Review – Raging Bytes

I tend to mostly stick to the KEMCO titles that stray away from their traditional output of retro-styled JRPGs based on games like old-school Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest. My favorite titles from the publisher in the past few years have been RPGs that were focused less on being an epic quest to defeat a god with the power of friendship, and more on just trying to run your store and trying to make ends meet. Games like Blacksmith of the Sand Kingdom and Marenian Tavern Story: Patty and the Hungry God (good lord, such immense titles) come to mind. Raging Bytes, their latest outing, is also a deviation from the publisher’s standard JRPG outings, and it might just be my favorite game from them. Well, aside from Top Gear Rally on the Nintendo 64.

Raging Bytes Introduction

It’s like the introductory section from Resident Evil 2, but a lot more kawaii.

Raging Bytes might look like yet another pixelated, 16-bit turn-based JRPG from KEMCO, but there’s one thing that makes it stand out, not just from the rest of the publisher’s catalogue, but most modern RPGs in general: it’s also a survival horror. Yep, it’s a JRPG set in a zombie apocalypse, a combination that has never been done before (especially if you don’t consider the plot of Parasite Eve a zombie apocalypse). That alone was enough to, at the very least, pique my interest, but it was its borderline cozy (I’m not even joking) gameplay loop and combat system that were the highlights in my opinion.

Despite being set in zombie-ravaged America (in the 70s, may I add, another neat touch), and despite having all of the classic elements from a good survival horror (namely, a big emphasis on limited resources), I thought that Raging Bytes was very forgiving and quite easy. Its combat system is your standard turn-based fare, but in order to attack enemies, you have two options: either shoot at them from a distance with a gun, wasting bullets in the process, or wait for them to get near you, then smack them with a blunt object, at the cost of some of your health.

Raging Bytes story

The occasional story-heavy cutscene in between the linear exploration and combat sections.

These elements make the game sound punishing, but I never ran out of bullets, and zombies were rarely bulky enough to get that close to my party anyway. At the end of each fight, I’d often receive enough bullets as prize, alongside experience points, almost always recovering the amount of resources spent during the fight. The only exception being the times I’d have to fight bosses; they weren’t hard or anything, but these big fellas were often bulky enough to require a handful of shots, special moves, and the occasional usage of a medkit.

Very rarely would I run away from zombies. I’d actively fight them, earn experience, and improve my stats in order to deal with bosses with some ease. Oddly enough, my damage output would increase when leveling up, even though I was almost always relying on the same pistols from a few levels back. Maybe I was learning to shoot harder by pulling the trigger with more strength?

Raging Bytes Combat

Looks tense, but it’s actually quite easy.

Borderline relaxing combat aside, what really captivated me was the story. Raging Bytes wasn’t dramatic or full of plot twists (The Last of Us, this is not), but considering I expected little from a game like this, I was impressed with the quality of the writing. Characters have depth, humans are quickly losing their s*** due to the fear of running out of resources or seeing their loved ones become zombies, and the game sure knew how to pace interesting events accordingly. It is a fully linear experience, but it worked for the kind of story the developers were trying to tell. Any kind of open world structure would ruin its pacing with an unhealthy dose of ludonarrative dissonance.

The presentation isn’t half-bad, either. Granted, it mostly sticks to the art style seen in most KEMCO outings, resembling a 16-bit JRPG, but it’s still visually appealing. It just never feels, well, scary. The overworld models had big heads and anime-ish eyes, and the zombies looked a bit goofy during combat. Again, not bad, just not scary. What I did enjoy, however, was the game’s battle tune. I would constantly engage in battles and never get bored at listening to the same battle theme over and over again. I guess the overall lack of music while traversing the deserted landscapes of post-apocalyptic America made the few moments where music was present more enjoyable.

Raging Bytes characters

You don’t need to be The Last of Us to perfectly showcase truly scummy human beings who are worse than the actual zombies.

Raging Bytes is a bit on the easy side, and not at all scary for a survival horror title set in a zombie apocalypse, but I have to give credit where credit is due: I had way more fun with it than I could have ever imagined, and was really intrigued with its simple, but effective story. Its combination of JRPG combat and zombie apocalypse themes is something rarely, if ever, seen in games, so I also have to commend the developers for the game’s overall originality. It might be a depressing tale of survival in post-apocalyptic America, but it was a pretty cozy and relaxing JRPG, one that ended up fitting perfectly on the Nintendo Switch. An easy recommendation.


Graphics: 7.0

The 16-bit JRPG visuals go against the horror nature of a zombie apocalypse, but the game is still visually appealing. It’s just not scary at all.

Gameplay: 8.5

Turn-based JRPG combat mixed with survival horror elements. It’s not hard, but it’s still interesting.

Sound: 7.0

Not many tunes in the soundtrack, but I did enjoy the combat theme. Most sound effects are very old school in nature.

Fun Factor: 8.0

A bit on the easy side, despite being, technically speaking, a survival horror, but it’s also a very unique experience. I ended up liking Raging Bytes way more than I was expecting.

Final Verdict: 8.0

Raging Bytes is available now on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X, PC, Nintendo Switch, and mobile devices.

Reviewed on Nintendo Switch.

A copy of Raging Bytes was provided by the publisher.