Review: SHORT PEACE: Ranko Tsukigime’s Longest Day (PS3)

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Title: SHORT PEACE: Ranko Tsukigime’s Longest Day (PS3)
Format: PlayStation Network Download (3.3 GB)
Release Date: September 30, 2014
Publisher: Bandai Namco Games America
Developer: Crispy’s Inc. / Grasshopper Manufacture
Original MSRP: $39.99
ESRB Rating: M
Ranko Tsukigime’s Longest Day is exclusive to PlayStation 3.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Editor’s Note:
Ranko Tsukigime’s Longest Day is part of a movie/video game package called SHORT PEACE which includes the game and four short-films. The game itself is a continuation of the SHORT PEACE film series, but in the form of both a short-film and a game. The review of the SHORT PEACE movie can be found here.

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Ranko Tsukigime is not your average seventeen year old; she has her friends, Moeko and Kirara, goes to High School, karaoke, but she has a mysterious side to her. Ranko’s father is the owner of Tsukigime Enterprises, which is one of the largest monthly parking companies in the world, and the reason some people call her “Meter Maid.” After leaving school for the day, she goes home to where she lives in a large automated parking structure and has fashioned several shipping crates as rooms to a house, each room being whisked around by an automated robotic parking system. As she readies herself to go to battle, you hear of her plan to seek revenge on her mother’s killer.

Gameplay:
The game itself combines rather lengthy anime cutscenes with a two-dimensional side-scrolling platformer, similar to Strider. The controls are pretty simple: use the Left Analog Stick to move, Square to use your sword, Cross to jump (hold to float for a period of time), and the L1 trigger to shoot your weapon.

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Each stage has a beginning and a goal at the end and is populated by various enemies that, once hit with the sword, splatter into pieces which take out any nearby enemies. The key to this game is speed because if you don’t move there will be some sort of monster(s) right on your heels (similar to Catherine). If you’re quick enough, you can use your shooting maneuver to take your pursuers out, but if you don’t it’s game over and you must start the stage over.

The game was a little tough to get used to because the controls are fed to you as you play the first couple of stages and it’s really tough to read the instructions without dying. There’s a slide maneuver that is explained to you when you’re going down a decline telling you to hold the Left Analog at the four o’clock position to make Ranko slide. As you’re sliding you can slip under tight spots, but you must be quick or you’ll miss them.

There was one stage that relies on either doing this slide maneuver or the game glitched on me because I completely missed the instructions on how to slide. I got to the end of the level, and there were no enemies, but I kept going through the same sequence of locations over and over. I retried the level several times before having to refer to a YouTube walkthrough, only to discover the slide move (explained in an earlier stage) was the only way to complete this one.

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The level design is pretty cool, with multiple paths to take. You can build up speed at certain points and have Ranko fly up to higher elevations in the level or slide into secret branches. I don’t believe there are any bottomless pits, but if you fall you usually fall down into the deepest path of the level and end up having to do some wall jumps to get back up.

Spread throughout the levels are gift boxes that contain various costumes, music, and previously-viewed movies, all of which can be accessed from the Title screen. Between every few levels there will be cutscenes and perhaps a boss. As you go through the levels, the cutscenes get weirder and weirder until the end and the story gets pretty insane.

The entire game took me about one and a half hours to complete, but the point of the game is to replay levels for faster times and a higher number enemies defeated. Also, there are all of the hidden presents to find to be able to change your costume. The difficulty has a couple of spikes when you play the various bosses, but nothing too difficult. Each boss battle switches up the fast-paced side scrolling gameplay and has a completely different style of platforming.

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Overall, this is a pretty fun platformer but there is a bit of frustration when the L1 trigger doesn’t seem to respond when you want it to. I found myself hitting the L1 trigger almost when the monsters that push you forward were about to get me, only to be killed and have to start the stage over again. It takes a little bit of adjustment, but once you get used to the limits of the L1 trigger, you become better at the game and it doesn’t matter as much.

The story is pretty good and it aligns pretty well with the four other films, but is probably the most bizarre out of all of them (probably due to the involvement of Suda 51 and his team at Grasshopper Manufacturer. The story gives you just enough to understand the character but left me a bit confused and wanting more (which is probably by design).

Visuals:
The visuals of the movie cutscenes were pretty nice and detailed with bright and bold colors just like the four short-films. Later in the game, things take a turn, and the art style changes to a more surreal look in several bizarre cutscenes.

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As far as the game portion, it has a really neat polygonal look about it. The way the monsters explode, leaving a large trail as they shattered into pieces, is pretty great. The various backgrounds of the two-dimensional levels are pretty well detailed with the various buildings or parked cars in the subterranean parking levels.

Audio:
The audio in this game is all in Japanese with English subtitles. I unfortunately was not able to play this game in surround sound, but the soundtrack was a mix of pretty good techno, dubstep, or electronica music. You are able to find and unlock the different songs in the soundtrack so you can listen to them at any time in the Title screen.

Online/Multiplayer:
This game is a single-player only.

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Conclusion:
On its own, Ranko Tsukigime’s Longest Day is a pretty short but fun 2D platformer with a few frustrating difficulty spikes. However, taken as the fifth of the SHORT PEACE series, and as a sort of interactive short-film, I think it lives up to what the creators were trying to accomplish. I would recommend this to only the biggest fans of anime and Japanese culture as well as someone who really likes replaying games for higher and higher scores and doing speed-runs. Unfortunately, there are no leaderboards to score-chase with your friends but if you enjoy this type of game then this might not matter to you.

Personally, this type of fast-paced platformer isn’t my favorite type of game. I really wanted to kind of slow down and soak up all the cool visuals, but you don’t really get a chance to do it since you’re forced to push forward. With that said, it was a lot of fun to play nevertheless. I really wouldn’t mind if this game were made into a type of series where more levels and episodes of the story could be told.

All in all, it’s a pretty good game, but the package is just a bit too pricey in my opinion (read more about this in my review of SHORT PEACE: Complete Collection). However, at the right price, I think fans of this genre will have a lot of fun with it.

Score:
6.5

* All screenshots used in this review were provided by the publisher.

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Written by Jason Honaker

Jason Honaker

A software developer for over 15 years, originally from St. Louis, MO and currently living in Seattle, WA. Started gaming in 1979 on the Atari 800 8-bit PC. I play all sorts of games, but am partial to RPGs and 3rd person brawlers and shooters.

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