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!
Ultimately, though, the game ended up not being for me. I do believe it's worth a look to the right person, but you should know what you're getting into before taking the plunge. I'd also recommend you check this out on PC because that random bug in the Switch version could wind up causing you to waste a ton of time without you even knowing it.
Screenshots really don't do The friends of Ringo Ishikawa justice. What looks like a traditional side-scrolling brawler is actually something far more intricate. It's more of a teenage simulator than anything, and with some really well-written dialogue (filled with the kind of malaise and sense of directionless rebellion we all experienced in our formative years) there's a really interesting story to be found. Its everyday activities will remind you more of Bully or Shenmue than Street Gangs/River City Ransom, just don't expect to have your hand held as you head out into the world to discover them.
The Friends of Ringo Ishikawa is quite weak in its pure playful proposal but has a real personality that could well embark you, if you are sensitive to this typical Japanese atmosphere carried by hip hop melodies and retro graphics successful in this small city, free to live the existence often in slow motion of a rascal high school and his friends. In this, again, the fact of being able to play in a nomadic way with the Switch is a plus.
Review in French | Read full review
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.