The Friends of Ringo Ishikawa
Top Critic Average
Developer: CIRCLE Ent.
Genres: Arcade, Action
You should play it if:
1) You're fond of good stories with strong dialogues (especially about growing up)
2) You're a fight games enthusiast (you'll get your hands on some unique brawl mechanic and I promise you'll be satisfied)
3) You're into some yakuza-delinquent aesthetics
Basically, the game is an existential open world beat'em up with some school sim elements. It has a little of everything: a town to explore, day-night cycle, npc on their schedule, battle grinding, school grinding, mini-games (ping-pong, billiard, video-poker, video-game console with one game...) and so on.
But the main thing is the story I'm trying to tell. And I designed the game to make you feel this story. So it's not about rival gangs, or taking over turfs, or anything. You just live there and feel. And that's all.
The friends of Ringo Ishikawa is coming to Nintendo Switch!
While the concept of an open world beat 'em up set in high-school sounds interesting, the way it was executed is far from perfect. Furthermore, the entire world feels meaningless, as there is no way to easily tell what time your classes begin, and where they are. It is also difficult to know where each building is in the world because The Friends of Ringo Ishikawa lacks a map/compass feature. If you are looking for a unique beat 'em up, and are willing to manage it's user experience issues, then this is a perfect game for you.
I was honestly very frustrated during my first couple hours, but gradually I started to appreciate the slow burn that is The Friends of Ringo Ishikawa. Without question, it will not appeal to everyone, and the lack of tutorials, hints, and information is definitely frustrating. All that said, though, it’s a unique and interesting experiment wrapped up in a cool, pixelated graphical style and an atmospheric soundtrack that suits the game perfectly.