Road 96 is a new and brilliant choose your own adventure narrative game from Digixart. It is available on Steam and Switch, and it is definitely worth checking out.
Road 96 takes place in the fictional nation of Petria ruled by President Tyrak. After a tragic bombing in 1986 that killed many people at National Mountain, a group called the Black Brigades were blamed and labeled terrorists, and President Tyrak used the incident to tighten his grasp on the nation. The game itself takes place 10 years later, and you will be playing as several teens trying to cross the border as Election Day approaches.
The kids have no set traits, so you will have full control over everything. If you want to support the power-hungry Tyrak, side with the Black Brigades that have gone underground, or just stay focused on getting out of Petria, you can. Your choices will have reflections with certain characters either gaining more trust or making future conversations a bit more one-sided.
As you venture across Road 96 you will come across supporting characters that have an impact on how the game plays out. You have the option of traveling by foot, which will drain your health faster, but this can be restored by eating and sleeping, plus it is a cheaper option as you have little to no money upon starting. You can also catch a bus, call a taxi or hitchhike. Every choice will bring you to a point in the story with one of the characters you meet along the way.
Just be wary. Not everyone on the road will be helpful and could cut the adventure short. after dying or being caught, the player will then start fresh as another teen, kind of like a rogue type format. The world is the same, so you may hear about the fate of the previous teen when you are on a new adventure, with each having a different story each time around, so you can open new dialogue options and learn the backstories of the characters you meet on the road, and it will take a few runs to get the full story.
Throughout your journey, you’ll also stumble on minigames you can partake in like, air hockey and jamming out by a campfire with other travelers, a fun little addition to the overall game.
Road 96 is played in a first-person perspective, with the dialogue options displayed next to the character you are addressing, so if you are in a room with a few people it is easy to keep track of who the key person is. The animation Digixart went with is simple and the world renders in slowly when traveling, with trees and other background items popping into existence.
The characters themselves have great facial details, and it turns out that the 15 people who worked on Road 96 each did motion capture acting, so they’re all actively in the game. The soundtrack for Road 96 is heavily ’90s themed, and players can find cassette tapes that will let you change the music in certain vehicles while hitchhiking, or you can just flick through the radio channels. While on the road, the music will hit hard in a good way.
Road 96 is a game worth playing. It came out of nowhere but has hit so well on a lot of gamer’s recommended lists. It should be a top contender for indie game of the year with how well it was done. The story is amazing, the character interactions and learning more about them is really entertaining. The only real issue I found is when picking dialogue options. If the character you are talking to is moving, the dialog box moves as well, so if they move at the wrong time, you may select something else entirely.
- Amazing Storyline
- Good Animation
- Great Soundtrack
- Excellent Replay Value
- Great Dialogue Options
- Entertaining Minigames to Discover
- The Dialog Box Moves Which Can Sometimes Result in Picking the Wrong Choice