The friends of Ringo Ishikawa Image
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Mixed or average reviews - based on 8 Critic Reviews What's this?

User Score
6.9

Mixed or average reviews- based on 26 Ratings

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  • Summary: Ringo Ishikawa is a gang leader but also a senior in High School, with day-to-day challenges and routines to follow. You have freedom in how you pass each day, and as time progresses a natural story plays out that is inspired by yakuza-delinquent aesthetics. This is a story about gangs, Ringo Ishikawa is a gang leader but also a senior in High School, with day-to-day challenges and routines to follow. You have freedom in how you pass each day, and as time progresses a natural story plays out that is inspired by yakuza-delinquent aesthetics. This is a story about gangs, friendships and, most of all, about growing up.

    You can pick fights with other gangs and master the game’s mechanics, utilising punches, kicks and grapples while levelling up Ringo and his gang members. You can go shopping, hang out at a burger restaurant or café, head to the bar, or even get a job to earn money for food, activities, a TV and other goodies that unlock minigames. On top of that you have classes and homework to consider, as you can strive for top grades or play truant. Above all of this, the story of Ringo Ishikawa plays out for you to experience.

    With stylish retro-inspired visuals and a varied soundtrack to perfectly fit the mood, The friends of Ringo Ishikawa gives an awesome blend of narrative, action, varied challenges and a Japanese vibe.
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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 8
  2. Negative: 0 out of 8
  1. 90
    The Friends of Ringo Ishikawa is one of the best examples of subversion within the brawler genre since the mighty Lollipop Chainsaw.
  2. Nintendo Force Magazine
    Feb 27, 2020
    85
    I appreciate Ringo's lack of structure. It feels real to me. [Issue #40 – July/August 2019, p. 17]
  3. Apr 29, 2019
    75
    The Friends of Ringo Ishikawa might look like an old-fashioned belt-scroller, but it is actually an open-world game full of life and… well, philosophy! There’s plenty of dialogue, and the way the story is told through everyday life events at school and in your neighborhood feels like real life. The game’s systems aren’t well explained, which will catch many gamers off-guard at first, but its climax has a lasting impact that is worth experiencing.
  4. Apr 22, 2019
    60
    Screenshots really don’t do The friends of Ringo Ishikawa justice. What looks like a traditional side-scrolling brawler is actually something far more intricate. It’s more of a teenage simulator than anything, and with some really well-written dialogue (filled with the kind of malaise and sense of directionless rebellion we all experienced in our formative years) there’s a really interesting story to be found. Its everyday activities will remind you more of Bully or Shenmue than Street Gangs/River City Ransom, just don’t expect to have your hand held as you head out into the world to discover them.
  5. Apr 18, 2019
    50
    While the concept of an open world beat ‘em up set in high-school sounds interesting, the way it was executed is far from perfect. Furthermore, the entire world feels meaningless, as there is no way to easily tell what time your classes begin, and where they are. It is also difficult to know where each building is in the world because The Friends of Ringo Ishikawa lacks a map/compass feature. If you are looking for a unique beat ‘em up, and are willing to manage it’s user experience issues, then this is a perfect game for you.
  6. Apr 20, 2019
    50
    The Friends of Ringo Ishikawa is quite weak in its pure playful proposal but has a real personality that could well embark you, if you are sensitive to this typical Japanese atmosphere carried by hip hop melodies and retro graphics successful in this small city, free to live the existence often in slow motion of a rascal high school and his friends. In this, again, the fact of being able to play in a nomadic way with the Switch is a plus.
  7. Jul 10, 2019
    50
    The combat, too, can get a little confusing when a bunch of characters are on-screen. You'll end up hitting the wrong foe, which then allows your intended target to get some free hits on you. The abundance of techniques doesn't add much, either, as the basic punch and kick combos do fine against everyone. I know this isn't meant to be specifically a beat-'em-up, but the gameplay feels a little basic.

See all 8 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 13
  2. Negative: 2 out of 13
  1. May 11, 2019
    10
    If you like a coming of age story, a immersive gaming experience and beat em ups set around japan, school, and the yakuza you love this
  2. Jun 11, 2022
    10
    A chill game about wandering around town, chilling by yourself, getting into fights as a gang leader and trying to survive your last year ofA chill game about wandering around town, chilling by yourself, getting into fights as a gang leader and trying to survive your last year of high school. It's not strictly a beat-em-up nor a JRPG like Persona where you're always looking for ideal outcomes through your activities. It's not a game you power through for hours continuously or right away.

    It wants you to embrace aimlessness and the ordinary. No tutorial or map or even specific goals for the most part. It wants you to take your time. It creates a rather immersive, introspective and (at least for me) existential experience that really puts you into the shoes of an adolescent with no idea where he wants his life to go or what his future will be.

    I enjoyed just playing for a short bit, under an hour or so, everyday, living through the titular Ishikawa dealing with his mundane life and then contemplating and journalling about where my own life is headed as well and where I want to be, whilst going about my desired activities, my routine, just like you're tasked with as Ishikawa. You can choose to beat up rival gang members, stay at home, go to the gym, study, attend school, hang out with friends, or just lie in solitude, either at smoking on your balcony or chucking stones at a body of water elsewhere in the town. All of this is set to a beautiful and chill hip-hop soundtrack that I boot up the game at times just to listen to.

    Make sure to savour this mindfully and slowly just like Ishikawa when smoking a cigarette.
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  3. Apr 21, 2019
    10
    this is a really compelling but meditative experience where you play as a Japanese high school student just living his life. it's a bit of athis is a really compelling but meditative experience where you play as a Japanese high school student just living his life. it's a bit of a combination between Shenmue and Persona, with the free exploration of Shenmue and the high school schedule of Persona. unlike those two games however, this game can be as focused or as aimless as you choose. wanna be a good student and go to class every day? you can do that! wanna beat up some jerks who looked at you funny? you can! wanna stand on a rooftop, smoking and watching clouds go by? it's all here! if you spent your senior year of high school skipping class and trying to figure out what your life afterwards was going to look like, this game is probably going to resonate with you. it also has some really stellar music and pixel art, and an atmosphere you can sink into like it was your favorite chair. all around, a really lovely little game. Expand
  4. Jul 20, 2019
    9
    You are Ringo. You lead a gang. You go to high school. You need money for food and cigarettes. The rest is up to you.
  5. Aug 11, 2020
    9
    Really quite unique and not for everyone. It has some real shenmue vibes to it. I'm not sure why, maybe the title and the boxart, but it stoodReally quite unique and not for everyone. It has some real shenmue vibes to it. I'm not sure why, maybe the title and the boxart, but it stood out to me. I really enjoyed it a lot overall.

    There's no real idea of what you're supposed to do but at the same time there are things to do and work for. You can earn money, learn fighting moves, purchase a tv, buy videos, get a part time job, study, earn a scholarship and more.

    Story events seem to play out at random but they might be connected to progression in certain areas, I'm not sure. The characters are quite charming in a coming of age Japanese anime kind of way.

    A lot of people will be put off by the fact that it's so unclear what you're supposed to do but I think that's very much the point. There's something really quite unique and special about this title. I think if you enjoy shenmue (although I feel there are a lot more ways to spend your time in this game than shenmue) and appreciate the art style then this is probably something you'll enjoy.
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  6. Jun 20, 2020
    9
    I didn't know I needed a mix of River City Ransom and Persona in my life. But here comes this game and gives me exactly that. I love prettyI didn't know I needed a mix of River City Ransom and Persona in my life. But here comes this game and gives me exactly that. I love pretty much everything about this game. The characters, the art style the soundtrack, the story, the student-life-management.
    Though the combat isn't as polished as in River City Girls, for example, it's still a lot of fun. I love how much choice this game gives you and how much detail there is in every aspect of it. There's tons to do and even a fair amount of replay value.
    Definitely recommended if you got any enjoyment out of River City Ransom.
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  7. Jul 7, 2021
    0
    I bought this game because I love River City Ransom and thought this was something like that but its not. This game is merciless and gives youI bought this game because I love River City Ransom and thought this was something like that but its not. This game is merciless and gives you not even a clue as to what to do outside of explaining basic controls. Right in the get go you are weak and even with blocking, you still can get hit and when you get hit, YOU GET HIT HARD. You get little to no money and the food that would normally heal you in every RCR game does nothing in this game. The only way to "heal" (that I know so far) is to smoke a cigarette while crouching and that takes almost half a day AND when I saw the day count, I figured there was some kind of time limit and sure enough there is according to a walkthrough so there's that to look forward to as you try to heal while wasting time only to find yourself dying from a fight and watch as half a day goes away when you wake back up in your bed.

    Also just like with healing EVERYTHING in this game forces you to wait in real time and when I say wait, I mean you better pull out your phone and do something like watch YouTube videos because you will be waiting several minutes just for something to finish.

    If you are an RCR fan, AVOID THIS GAME. This is not the same type of game!
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See all 13 User Reviews