The first ten minutes of Short Peace: Ranko Tsukigime’s Longest Day certainly didn’t hook me. In fact, I sat the controller down and wrote the game off as little more than another copycat scrolling platformer, with nothing to offer me beyond the same exact things I had seen in other, similar titles. But around the time I noticed the enemies in my vicinity were exploding with vibrant pops of color in a manner that evoked some of my favorite video games, I realized I had been playing for nearly twenty minutes. I wanted to press on. There was no end in sight for me as I sped to the right of the screen as Ranko, steadfastly refusing to quit playing. I would complete the game in that very sitting.
So I did, and about two hours later the credits rolled. I was blown away by how short of a game something titled “Longest Day” actually was. But the video game portion of the Short Peace collective, or a number of anime shorts and a collaboration involving Goichi Suda, this endless runner meshed with platforming goodness very quickly turned into a sugary sweet confection that I just couldn’t pull myself away from. Sure, I had other games to play. I had laundry to fold. A vet to go to. But I was kept glued to my sofa seat, pushing on through to the end.
As Ranko, through a good portion of the game you simply run as quickly as you can from bizarre shadowy forces that aim to grab you. If they so much as touch you, it’s game over. Most of the game can be looked at as a never-ending chase sequence, except checkpoints are only placed at around the halfway mark. If you don’t hit it, you’re sent back to the beginning. You just continue running forward, jumping over obstacles, sliding through crevices, and gaining speed as you hurtle to the end of the level. Should the shadowy hands reach you, you can shoot at them to keep them at bay, but that’s only if you can keep your ammo reserves up.
It’s a constant struggle between watching where you’re going ahead of you, ensuring you’re one step ahead of the demons, and looking forward at all times. When you fail, you’re strangely compelled to get back up and keep moving. It’s quite unlike anything I’ve ever played in that regard, especially during the later stages, which toss in some bizarre pixel-fests and Luchador matches as well as an enormous corgi who wants to devour you. Yeah, you read that right.
Ranko Tsukigime’s Longest Day is complete and unabashed weirdness, refreshing in a way that will bolt you to place until you’ve fully experienced it. And while its several anime cut scenes may be a bit yawn-inducing when compared to the actual product, the game as a whole is worth sitting down and completing in one session if you can, to get the full effect. And you’ll absolutely want to – this is one “off the wall” title you’ll want to nab or play at a friend’s. Because I can guarantee that you won’t forget its speed, tenacity, or attitude.