Ridge Racer Review

Ridge Racer offers incredibly poor value, with a lack of compelling content to back up its competent arcade racing credentials.

UK REVIEW--Being a video game fan can sometimes be a little frustrating. If it's not games saddled with archaic digital rights management or console manufacturers trying to figure out ways of killing the secondhand game market, it's publishers trying to squeeze more cash out of you with downloadable content. Most of the time, DLC is a great thing, giving you more of the content you love without having to shell out for another full-priced release. At other times, it's simply an excuse to gouge as much money out of you as possible.

Driving sideways; the new driving forward.
Driving sideways; the new driving forward.

Case in point: Ridge Racer on the PlayStation Vita. Its twitchy, drift-happy racing is still as fun as ever, but in an effort to sell you more DLC, the core game is devoid of content. There's no single-player campaign, a mere five cars, and just three circuits--all of which have been lifted from Ridge Racer 7. Even if you pick up the first set of DLC (free with the initial batch of retail copies, or until March 31 for digital downloads), you gain just a handful of extra cars and tracks--again all already featured in Ridge Racer 7. This means that even with all the extras, there's still little here to engage all but the most hardcore of fans.

The game's lack of content is apparent as soon as you open up the main menu. Its swishy, swipe-based interface looks pretty, but flick past the many options, ranking, and trophy icons to the section entitled "Race" and you spot just three entries: Spot Race, Time Attack, and World Race. Spot Race lets you jump straight onto a circuit with AI opponents, Time Attack lets you compete for the best lap time, and World Race features the game's multiplayer modes. Multiplayer consists of Ghost Car Battles (with lap times exchangeable via Near), Online Battle for up to eight players, or Face-to-Face Battle for local races via Wi-Fi.

None are particularly engaging, especially as there are just three tracks to race on, all of which come from Ridge Racer 7: Southbay Docks, Highland Cliffs, and Harborline 765. You can race them in reverse, but that's a poor substitute for different circuits or--heaven forbid--some brand new ones. They're not even especially attractive either, lacking any sense of personality or style. This is not the game to get if you want to show off your shiny new Vita's graphical prowess. Even with the added challenge of human opponents in multiplayer, the tracks get very tiresome, very quickly, with the lack of a proper offline campaign mode just adding to the boredom.

Master Ridge Racer's drift mechanic and you'll be too far ahead of the pack for close scrapes like this one.
Master Ridge Racer's drift mechanic and you'll be too far ahead of the pack for close scrapes like this one.

Instead, there are online objectives. At the start of the game, you're asked to pledge your allegiance to one of four teams. Each team is given a global ranking that is based on the number of players it has and the races those players have won. You're also given a daily objective, which should give you a compelling reason to race. Sadly, it fails miserably. All of the objectives, no matter how they're worded, simply boil down to "race against a player from this team and win." That's it. There's absolutely zero variety on offer; no missions where you have to use boost, no time trials, no overtaking challenges.

Score chasers will no doubt appreciate the online leaderboards and ranking systems, but there isn't much reward for climbing the ranks, aside from a hefty speed boost at the easily attainable rank two. Likewise, the CR points you're awarded after each race let you buy upgrades for your car, but they also top out early, with an updated nitrous pack being the most thrilling on offer. Many of the upgrades are rather useless "tips," which merely list some of the upcoming upgrades--hardly the biggest incentive for competing.

Ridge Racer's one saving grace is the racing itself, which sticks to the spectacularly unrealistic, drift-based handling of the series. There's no problem hammering the accelerator during straight sections and shallow corners, but if you hit a sharper turn, you have to initiate a drift by easing off the accelerator, turning into the corner, and accelerating again. Applying subtle nudges to the steering guides the drift, ensuring your car is facing in the right direction at the end. There's a fine art to the drift; steer too much and you spin out; don't steer enough and you careen into the sides. It's an addictive system that constantly keeps you on your toes during a race. Drifting also charges your nitrous, which gives you a temporary speed boost, adding a layer of strategy to races.

Even a hefty dose of motion blur can't disguise Ridge Racer's mundane visuals.
Even a hefty dose of motion blur can't disguise Ridge Racer's mundane visuals.

It's racing you've seen before, though, numerous times on numerous consoles, and little has been done to change the formula. Coupled with the scandalous lack of content and compelling incentives to keep playing, Ridge Racer feels more like a cheap cash-in than a fully thought-out product. There isn't even a single new track for longtime fans to enjoy. If it were a cheap download, then it might be worth a punt, but even at its slightly "cut-down" price, it's a complete and utter rip-off. If you really, really, really need a Ridge Racer fix on the go, then it might be worth your time. For everyone else, there are better and more complete racing games in the Vita's launch lineup.

The Good
Fun, drift-based handling
Tight controls
The Bad
Complete lack of content serves only to sell you DLC
Multiplayer objectives are all the same
Unconvincing rewards
Mundane visuals
3
Bad
About GameSpot's Reviews

About the Author

Mark is a senior staff writer based out of the UK, the home of heavy metal and superior chocolate.
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painpas

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While i must make a correction and state that the game has 10 cars, 6 tracks and 70+ music tracks in the game the score should remain the same. If you don't have an internet connection you are paying for a demo and is an insult to the fans of the game which are not able to get online. This does not apply to me so I don't have to worry about it but for those who have not internet connection they should definitely stay away from this game and get Wipeout which is deeper gameplay wise. I will not lie I have played more than I care to disclose of the paltry offering that Namco have given us and I really like the quality of the game. The Quantity is unexceptable BUT I am a die hard fan and even imported the RR2 for PSP so I don't really care at all. I have RR7,6 and 4. Also the downloadable RR PSP. Yeah this game is for an idiot like me but I love the game sometimes Its just a relaxing and exhilirating at grade 6 and up.

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kabbara

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<< LINK REMOVED >> hey Bro i would like to ask u..how come u get 10 cars 6 tracks and 70+ musics track..what i should do..thanks bro

regards

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TwistyMcFisty

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I think Gamespot should re-review this game. I wouldnt expect it to recieve a score more than 6, but a score of 3.0 was an insult to begin with (its lacking in depth but the game is actually really fun) and deserves a 5.0 at least. And that was the advanced copy which only had 5 cars, 3 tracks and maybe 20 music trakcs. Now with FREE DLC, its been expanded to 9 cars, 6 tracks, about 80 music tracks, and graphical improvements.

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itchyflop

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<< LINK REMOVED >> no disrespect 20 music tracks, i can't play with music tracks if i wanted too i ll buy an ipod. 6 tracks and 9 cars??? really and you think that's ample for a next gen handheld/ console ?? i love rracer but this is really taking the p@ss. it looks great i ll give it that, there needs to be a hell of a dlc track package to justify this. Nothing personal to you dude, the fact its so poor really grinds my gears. Uncharted though a different game and off the beaten track (haha like that!!) is what we should be looking for, 34 levels of pure lushness. Keep gaming man. :)

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painpas

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I am disappointed with this game. However, IF you like the music and have a PS3 to download to then transfer to the Vita, then the game is worth a look. Check online if you have an interest in the music and the majority chosen are the right tracks from there respective series. Once I saw the selection I was a true sucker and went for it. After "free" downloads or did not have enough time or effort to put on the card downloads you will have 9 cars, 6 tracks and 70 plus songs from every game in the series. The music TO ME is the only real draw here. The gameplay is just like RR6 and 7. Graphics are not as good as the home console but is consistent. The sound design is very good without having rumble for feedback. You know when you hit something or are driving on another surface. The sound design and visual feedback seem to be the only real noticeable improvements over other iterations. The core gameplay is good and is the best in the series in all honesty because of the sound design and the vehicles just seem to have more weight or something. Stay away if you do not LOVE this type of game. I am a sucker for Wipeout and RR they go hand in hand for me and I cannot walk around without one to challenge me and one to make me feel good about myself because of the simplicity of the mechanics. The game is still a challenge after a while but you will certainly have PLENTY of time to learn the few tracks.

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TJsimulation

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I was rooting for this game. I love Ridge Racer. I've been a fan since it's PS1 offerings. Ridge Racer PSP was genius by bringing back old tracks with new paint and better graphics. Where did Namco go wrong here? Why did they think that the DLC ploy they used here would work, even on diehard fans like myself? I don't have a Vita yet, and this was going to be one of my first games on it, but now I see this and see Ridge Racer 7 on my shelf. Then I imagine only getting about 1/10th of what is in Ridge Racer 7 (if not less) and now I think I'll just pop Ridge Racer 7 into my PS3 and be done with it. If this is any indication of what Namco is going to do with the future Ridge Racer games, then us RR drifing fans are in HUGE trouble. If this marketing strategy is used for the rest of the series, Ridge Racer 7 will be viewed as the final game in the series for me. Any Ridge Racer game that gets this bad of an aggregate rating from newcomers and fans alike should not be even considered the real game. They could've at least given new tracks like in Ridge Racer PSP and a fully fledged SPC.

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simpletaste

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Ultimately Ridge Racer is a game people were willing to root for. Unfortunately they didn't deliver this time. Lack of content is only a part of the problem. Game modes could have been better if they had shifted their focus in places that needed that attention. Online integrated Guild like race clubs are unexciting and takes away the satisfaction of beating opponents

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essam24

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i did not read i did not play it but its look like Fun then dont play maybe.

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digitaltiger

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I was going to buy this game but now I won't. It doesn't sound like its even worth paying $10 for.

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anticusho1984

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sony announced free dlc with the game and $25 on psn, so the perspective should be different in that case, besides if the controls are as great as other ridge racer game it seems like a good racing game for the vita so far

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retroworld3000

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Oooh don't get cocky, Ridge Racer: Unbounded will also get more disappointed Ridge Racer fans due to Namco stole ideas from Disney's Spilt/Second Velocity instead of sticking to their traditional drift RACING! Thank god Namco shifted the release to the end of the month. I just hope they cancel it. Never gonna buy a another Namco game ever again. I think this is rushed for Vita somehow.

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Talldude80

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"check your bargain bin"

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Rhys2SkilleD

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horrible..

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Kos1c

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This could explain why the game had such a low retail cost (I think around the £15.99-20 mark). If this is what Sony is hoping to achive with it's new low price games. Then this will kill of the Vita mid life. They should of taken a more solid route. A physical copy of any game should have a decent amount of game content, and not be a ticket to view DLC for it.

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itchyflop

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what a b:tch, from such a trusted developer, NAMCO or SONY why are you ripping me off !! Is this the vita's future, dlc at high prices and developers taking the proverbial, i mean 3 tracks, honestly ??? you get more in a Woolworth's pick and mix..... i enjoy my vita but it seems Nintendo know their LOYAL FOLLOWERS, i may have to sell out if something isn't achieved pretty soon. Were already paying high(er) prices for our software, plants vs zombies 14 quid.....sort it out

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zavalaman

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Very ouch. And to think i was going to drop $20 for the 3-D MODE-DLC on my ps3 version. NOPE!

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Link_Destined_1

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I'm amazed no one has made any "RIDGE RACER! RIIIIIDGE RACER!" jokes. Also, a game that forces you to buy DLC to get any decent content is a ripoff. 3.0 is totally warranted.

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Badmutha

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Btw anyone remember the not-so-distant past when it seemed that games just kept getting better and better, not just costing more and more to get a decently complete experience??? My favorite hobby is in peril I'm afraid...

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Badmutha

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@Kleeyook Hmmm... perhaps you don't remember that Namco forced owners of Beautiful Katamari on the 360 to pay for DLC content that was ON THE DISC AT LAUNCH!?

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Kleeyook

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I can't believe Namco would be this greedy!

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MaggotSai

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Guess I'll just have to stick to Ridge Racer 6 and Ridge Racer 7.

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Spahettificator

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They've pulled a Resident Evil: Mercenaries.

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retroworld3000

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Wait, just three tracks??? I was excepting this a great game, *sigh* time to trade games. Not buying any more Namco games again. I think this is rushed for the PSVita release.

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Junaidmalik109

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WORST GAME EVER! only a sign of things to come!

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Vaev

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I never liked Ridge Racer. Namco should stick to fighting games.

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JmanSeo

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Looks like Namco Bandai are starting to follow Capcom's trends with trying to release as much downloadable content as possible on a game, but worse lol.

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anticusho1984

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namco should've sell this game on psn only for $10 or $15 if they planned to release most of the game as dlc,

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Lance-Marvelous

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fu ck Namco But i still Love me that Vita

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Lance-Marvelous

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you can hate all day Tums down all day but only broke haters are hating on a vita Get a Good Job & tum this S#$% UP ! lol

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Tikeio

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3.0?? LMAO! The Vita is flopping right now. Gravity Rush seems to be the only quality game coming out for the Vita.

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painpas

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Get Wipeout. Nothing to see here. Plus if you have Wipeout HD and Fury they will be free DLC for 2048 in a few months or weeks.... or something like that. PSblog for details.

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jaifrecap

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@iandavidvinoya They are all bad. The only games worth playing are ports from the PS3. Which if you own a PS3 make them obsolete.

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Miroku32

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Milking at its finest.

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iandavidvinoya

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@torrne667 Don't worry bro, I'll give you thumbs up! On topic: The graphics are good but I am not a real fan of RR series. If only they make more tacks and real life cars.

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iandavidvinoya

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@jaifrecap Do you realize that this is not the only game for Vita? LOL

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soulless4now

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Only three tracks to race on? The hell...

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Gelugon_baat

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DLC hawking? *Ugh*. :roll:

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jaifrecap

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So long VITA!

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torrne667

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seems the fanboys are in the house, i said something about this game not using the vitas potential and get thumbs down from hell. Sad days.

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pH347m3

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lol

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FlamingFury

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@crazydavey The fact they were giving the game away with preorders should have been a bit of a giveaway... All the previews seemed to think it was crap too. See if you can take it back and get Wipeout instead.

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crazydavey

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thank you very much gamespot, all those vita games you reviewed and you wait until the release date in the uk to rate one of the lowest rated games ive ever seen. great help it is to me after i brought the game at 11am this morning. im sure im cursed. brought the wifi vita, internet works fine but both near and maps cant find my location, all permission is enabled within all the settings, when maps tries to find me i get error code (c2-13396-2). its doing my bloomin head in, can anyone help please? c'mon gamespot, make it up to me. crazydaveuk

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JustPlainLucas

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.... Fu ck you, Namco. That's all I got to say...

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coltACP

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No modes? no variety? same as tekken 3D then, surely Namco isn't milking people or every penny for absolutely nothing.they need to release a good game and quick (soul 5, tekken 3D both trash)

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DeadrisingX1

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Ouch, tough luck.

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FlamingFury

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Holy ^@ is that a ripoff. And 3 tracks and 5 cars were never good enough in the N64 days lol. I think 1080 snowboarding only had 4 tracks, but it had a bunch of different racers and boards, and the tracks were easily 4x the length of any other racing game on the market at that point.

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GunBladeHero

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He just got Ridge Race'd.

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theJBlounge

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Oh well, seems you need an obligatory Ridge Racer game at every launch these days. It really shows how much our standards have increased over the years. 3 courses and 5 cars uses to be sufficient for the Saturn/N64/Playstation.

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Ridge Racer (2012) More Info

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  • First Released Mar 13, 2012
    released
    • PlayStation Vita
    Ridge Racer makes its debut on the PlayStation Vita with this installment of the racing series.
    5
    Average Rating42 Rating(s)
    Please Sign In to rate Ridge Racer (2012)
    Developed by:
    Namco Bandai Games, Cellius
    Published by:
    Namco Bandai Games, Bandai Namco Games
    Genre(s):
    Driving/Racing, Arcade
    Content is generally suitable for ages 10 and up. May contain more cartoon, fantasy or mild violence, mild language and/or minimal suggestive themes.
    Everyone 10+
    Mild Suggestive Themes