Road 96: Mile 0 review

by on April 4, 2023

Road 96 was a different kind of game that had its routes firmly in it narrative, yet it acted as almost a roguelike element to it with every decision leading to a selection of ending depending on your choices. It’s focus on a tyrannical government took a backseat in favour of the people who were affected by it. Road 96: Mile 0 is about the events leading up to the original’s journey which saw you attempt to cross the border, fleshing out the story of Zoe, a main character from the first game, and her friendship with Kaito, a boy who’s views on President Tyrak and Petria skewed following the death of his sister.

Throughout Road 96: Mile 0, you talk to a host of characters. Colton is Tyrak’s son who you used to babysit. Kaito’s parents are concerned for their son; Steve is a security guard who sits outside of Tyrak’s compound. There’re various new characters who offer some insight into what is going on inside the place you call home, and through the course of the story, you’ll have to make decisions that either open Zoe’s eyes to what’s really going on, or cause her to remain loyal to whatever brainwashing techniques the president and his regime are relying on.

Despite Tyrak being an absolute piece of shit, there’s also a grey area into what the rebels known as the Black Brigade is, or more so what their motives are and how they achieve them. Nothing is ever straightforward, and you’ll be forced to choose whether Kaito blindly follows these freedom fighters, or questions their approach to bringing down Tyrak. Switching between Zoe and Kaito becomes commonplace throughout Road 96: Mile 0, and regardless of who you play as, there is some fantastic dialogue that brings your own ideals and beliefs into play.

For those who played Road 96, there’re plenty of nods to the game, as well as returning characters who you’ll likely remember. It’s bittersweet at times, especially as those characters received a more than positive fate depending on the choices you originally made. John, the truck driver and Black Brigade member returns, as do other various characters. I won’t spoil them all, but they might pop up briefly, or even feature in a newspaper clipping you stumble across. In terms of gameplay, there’re two main focuses. Firstly, you’ll be free to roam various areas of White Sands, interact with the locals, and solve puzzles or play mini games. Then, there’re the musical sections completely new to the series.

In these sections of Road 96: Mile 0, they play out like familiar rhythm games like Thumper, Aaero, and even Guitar Hero. Each level revolves around the area you’ve just played through. For example, one has you escaping a recently employed bodyguard who’s been tasked with protecting you, while another focuses on you breaking into Tyrak’s home and secret safe. You can jump over obstacles and duck, and move from left to right. Sometimes, levels will incorporate new obstacles like falling trees, lasers, and flying sections where you need to dodge debris and pillars. These ideas remain fresh enough to make them fun, and if there’s a particular area you struggle with, you are given the option to skip to the next bit.

The camera angle in these sections can sometimes be less than optimal, as it can be tricky to gauge where you need to move or dodge something, but generally they’re a lot of fun, and the soundtrack is excellent. Whether in these sections or throughout the story, the music offers plenty of styles across genres. Depending on what choices you make and how the game ends for you, there’s a song at the end that highlighted the upset and melancholy of my choices, and as the credits rolled, I was left emotionally vulnerable. Seeing how Zoe ended up where she did in Road 96 added more impact and weight to the story I was more familiar with, and it made me want to go and play the original.

Road 96: Mile 0 offers a fantastic story with lots of well-written characters, especially the two main protagonists of Zoe and Kaito. It was interesting watching both of their stories unfold, understanding their viewpoints and how tricky politics can be, as well as how they can affect who we inherently are as human beings. I enjoyed collecting stickers and tapes scattered across White Sands, and the musical sections were a great addition to a superbly structured narrative. I was struck by how much I’d connected with Zoe and Kaito by the end, and despite there being plenty of humour, it features a strong and powerful story at its core.


Excellent story
Strong characters
Fun music sections


Some movement in music sections tricky to gauge

Editor Rating
Our Score


In Short

Road 96: Mile 0 is a strong narrative adventure that not only builds on the original, but offers new and exciting gameplay elements.