Tanuki Sunset is an arcade downhill skater game with a cool ‘80s vibe from the people over at Rewind Games. The combination of chilled out tunes and downhill skating wrapped up in that 1980’s feel is superb. Did I mention you get to play as a raccoon?
Yep, the main character in Tanuki Sunset is a raccoon with aspirations of making it to the front cover of a skating magazine called FISH. In order to get the fame Tanuki so desires, you must complete the three levels and make your way to the big ramp.
The first level is called Sunset Peaks and it comes with blue and pink neon lit backgrounds, feeling ripped right from the cover of a ‘Now that’s what I call the 80s’ CD. It is here that you and Tanuki will learn the basics of the gameplay featured in Tanuki Sunset.
Now, I love a good skateboarding game. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, Skate, even the more recent Session: Skate Sim are all on my regular rotation of comfort games. In Tanuki Sunset the skateboarding is a bit different from these titles as you won’t be grinding or linking manuals here. The main aim of the Tanuki Sunset is to make it through the stages with speed and precision.
Dodging cars and making it around tight corners successfully is key. Using careful steering and a combination of drifts using RT and LT will get you through most of the sticky situations you meet on your downhill way. There are no traditional tricks in Tanuki Sunset either, besides a simple spin trick and a jump ability.
Further into each run you will come across ramps that can be jumped from, and throwing in a spin trick to look cool is mandatory. But, again the main aim is to make it downhill as fast, and as safely, as you can, performing some tight dodging of the vehicles and expert use of drifting.
Along the way you will notice bits on the road that can be collected. Picking up these will allow the cosmetics in the store to be unlocked as they function as the in-game currency. Do not fear, there are no in-app purchases to make this either a pay-to-win or pay-to-look-good here.
That said, collecting the bits becomes a bit tiresome as the selection of cosmetics is rather small and there are no character or ability upgrades to purchase in the store. Skateboard upgrades should definitely have been an addition, with new stats like better turning or faster speed, but again there are no purchasable upgrades for this either.
So with a simple premise and simple controls, Tanuki Sunset hasn’t got too much else to offer. Cosmetics – as mentioned – are limited, and actual board and character upgrades don’t make an appearance either. The big success for the title is the vibe.
As I mentioned at the start, it’s the 1980’s aesthetic which seeps from every edge of Tanuki Sunset, pulled off really well. Combining neon Miami styled looks with a relaxing soundtrack makes it a nice game to look at for the most part.
It is procedurally generated too and this means that you cannot practise areas to get better. But it also means that it comes with some unfortunate graphical hiccups. Looking too far towards the horizon to see upcoming turns will reveal the track popping into view as you travel downwards.
Having pop-in isn’t bad when it is on a graphically intense game or if they are covered up cleverly with fog, yet in Tanuki Sunset that is sadly not the case; pop-in textures being glaringly obvious. Another hiccup I experienced that required a full game restart was when testing the Photo Mode.
Photo Mode in Tanuki Sunset should be really cool, able to give some fantastic screenshots to share with friends. Launching into it, the game does not pause the action. This means photos must be taken quickly to get the correct spot you want to capture. When I fired this up, Tanuki fell through the map endlessly. Yup I couldn’t back out or even reset the level, left to hard quit the game and go back in; all I could see was the board falling down to the pits of doom below.
Tanuki Sunset does not outstay its welcome though. The game can easily be blasted through in a couple of hours, and most of the unlocks in the in-game store can be purchased as you progress. And what with it being procedurally generated, a touch of replayability is added in.
So all in, Tanuki Sunset is capable of providing a fun enough time, but it is sadly hampered by graphical issues and a very short length. The story is practically non-existent, so all that is left is the gameplay. Looks wise and when it runs free of issues, Tanuki Sunset looks rather nice, but pop-in and falling through objects does happen quite often.
Tanuki Sunset is a fun arcade jaunt that nails the aesthetic of the 1980s. However, it’s difficult to fully recommend, and that’s due to some graphical issues and a short run time.
Tanuki Sunset is on the Xbox Store