Mixed re­al­ity

Stu­dio Koba chan­nels Ready Player One as dig­i­tal and ana­logue col­lide


The dig­i­tal realm and ’80s charm col­lide in ac­tion RPG Narita Boy

Narita Boy is an ac­tion RPG drenched in ’80s charm and faded-VHS vis­ual noise. De­vel­oper Stu­dio Koba casts you as the tit­u­lar hero on the hunt for a fa­bled weapon, the Techno Sword. The ti­tle is also the name of a fic­tional game cre­ated by Lionel Pear, a mys­te­ri­ous, ge­nius com­puter en­gi­neer for his Narita One con­sole, but the two di­men­sions be­gin to blur.

The game takes its vis­ual cues from clas­sics such as An­other World and Castl­e­va­nia, as well as more re­cent pixel-art cre­ations such as Su­per­broth­ers: Sword & Sworcery EP. And those ster­ling vi­su­als are sup­ported by a pound­ing synth sound­track.

“Above all else, [we want] Narita Boy to be a full sen­sory ex­pe­ri­ence that plays with the nos­tal­gia and weird­ness of the ’80s, while also mix­ing in some weird Ja­panese vibes,” says stu­dio di­rec­tor Ed­uardo Fornieles.

Along with some ex­plo­sive, side-scrolling brawler ac­tion, the game al­lows you to jump through space and time. The for­mer abil­ity lets you flit be­tween dif­fer­ent lo­ca­tions and planes within the Dig­i­tal King­dom us­ing tele­ports, while lo­cat­ing rare runes will al­low you to re­turn to the ’80s where Pear awaits to of­fer help. There are ve­hi­cles, too, and you’ll up­grade both these and your sword in or­der to reach pre­vi­ously in­ac­ces­si­ble parts of the Dig­i­tal King­dom.

At the time of writ­ing the game is al­ready well on its way to its 120,000 goal on Kick­starter. Stu­dio Koba aims to re­lease Narita Boy in the lat­ter half of 2018.

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