Developer Just Add Oil’s new game Road to Guangdong is a bit of strange one when it comes to genre as it mixes an adventure/visual novel game with a driving simulator. It’s set in China during the 1990s and focuses on some family business drama and the importance of family in our lives. Is it worth your time to go on this road trip?
In this game you play as a young woman named Sunny who has been away at school studying art. She returns home after her parents suddenly pass away and she finds that she is now the owner of her family restaurant. Now running the family business wasn’t what she wanted to do which is why she went off to school originally. Her aunt Guu Ma starts pushing her though and together they set out on a road trip to meet up with some relatives who can help them keep the family business running. The car you travel in is a character in itself with it even having its own name, Sandy.
Sandy is an old car and has seen better days so during this journey you’ll have to take care of her so that she can get you where you need to go and if you don’t then it’s game over. This includes fixing parts when they break, filling her up with more oil and gas, and more. How often you have to do these things can depend on how well you drive the car and how fast. This was one of my problems though because it seemed like I had to drive slowly most of the time or I would run out of petrol too quickly.
That actual driving part of the game wasn’t that enjoyable to me either. That’s because there just didn’t seem to be much to see along the way, the routes seemed to be too straight, and much of the scenery looked alike. At times you pass two different types of places you can stop which are junk yards and garages. Junk yards let you scavenge for parts to either fix Sandy with or sell for money. Garages let you perform repairs and top off on fuel. Outside of that there isn’t much else to do while driving other than listen to the radio but the music there isn’t great either. You actually might be better off putting your own music on to listen to because it at least might keep you entertained through the driving portions.
The more interesting part of the game is when you get to meet the other characters in Sunny’s family. I enjoyed learning about each character’s past and the good and bad times that they’ve been through in life. The main goal during your talks with these relatives is to pick the right dialog choices so that they will teach you new recipes to use at the restaurant. You also want to try and get them to come to the family reunion. This is a game that only certain types of gamers will likely enjoy. If you don’t like having to take care of a car or reading through tons of text then you probably won’t enjoy this game.
Road to Guangdong is almost like two different types of games put together where one is alright and the other is just kind of boring. The parts where you are getting to know the relatives and making dialog choices are the most interesting bits about this game as the stories they have to tell are pretty good. It’s really the boring driving portions and car maintenance mechanics that drag this game down. I can recommend it for the story but not for the driving parts and so you should know what you’re getting into before you play it.
*Road to Guangdong is available now on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC. Reviewed on a PS4 Pro. Review copy provided by the publisher for this review.