SumoBoy: An Indie Adventure Against Bullying

SumoBoy - Logo White

Over the years, video games have introduced us to a number of amazing characters that have made a home in our hearts. Characters so interesting and lovable that I need not even mention their names for you to realize who I am talking about. Well, here’s another character entering the world of video games pretty soon. And I think you’ll like him.

Oji (In Game)

Meet Oji, the protagonist in an upcoming indie adventure game, SumoBoy. He’ll be exploring the beautiful, vivid spirit world of Seishen, a magical land inspired by Japanese mythology and architecture. This upcoming game is being developed by TAPRR, a studio that consists of only a handful of developers and boasts AAA talent. SumoBoy is said to be a “story driven, anti-bullying inspired video game”. Do not let the words “anti-bullying inspired” lead you to believe that this game will be trying to shove it’s anti-bullying message down your throat and not be fun, because SumoBoy is shaping up to be a fantastic game. Don’t believe us? Watch the trailer for yourself below.

As a fan of Japanese culture that stemmed from anime and video games, I am very enthusiastic about TAPRR’s project. The trailer got me very excited indeed. The art and design for this game looks simply beautiful and reminds me of some Studio Ghibli movies I love (Did anyone else notice the Kodama-like things in the trailer?) and I feel like SumoBoy is something that I’ll come to love just as much. What basically pulls me towards this this game is the fact that it is trying to be unique. Sure, the game play may seem quite familiar, what with games like Bastion and Transistor being all the hype, but how about we focus on the words ‘story driven’ because that is what the game’s distinctive aspect is. All stories are definitely unique, but what makes SumoBoy stand out is its protagonist. Oji isn’t your everyday cool-looking hero who is ready to face off against hordes of monsters without breaking a sweat. Instead, he’s a kid who is bullied and doesn’t really look like much of a hero. Being an orphan, he has never met his parents, but one day he discovers that his mother was a princess, and his father a sumo warrior. Thus, his life changes as he wields the Blade of Balance and seeks to rescue Seishen from the evil Kurai Kami’s grasp.

SumoBoy - Earth Level

Judging from the trailer and the game’s Kickstarter page, I am positive that this game will have a deep emotional impact on it’s players. The characters, especially the protagonist, seem to be very well thought out and detailed, along with Seishen that seems like a perfect place for an adventure. Oji’s vulnerability and innocence makes him easily lovable. He’s not some overly complicated that you need to understand. He’s just a kid who you can click with instantly. It’s this simplicity that I like. I’m sure old-school gamers will understand what I’m trying to say here. Sometimes, it is simplicity that makes a great character.

The gameplay will feel familiar to gamers who have played Bastion, Transistor, Diablo and other such games. It’s the type of gameplay that we’ve come to love over the years. With various moves and techniques, along with two different modes of the Blade of Balance, players will help Oji triumph over his enemies and take another step towards his goal.

Here is some concept art from the game shared by the developers.

The game is currently set for a release on PC, Mac, Linux and Mobile. That is ofcourse, if it meets its Kickstarter goal. If you want to see the game to completion (and who wouldn’t?), you should head over to their official Kickstarter page to support the game, and help the developers realize their goal. There are also other stretch goals including a port for the PS4. The developers are also open to porting SumoBoy to other platforms including the Vita.