And this isn't even the maddest bit...
Suda 51’s games are mad. We know that. But he’s properly outdone himself with this one. The game portion he has produced is a side-scrolling platformer with free movement but the gameplay of an endless runner thanks to the additional, constant threat of a great big monster chasing you from the left. Dextrous and repeat play is rewarded with unlockable artwork and animated scenes. But wait… the ‘game portion’? Yep, the playable part is only one fifth of the actual product.
You also get four anime chapters of varying length, from a few minutes to just shy of an hour. They tell the story of the eponymous Ranko, who has severe daddy issues. In that she’s an assassin and it’s time to kill him. Of course it is.
The Japanese character design is questionable, with cosplay-baiting costumes and a schoolgirl cast but the art style is noteworthy in that it changes completely several times throughout.
One moment you’re watching a cut-scene in wobbly-edged computer 3D, the next beautiful 2D hand-drawn artwork.
Despite the rather unique visual style(s), the in-play graphics are comparatively modest, and oddly keep Ranko a long way from the camera. For such a well-designed character, she’s too small to really appreciate during the action. Instead, you’ll be focusing all your attention on the twitchy, reflex-based wall-jumping and enemy slashing. It’s the kind that feels clumsy and awkward when you do it wrong but flows deliciously when you do it right. I was reminded of speed-running the side-scrolling Modern Sonic sections of Sonic Generations. Very similar to play.
At 11 levels long, it’s a short piece (wahey!) but the game’s diminutive length is intentional, with replayability coming from exploration as you seek out all the hidden routes and collectibles.
Perhaps releasing it on PS3 is a strange choice, as it would likely fit iOS much more naturally. But PS3 does Blu-Ray, and Blu-Ray does HD anime, which is just as much a part of the package as this very peculiar game.
Click on through for more barking mad screenshots from Short Peace: Ranko Tsukigime's Longest Day.