A new school year has just begun, and in the spirit of the beginning of a new school year, I have decided to write a review of Road 96 , a new theme park that opened only two months ago. Road 96 is not a typical theme park. In fact, it is only the second theme park in the country to feature not one but two separate theme parks. The first, the “Challenge Amusement Park”, is a 20-minute drive from the main park. The challenge park is home to the “Challenge Amusement Park” which consists of a large roller coaster and a number of other rides.

World Cup fever is in full swing as the biggest sporting event in the world draws more and more fans by the hour. But what is the World Cup? The answer is simple: it is soccer’s biggest event and it takes place every four years. But it is more difficult to explain the World Cup to people unfamiliar with soccer.

As a senior in high school, I was always active in sports. I played soccer and basketball during the school year and, in the summer, I played football and water polo. I had so much fun playing sports during high school, but most of all, I loved the feeling of being part of a team. Although I played soccer competitively and had a great time, I was always a bench warmer.

One of the benefits of creating an independent game is that you can be more open about content that divides people. While AAA games often use political issues as a superficial background for gunfights, independent developers with political ambitions are more forthright in their message.

A good example of such a project is Route 96. Its politics are inextricably linked to its narrative, but as a choose-your-own-adventure game, its message is often confused.

The Digixart team seems to want everyone to paint the globe in their own political hues and see what kind of landscape results. While the number of potential branching is amazing, the situations may seem forced and juvenile at times.

Review of Road 96: The Barriers That Separate Us

The country of Petria is on the verge of a major turning point in Road 96. President Tyrak, who is running for re-election on the far right, has left the nation in shambles, and as a consequence, many young people are fleeing to the northern border in quest of rescue. Not all teenagers will make it to the end of the journey, both literally and metaphorically.

To begin, you play as one of a half-dozen randomly generated teenagers, each with distinct characteristics such as pocket money, health bar size, and distance from the border. Following then, each episode’s scenario introduces you to one of many recurrent side characters.

On a motorbike, two bandits are on the lookout for a murderer. There’s a far-right news commentator who is blissfully unaware of the vitriol directed at her. There’s a little girl on the journey with your cast of teenagers, and more. 

Each scenario is created using a combination of randomness and player agency. If you hitchhike, for example, you may meet a young hacker kid who is traveling in the same direction as you. Hailing a taxi, on the other hand, may put you in the back seat of a driver with rage issues. 

On their journey, each playable adolescent will encounter many of these people, and no two journeys will ever be the same, neither within a playthrough nor, more impressively, among players. It’s always thrilling to arrive on one of these branching pathways, at least at first. On the background of social upheaval, the specifics of a situation may sometimes seem trivial.

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I was thrown into the position of videographer for a state media commentator who was broadcasting live from the site of a Tyrak speech, but I was able to derail it by concentrating on billboards and protestors supporting his opponent, Torres. My deception eventually erupted into a ruckus, but the long-term impact of my activities was a small increase in support for the Torres ticket.

In another scenario, I assisted a long-haul trucker and resistance leader, Cyrano de Bergerac, in flirting with his star-crossed would-be lover and state policeman. It was nice, but not quite as moving as it appeared to be aiming for.

Each scenario follows a similar pattern: an unforeseeable stumbling block falls at your feet, you work your way through it in a manner that is both politically charged and distinctively gamified, and then you make a tiny but quantifiable difference in the nation as a whole.  

When the narrative begins a few months before the election, the game openly declares that the right-wing politician is the antagonist, and the authors make it simple to avoid any issue when Tyrak is collecting up and murdering adolescent border-crossers. It transforms what might have been a complex political tale about eroding fascism into a young adult book, where personalities are over-the-top and everyone, like the Power Rangers, is soaked in their distinguishing characteristics.

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While Road 96’s political ambitions are often dashed, its personal tales are much more compelling. That hacker is hellbent on undermining the Tyrak bid, but he’s also eager for information about his biological parents, who perished in a terrorism-related incident ten years ago.

While the game intends to split players along political lines by having them play Cupid to the trucker and policeman, I was more attracted to their itinerant relationship as a love tale.

Each tale threads into the next by improving these connections. The longer you play Road 96, the more you discover how these strangers are more linked than they know, and the dramatic irony of watching that merge before the characters themselves is intriguing, and it had me playing Road 96 anxious to see where it all went.

Mini-games ranging from capturing news video to hacking to pseudo-stealth may be found interspersed throughout each episode. These sequences are basically on-rails for the most part, with just a few fail situations endangering your progress. But the diversity is smart, and I felt like there was much more to see on a second playing, both in terms of narrative and gameplay.

Road 96 is first and foremost an adventure game about the choices you make. They’re frequently difficult and a little ridiculous, but the ones that seem the most real and sincere are the ones that made Road 96 a success, even if for reasons other than those that Digixart appeared to concentrate on.

Aside from the primary draw, which is the game’s narrative, the music is often excellent. As players acquire cassettes from characters as prizes, a diverse selection of music may frequently be played on-demand in the game. Road 96’s soundtrack is one of my favorites of the year, with a strong dosage of synthpop but a mix that spans many artists and genres.

The Bottom Line of the Road 96 Review

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Pros

  • Human drama with interwoven episodes
  • A fantastic soundtrack that incorporates a wide range of artists and genres.
  • It’s fun to change the narrative in subtle and apparent ways.

Cons

  • In manufactured situations, political drama frequently seems lost.
  • Its meaning is muddled

“When is violence the appropriate reaction to a tyrannical regime?” and “Is voting alone enough to repair a flawed system?” are among the difficult issues that Road 96 sets out to address. However, it never quite manages to address those questions at the conclusion. While the film’s politics take center stage, I was most taken by Road 96’s human drama.

Although the game’s flexibility makes it worthwhile to go on your own road journey and see how Petria looks for you on election day, it’s the characters’ metaphorical barriers that seem more fascinating than the story’s actual border walls.

[Note: The copy of Road 96 used for this review was supplied by Digixart.]

The Walls that Divide Us, a documentary film made up of more than 200 interviews with individuals from all walks of life – young, old, rich, poor, black, white, black and white, Muslim, Muslim and atheist, Palestinian, Israeli, and so on – and more than 15,000 photographs of protesters on the West Bank and in Gaza, has been released in the UK. It will be shown in cinemas across the country and online.. Read more about road 96 gameplay and let us know what you think.

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