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- Ranko Tsukigime’s Longest Day
Her longest day ever will probably be yours too.
Your visual pleasure center will beg for mercy the first time you pick up Ranko Tsukigime’s Longest Day. At the latest Namco Bandai showcase event, Longest Day stood out immediately as something that could eat up many hours out of my day given half a chance. The collaborative work of developer Crispy (Tokyo Jungle) and producer Suda51, Longest Day is the final installment in Katsuhiro Otomo’s Oscar-nominated series of five short stories. This game is the sixth one.
Ranko, the story’s protagonist seems at first to be just your average high-schooler. She has normal friends, a big-chested clumsy one whose innocence inspires numerous face-palms and a spunky twin-tail, yeah, you know exactly what they’re like. The Tsukigime family owns the biggest pay-to-park conglomerate in Japan, earning her the nickname “Meter-Maid”. Her daily life turns duller as you learn about her “alternative lifestyle” outside of school.
But by night Ranko takes up a long rifle and a samurai sword as an assassin for her family, living out of a shipping container in some futuristic parking garage. Sounds like a great animé, right? Wrong. It’s a game! Just as the crisply-produced 3D animation starts to drag you in, you’re thrown into the first stage, which provides a short, merciless tutorial, leaving players to figure out the rest themselves.
Harkening back to old-school arcade side-scrollers, Longest Day puts a lot of emphasis on player rhythm and flow. Colorful enemies and broken-up terrain try to block your path forward (to the right-side) while a shadowy entity from behind (to the left) encourages you to keep moving. Ranko can float, jump, slash, and fire a limited number of bullets both in front of and behind her, the latter playing a big role in warding off her mysterious pursuer.
By chaining together kills and mastering simple movement mechanics, the aesthetic return of explosions and bright colors appear all over the scene. Wanting to improve your score makes Longest Day infinitely replayable for casual and hardcore gamers alike. Players looking for a vanity fix will also be glad to know that as you play through the games stages, you can unlock additional outfits for Ranko to wear in game.
With ten stages and around thirty minutes of cut-scenes for the animé enthusiast to drive the plot, Ranko’s longest day ever will surely take some unexpected turns. Set to release sometime in spring this year, Longest Day and Katsuhiro’s other short stories will be available exclusively through digital download on PlayStation 3.