Short Peace Ranko Tsukigmi is the latest offering from the masterminds at Grasshopper Games, directed by the incredible Goichi Suda -- aka Suda51. This time around, the game follows the life of Ranko, and boasts a very unique anime style created by multiple different artists. Though it looks good most of the time, there are a few sections in which the difference in art styles becomes very jarring.
The core gameplay revolves around 2D side-scrolling action with very fast-paced levels and some pretty easy-to-get collectables, though a few are a bit more difficult. The overall game is just plain easy, and the levels don’t take much time to complete either. Stages do have multiple routes to go through which adds a little bit of replay ability though it doesn’t really make a whole lot of difference. There is only one difficulty setting to select from, which is a bit of a shame. On that note, you will pretty much automatically unlock all the costumes by default just by finishing the game once, and the only reason to replay it is for the concept art, which requires sometimes playing the same level ten times; even if most of the levels can be completed in three minutes, concept art bound to them may require a half hours’ worth of grinding.
Interestingly, Short Peace Ranko does not have a traditional health system. Instead, when you take any damage, Ranko will slow down, which will punish you, because you're constantly being chased by the shadows, making the game all about trying to chain attacks together and keeping your speed up. Through the first few attempts of each level will take a couple of tries, it is a very easy game to master even if you have not played that type of game much; besides, some levels will only take about ten minutes to complete, even if you are taking your time. If you skip the cut scenes, the nine levels can be completed in about an hour, and the time spent watching the scenes won’t add much more time than that.
Some of the boss fights are very unique and do have a different gameplay style than the rest of the game. This is both a good and bad thing: you’ll get used to one style of gameplay only for the game to suddenly change genre into a very basic fighting game. I wish I could give this game more praise as I did enjoy the crazy storyline, even though I could barely understand it. The main thing I know is that Ranko is getting revenge for her mother, who was killed by her father. You will also meet her friends Moeko, Kirara and Ren as you play through the storyline; but those characters get barely any development and some even seem to just be thrown in for plot development.
The graphics are very pretty within unique levels and there's some cool looking monsters to boot. The dog in the final level is probably my favourite part, though it’s rather jarring to look at due the fact it has a realistic look while the rest of the level is in a rough sprite based look. The graphics hold up through each level, even if the levels are incredible short. The boss fights seem to be where the developers put the most effort, but going into too much detail might give away the entire game. The game also offers a wealth of extras, but it would have been nice to have some more--or at least more variety--regarding the unlockables such as bonus modes.
I went into this game feeling very positive, but it ultimately left a negative taste in my mouth. The lack of content and the overall lack of replay ability compared to a lot of other titles makes this is a budget game at best. The game also comes with four anime episodes done by different artists and directors, and these will last you almost as long as the game itself. Though they do look pretty damn amazing and have some decent stories that are worth a watch, the gameplay side of things feels like it came second in regards to the priorities of Short Peace Ranko's content.
-The Final Word-
Looks good with some decent boss battles, but lack of content and replay value disappoints.