“If everything seems under control, you’re not going fast enough.” – Mario Andretti
Tanuki Sunset is a retro-style racing game that sees players take on the role of a racoon equipped with a longboard! The furry protagonist Tanuki must race through vibrant environments, perform tricks and overcome obstacles to try to get the best time and the best score!
Developer: Rewind Games
Released: 4th December 2020
Available on: Steam
This game is being reviewed as part of the Indie Game Collective (IGC) showcase.
Tanuki Sunset’s tutorial provides a decent introduction to the gameplay and basic mechanics, with intuitive controls and instruction for the new mechanics added as the game progresses. There are three main racecourses, these have 3 sections each as well as checkpoints within each section. The different courses are littered with obstructions and the tracks have no sides meaning it is easy to fall off, doing so, or colliding with obstacles such as cars and cliffs will end the run and return the player to the nearest checkpoint.
Players must help Tanuki skate his way to victory with speed adjustments, jumps, drifts, reverts and other tricks to achieve the fastest and highest-scoring run possible. Amongst other things, fancy skating such as long drifts and mid-air tricks will award players points however a portion of these will be lost with each failure. Players can also collect ‘bits’ as they traverse each racecourse, these act as currency for the shop where skating and clothing accessories, such as hats and decks, can be bought.
Tanuki Sunset can be quite challenging and is a great example of a game that is easy to learn and hard to master. This is especially true of the arcade modes that are unlocked through playing the story, these focus exclusively on time or score and have leaderboards so players can track progress and improvement or even play competitively with friends.
Narrative and Styling
Tanuki Sunset’s ‘story mode’ consists of three main stages – Sunset Peaks, Midnight City and Sunrise Beach. There is very little in the way of narrative besides the loose characterisation of Tanuki and a couple of NPCs including Tanuki’s mother who calls him regularly! However, the gameplay is the clear focus of this game and adding much more in terms of the story would likely be an unnecessary distraction.
The game has a vibrant retro aesthetic that will take players straight back to the 80s with the almost neon colours, nostalgic fonts and cassette tapes showing the current music. The visuals are very striking overall but include a clear and clean UI that is easy to navigate whilst focusing on the gameplay. The music consists of a variety of lo-fi tracks that range from energetic and lively to almost zen-like! All the songs have a somewhat chilled out vibe however and this helps to prevent the game from feeling stressful even when the player is being challenged.
Tanuki Sunset is a lot of fun. It perfectly balances competitive, high adrenaline longboarding with relaxing audio and nostalgic visuals to create a brilliantly well rounded and stress-free experience that offers a satisfying level of challenge. The combination of engaging gameplay, the retro styling and the super cute protagonist make this a joy to play and easy to recommend to fans of the genre and newcomers alike.
Courtesy of Rewind Games we have a Steam key for Tanuki to giveaway on our Discord server. Come join us there for your chance to win, or just to stay up to date with Indie Hive content and chat about indie games! We’d love you to join our buzzing community!