At first glance I thought Grayfax Software’s game Orangeblood would be a typical JRPG filled with adorable chibi characters and overused anime tropes. To my surprise I learned the lesson of not to judge a book by its cover. Orangeblood combines the art of modern Japanese culture with the inspiration of 90s street hip hop. I found the game to be a wild ride for its “colorful” dialogue and flashback music.
For starters, Orangeblood is a role playing game that utilizes turn based combat in two dimensional art. Where the story is concerned, it follows the main character, Vanilla, and her infiltration of New Koza, a man made island off of the coast of Okinawa. The island is inhabited by various gangs, street thugs, and robots all of whom Vanilla must fight against to reclaim her life after being exiled from the underworld. Also, this wouldn’t be an RPG if there wasn’t room for a few other characters to join the story.
The game has a very rich dialogue that not everyone may connect with. Sometimes it was so street that I found myself looking up expressions on Urban Dictionary on my phone. With that said there is no shortage of profanity in the musings between characters. Though, it isn’t misplaced cursing but rather a stream of street talk packaged in a humorous way. Even though I couldn’t connect 100% with the expressions used by the characters, I still found it enjoyable to learn about a culture that seems foreign to my life experiences.
Orangeblood has an amazing soundtrack of hip hop music that I very much appreciate. An often overlooked aspect of video games, music has the ability to accentuate the story or leave it in the dust. Orangeblood does the former by tying the nostalgic street music of the 90s to neo-world of the Orangeblood universe. The game’s dialogue, art, and plot would all be uninteresting if it weren’t for the music bringing those all together.
Final Fantasy’s classical approach achieved the same composition when it combined story with music. Legend of Zelda and Skyrim have also done this. However, in my video game experience this is the first time I’ve encountered this depth of hip hop in a game. Though I may not be a regular listener to the genre, I can’t deny the enjoyment of the relaxed atmosphere that the game portrays.
Final Grade: A-
Orangeblood is a JRPG on the surface and a 90s joyride at heart. Combining street dialogue and hip hop the game does a very good job of immersing you in nostalgic memories of a time that seems so long ago. While the combat and controls aren’t anything to brag about, the music certainly is a defining feature of the game.
The Tip and The Top
Brilliant music combined with story
Music playlist available on YouTube
The Flip and The Flop
Buggy soundtrack switching between areas