September 17, 2023

Age, Rage, and Redemption: Fading Afternoon (Steam) Review

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Age, Rage, and Redemption: Fading Afternoon (Steam) Review

By Joel | September 17, 2023

Indie developer Yeo offers a captivating introspection on age, consequence, and redemption with his newest release, Fading Afternoon, and published by IndieArk. The game thrusts players into the tired shoes of our protagonist, Senji Maruyima.

Known to the dark underworld as "Gozuki," a mythological creature from China that keeps spirits of the underworld from escaping before their penance is finished. Our middle-aged yakuza hero, freshly out of prison, finds himself grappling with a formidable opponent: Father Time. In this game, it's not the katanas, the bullets, or the rival yakuza that pose the most considerable threat, but the ticking clock reminding Senji of his fleeting vitality.

Explore more game reviews from IndieArk's collection here.

Indie developer, Yeo, delivers a poignant exploration of age, consequence, redemption, and brutal street fights.

Life and Regret

Having played in the magical narrative of The Friends of Ringo Ishikawa back in 2018, Yeo’s knack for balancing combat and compelling storytelling is once again evident. While both titles are distinct in their timelines and combat mechanisms, they converge on the profound importance of the tale they spin. Revenge, as it turns out, is not just a dish best served cold but one that simmers over time with layers of regret, wrath, and in the end, reflection.

Fading Afternoon paints a relatively serene and subtle backdrop. Amidst the required fights for story progression, players are offered the liberty to simply idly sit and watch the world go by. These events could be a nod to the dichotomy of life itself, as for moments of chaos usually converge with tranquil contemplation. And as Seiji walks through rival territories, you can almost hear the gentle sigh of a man questioning his history and asking, "Was all this violence truly worth it?"

Indie developer, Yeo, delivers a poignant exploration of age, consequence, redemption, and brutal street fights.

Pixel Introspection

Graphically, the game is a visual composition of bright colors and liberal use of soft pallets of hues. Each pixel pops-out like a shimmering speck of afternoon sunlight, drowning in its own tales. There's a mysterious allure when watching Seiji, seemingly lost in thought, his internal struggles and revelations laid bare for us to interpret.

As age creeps up on him, the stories of yesteryears that once evoked pride now serve as haunting reminders of a turbulent past. It reminds us of that inevitable phase in life where the setting sun casts longer shadows, that we're left pondering about the choices made and the paths tread.

However, despite the great concept in story, every game is without blemishes and Fading Afternoon is no exception. The main one is its combat mechanics, which oftentimes feel underwhelming and non-fluid, forcing players to smash buttons repetitively and await Seiji's next move. Ambiguities in objectives might also send players into the frustrating loop of trial and error as goals are not always clearly defined. Yet, the title's musical score rises to the occasion, perfectly echoing the mood on screen.

Indie developer, Yeo, delivers a poignant exploration of age, consequence, redemption, and brutal street fights.

Fading Sunlight

In the grand scheme of my playthrough I was caught between admiration and critique. On the one hand, I cherished its depth, and on the other, lamented on its occasional combat shallowness. The game left me thinking about a sequel, where we might see Seiji, not in combat, but on the edge of life's end, musing over tales of his youth.

In all its pixelated splendor, however, Fading Afternoon is more than just a game; it's a journey through the winding valley's of life, age, and consequence. And as we venture deeper into Seiji's world, we're inadvertently thrown into an introspective spiral of our destiny: When our own afternoon starts to fade, what stories will we be able to tell?

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