June 7, 2014 8:35 AM | Lena LeRay
There have been numerous attempts to make games that educate about bullying and how to fight it. To my knowledge, none of them have been quite like what TAPRR hopes to achieve with SumoBoy. The gameplay has been inspired by games such as Bastion, Diablo, and The Legend of Zelda; the setting has been inspired by Japanese folklore. The story is one about a boy who goes on a journey in which he must find the courage to stand up to bullies. It looks like SumoBoy will not only be a good game, but have the potential to provide hope and escape for people who are being bullied as well as help educate others about what they can do to help stop bullying when they see it.
The main character in SumoBoy is Oji, an orphan whose life is made miserable by the other children at the orphanage. One day, however, he finds out that he is the son of the spirit world's Princess of the Elements and a champion sumo wrestler who was her bodyguard. He had been sent to Earth for his own safety, but now his mother and the spirit world, Seishin, needs help that only Oji and Hitoshii, the sword of balance that was sent to Earth with him, can provide. He'll have to make his way through each of five elemental realms to defeat Kurai Kami and restore the spirit world to rights.
Bullies harbor fears that cause them to lash out at others, and the enemies are being designed to reflect that. Every enemy will have some quality of a bully, such as the faceless ninja that is designed to represent cowardice and being scared to show one's face. That is part of where Hitoshii comes into play. It will be able not only to harm enemies but to heal them by dissolving their fears.
TAPRR has plans for different sumo-inspired moves for Oji to use. Players will need to master the use of all the moves to make it through the game, employing them with tactical effectiveness in order to take down enemies and bosses. During downtime, players will be able to head to The Heya to buy items and equipment, practice thier moves, or talk to the NPC denizens.
There's a lot more detail on the SumoBoy Kickstarter page, including more about TAPRR's plans for the soundtrack and narration. If you've read this far, you should check it out. They're asking for $100,000 AUD to make the game for Windows, Mac, Linux, and mobile with an experienced team. If they hit $200,000 AUD, the game will also be released on PlayStation 4.