Hands-On Preview- Road 96: Mile 0

Road 96 Mile 0 Cover Image

Road 96 from DigixArt was one of last year’s biggest surprises for me. For a game centered around politics, it was far more intriguing than one would initially think. From displays of oppression, uprisings, and the people caught in the middle of it all, Road 96 was a game that I found endlessly fascinating. So much so that I’ve played it numerous times since its release, and it hits a little differently every time. As much I found myself enjoying it, I was never really expecting a sequel, since it has multiple definitive endings. So naturally I was surprised to learn that there was another game in the works, Road 96: Mile 0. As it turns out, this is actually a prequel, showing the events that led up to the chaos of Road 96.

Road 96: Mile 0 Preview The Building of Tyrek's Statue

Witness the beginnings of Tyrek’s power.

Being a prequel, I was expecting Road 96: Mile 0 to have an entirely new cast of characters. As it seems, at least from the preview build of the game, many of the people we came to know and love from Road 96 are present. Road 96: Mile 0 sets about chronicling the journeys for many of those characters, right at the start of the tension leading up to the incident that really kicks things off for Road 96

Right off the bat, we’re greeted with the faux smiling visage of Sonya, the reporter for the GNN television station. As is to be expected, Sonya is reporting on local political news, which of course has been greatly twisted to support the powers that be who run the town. Next we have Zoe, the young, rebellious teen (and linchpin of Road 96), who graces us with one of her trombone solos. Truck driver, John, can be found making some secret dealings early on, alluding to later events. There’s even mention of two criminals, simply referred to as “S and M”, but fans of the first game will know exactly who they’re talking about.

Road 96: Mile 0 Preview Zoe and Kaito

Zoe might be a familiar face, but Kaito is new to the story.

While Road 96 was primarily a narrative-based, point-and-click adventure, Road 96: Mile 0 is introducing some changes to its formula. For example, there are a few of classic-styled arcade games that you can play, like a Pong type game. These can help to break-up the simplicity of the traditional point-and-click gameplay, offering players a reprieve while also letting them enjoy a bit of retro-gaming.

There are also sections where the two main characters, Zoe and newcomer Kaito, have to either skateboard or roller skate through various areas they’re visiting, in a musical minigame of sorts. These sections have the player controlling one of them at a time, as they skate through twisted, psychedelic versions of the city, trying to collect as many targets as they can, while simultaneously avoiding obstacles. At the end of the segment, you’ll be given a letter grade of your performance, with the option to retry for a batter grade or to continue progressing through the story. While I enjoyed these moments, and appreciate they make Road 96: Mile 0 feel more “gamey”, they don’t necessarily feel like a natural part of the experience. Perhaps my viewpoint will change on this when after playing the full build of Road 96: Mile 0.

Road 96: Mile 0 Preview Kaito Skate Boarding

You’ll be able to skate around the town as either Kaito or Zoe in a fun minigame.

As it stands right now, Road 96: Mile 0 is a prequel I didn’t know I wanted until now, similarly to how I felt about Tails: The Backbones Preludes. I’m not going to lie, having some of my favorite indie titles getting additional content is making me very happy. I might be a touch apprehensive some of Road 96: Mile 0‘s new gameplay elements, but I am still ready to dive back into the divisive land of Petria when it releases April 4th, 2023.