does not go so far as to what we can know from history textbooks when he protests. And even if his actions do not necessarily match the character of the character, I am able to believe it for the purposes of the game. In addition to the main plot, we will also get involved in the stories of the characters encountered during their journey. I must admit that it was discovering the events of their lives that gave me the most pleasure. Moreover, the decisions we make shape how the story unfolds. And so, as a fugitive, we will be able to take part in a bank robbery, a police chase or the production of computer games. There are a lot of such mini-stories here and they are engaging.
Old shoes and empty wallet
In practice, the gameplay looks like that as a player we play the role of other teenagers trying to escape the country.Traveling through the next parts of the route, we will actively take part in interestingly designed events. I do not think it will surprise anyone that they will not always have a happy ending. If we do not take care of money, we will not be able to afford a bus or food, if our life bar drops to zero, we die. When we fall on the trail, we will not learn part of the story, which is quite painful, admittedly. Road 96, however, is not a particularly demanding game in terms of the survival itself and is based on simple and intuitive rules. However, it has its downside, as the generally heavy atmosphere has made me a bit bothered by the fact that it is enough to drink a can in order to be able to jump on the mountain crossing.
Once a goat’s death!
When we reach the border, we have to decide on the method of escape. If we can save some cash, we’ll be able to bribe the guard. If we come to the end in good health, we can try to cross the mountains. It’s important not to get caught or killed. It is worth noting that the skills unlocked during one of the journeys are transferred to the next character. Thanks to special abilities, we gain additional dialogue options or facilities during exploration. However, this does not apply to collected memories, so even despite the knowledge we have on a subject, we will not be able to use it.
It’s a bit boring to save the country
Aside from the constant talk and decision making, Road 96 doesn’t have a lot of meaty action. Sometimes, for variety, the game will throw you in the face with a simple mini-game in the style of air hockey or pong. Unfortunately, they are implemented in a very poor way and bring a completely opposite effect to the intended effect. Exploration is more interesting, because with a bit of luck we can find food, some cash or keys that will allow us to steal a car and travel in a comfortable way for the next several hundred miles. There could be some collectibles. Their role is played by cassette tapes with the hits of the 90s, which we can listen to on a car radio or jukeboxes scattered around the premises. So simple and so happy.
Let’s live this one more time
The great advantage of Road 96 is its replayability. I must admit that it was a long time since I wanted to start my adventure all over again after seeing the credits. I would love to see how history is influenced by different decisions and a different sequence of events. I will not do it, however, due to the previously mentioned technical problems, which simply put the game disgustingly. It took me about 8-9 hours to finish Road 96, which is quite a decent time. For those who are not satisfied with a single playthrough, there is a new game + mode.
Is Road 96 worth playing?
Road 96 is an original game and there is no doubt about it.In addition, there is a rather strong story that can be remembered and leave a mark for a little longer. However, I cannot help feeling that the work of Digixart studio would be much more valuable if more attention was paid to refining the gameplay layer. However, I must point out that the low rating shown below is a result of how the game looks on the Nintendo console. From what I’ve observed, the players playing Road 96 on PC have a completely different opinion about the graphics.
Play on PC and be a winner!
The Switch has long ceased to be a target platform for playing turkeys and once again proves that it cannot cope with productions theoretically created for it. Road 96 with its simple, but quite nice graphics and episodic structure should be identical to the Nintendo console. Meanwhile, what switch owners must play is calling for vengeance to heaven. Therefore, it is not worth spoiling your experience and it is better to immediately reach for the PC version, which not only offers high smoothness of the game, but also looks incomparably better, thanks to the higher resolution and numerous graphic effects such as shadows and detailed lighting, which you will not find on the Nintendo console. So if you are considering the purchase of Road 96 for PC (and you should), feel free to add one more point to Kuba’s rating.
Road 96 from the PC version
Road 96 from the PC version.