TGS 06: Bumpy Trot 2 Hands-On

We have no clue what the title refers to, but we do know that this is a mech combat dating sim RPG. Yes, you read that correctly.

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TOKYO--Although the Electronic Entertainment Expo is a fantastic show, it is admittedly somewhat deficient in showing off new advances in mech-combat/dating sim/role-playing games. Thankfully, our visit to the Tokyo Game Show remedied our burning desire to court women while destroying enemy robots, and we managed to go hands-on with the upcoming Bumpy Trot 2 for the Playstation 2.

Bumpy Trot is an odd game, to say the least, but its publisher, Irem Software Engineering, seems confident enough in the series to build a rather large booth for the game here on the show floor. The booth is two stories tall, with a huge mech available as you walk upstairs, in which people can pose for novelty photographs. Almost as an aside, a couple of PlayStation 2 stations are set up for trying out the game, which is listed as being around 65 percent complete at this point.

The demo starts out with some mech customization options. Since all of the menus are in Japanese, it's a bit difficult to tell what the heck you're doing to your mech, but each of the chassis and weapon options are apparently divided up by weight, so you can make your mech much bigger than it would be by default, but you're unable to exceed the maximum weight limit. Presumably, the heavier it gets, the harder it hits and the more damage it'll take, but the slower it'll move. We managed to change a couple of options and wound up with a suitably behemoth-like mech for our romantic interlude.

There are only two characters in the demo, one being a young man piloting the mech and the other a silver-haired girl he's apparently attempting to get close to. After traveling out to a snow-filled glade in the middle of the forest, the girl happened to spy a pair of grazing deer and pointed them out to the boy. After that, we were given three options. Apparently we chose the one that expressed a desire for venison that night, if her negative facial expression was any judge.

Luckily, a surprise attack by a few enemy mechs allowed us to change the subject and get into the combat mode. The controls are a bit difficult at the outset, with the two analog sticks being responsible for all movement. Pressing up on both sticks will move you forward; pressing back on both will move you back; and pressing up and down on different sticks will rotate your mech around its axis.

Combat is fairly straightforward, though, with the R1 and L1 buttons performing your primary and secondary attack. In our case, we had somehow managed to outfit our mech with a huge log as a primary attack, so when we got close to our enemies, all we had to do was tap a button, and the piece of timber slammed into them, dealing significant damage. We managed to easily dispatch three enemies with this simple attack before the demo was over.

When we viewed the cinematic trailer for the game, though, other aspects of the title were revealed to us. In addition to simply fighting off enemies with your mech, you'll be able to go underwater with it and apparently fish with it in some bodies of water. We weren't able to deduce much of the plot of the game, since everything's in Japanese, but it looks like there will be a suitably dramatic plot to drive your mech-fueled combat desires, and a few love interests for you to pursue at the same time.

The first Bumpy Trot game saw a US release, and although we weren't able to confirm the same thing for Bumpy Trot 2, we'll be sure to update our gamespace with more information as it becomes available.

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