Road 96: Mile 0 game review (13)(age rating 16+)
Hey skaters! Welcome to my review of Road 96: Mile 0! A prequel to the award winning game Road 96. A narrative-driven adventure game with a musical component created by DigixArt.
I went into this game completely blind and oh boy was I in for a brilliant unexpected ride. It’s like a mix between Life is Strange, a Telltale game and Subway Surfers all in one.
Thank you so much to PLAION for the review code and for bringing this wonderful game to my attention!
As always, this review will be SPOILER FREE!
*all images used are screenshots taken from my PS5.
Meet Kaito and Zoe!
Two teenagers from completely different worlds brought together by their love of skating. They’re best friends, but Zoe is the minister’s daughter, and Kaito is the son of a poor working class family who lives in the slums of the city.
– From doing research after completing the game, Zoe is originally from the first game: Road 96 and Kaito is from one of DigixArt’s earlier games: Lost in Harmony. I think it’s cool how they did a crossover with their characters.
Throughout Mile 0, the POV switches between the two teenagers as you see the world through their eyes in the first person perspective, exploring in free roam and interacting with everything around you.
As I said before, Mile 0 switches between Kaito and Zoe throughout the story as they battle, or reaffirm, their own beliefs about the government and the world in which they live in, whilst trying to maintain their friendship.
Despite not playing the first game, I found it easy to understand the story. I actually found it mysterious and intriguing not knowing the full context of events that the characters mention in the game, such as “Wall ’86”.
The visual and intense emotions in the game are amazing, and being able to explore and discover things through each character’s eyes is a nice touch in seeing just how different the two of them are and how they view the world they live in.
A moment of Side Eye
That being said, there is one aspect of the story I did side eye a bit. I didn’t particularly like the fact that the dynamic between the two friends was also a rich white girl and poor Asian boy from a working class family, who live in poverty and are treated horribly against those in the upper class.
But that was the only thing I side-eyed on. At the heart of it, I did enjoy the story and the fact the character developments are in the players hands is a nice touch.
In the game you have ‘ride sequences’ which is where the subway surfers comparison comes in. There are 8 of these levels in total throughout the story, where you skate as either Kaito (on a skateboard) and/or Zoe (on roller skates) to amazing music, turning Mile 0 into a rhythm-like game.
These levels are my favourite part of the game, as not only are they fun as you collect points to beat highscores, you also have to jump and duck obstacles to beat the level as well as the odd QTE (Quick Time Event).
The design of the levels are presented as embodiments/portrayals of the memories and emotions of said characters in certain parts of the story. Each ride sequence is not randomly placed. They’re visually gorgeous and no level is the same, each designed with a deeper meaning behind it that connects with the story.
For example there’s one moment where Zoe has to escape from someone and the world around morphs into a goofy getaway with the pursuer turning to a huge giant, crashing through the city and Zoe has to skate up skyscrapers and dodge falling cars. But in another part of the story later down the line the sequence is darker and more thoughtful in both the music and the visuals.
It’s a musical journey. The music in Mile 0 in both the skate sequences and free roam really brings the game together and helps tell the story, especially during those sequence runs. The music is a mix of rock, techno, indie and more and really captures the moment.
Music is also used in such a masterful way that I can’t even quite put it into words how creative it is and you can find music tapes throughout the game and replay them during free roam in Kaito and Zoe’s hideout.
You can also replay any skate sequence at any point during the game, and another thing worth noting is how amazing the transitions between Kaito and Zoe in the skating levels is insane!
Like I said before, the story of the game is great, and it’s down to the players to decide who Kaito and Zoe become by the end of it. When you’re in the free roam mode, It’s pretty much point and click. You can pick up items, graffiti or tear government posters and more, and whoever you play as will give their thoughts on anything you interact with.
You’ll also be given different speech options when talking to certain characters, however, similar to Telltale games, some options have a bigger impact than others on the story, which will be signalled to you after selecting said option.
Depending on how much exploring you do and decisions you make, there are QTEs that take place during this mode too. From pushing a kid on a swing, to doing a handstand, Mile 0 had fun and goofy moments too!
Also, sidenote, the camera movement can sometimes feel a bit clunky when it comes to moving around and clicking things, but that’s only a minor issue I had on the PS5.
Which path will you take?
The decision is yours. Throughout the game both during the musical skater segments and during the free roam, the player is given a choice in which direction they want their character to go in their beliefs. This is also indicated by the icon of the character in the top right corner (which you’ll see below).
The main decision will be whether Kaito and Zoe are for their home or against it and the government. Who will you believe? It’s down to you.
You’ll also have decisions to make during later ride sequences, where you’ll be promoted to aim left or right to make a decision.
Let me tell you now, the final “boss” fight was INTENSE and I had to replay the story to see how it could have gone different!
Another pleasant part of the game is the variety of different minigames throughout the story mode. From playing connect four with a VERY smart AI friend, to connecting your radio to different frequencies to eavesdrop on people, and hammering some nails to build a ramp. It’s definitely a nice touch to the gameplay and actually helped with the realism of it too.
As you can see above, I enjoyed spraying some graffiti art in the secret base. Haha!
The result of your actions
The ending seriously got to me more than I expected. Road 96: Mile 0 really exceeded my expectations. In such a short game (which I finished in roughly 4 hours), I was drawn in by the characters and story, even without playing the first game. I was more so drawn in by Kaito than Zoe and the ending I got, left me with mixed emotions, but immediately wanting to play it again to see how the endings differ.
It also enticed me to play the first game afterwards too.
Honestly, DigixArt should give themselves a pat on the back for this game.
And I can’t thank PLAION enough for bringing this game to my attention. What an honour it was to review this game.
In terms of the story itself, I would have liked to have known how Kaito and Zoe even became friends in the first place (unless this is stated in the first game) as I had no idea how a minister’s daughter could have become best friends with a boy in the working class part of the city when the polarisation of the two classes are very clear and evident throughout the game.
Still, I really enjoyed it and it was a breath of fresh air, both with the music and the characters. I actually wish this game was multiplayer, because it would have worked well with two players as Kaito or Zoe haha!
I definitely recommend this game to all types of gamers. I think it caters well to people both new and experienced with gaming as well.
You can also check out my video review on youtube!