Review: Fading Afternoon (Switch) – An Ambitious, Absorbing 'Yakuza' In Kunio-kun's Clothing

The gang’s all here.

Technos’ Kunio-kun titles, a 42-strong series dabbling in various genres, began in 1986 as a simple arena brawler. Its most popular entries, however, were those that incorporated non-linear role-playing elements based around soap operatic high school thuggery. Anyone familiar with those titles, specifically on Famicom, Super Famicom, and later Nintendo 3DS, will totally understand how Fading Afternoon functions.

Developer Yeo (real name Vadim Gilyazetdinov), hailing from Moscow, has coded several titles of a similar ilk, known collectively as his Existential Dilogy. The former titles, The Friends of Ringo Ishikawa (2018) and Arrest of a Stone Buddha (2020) also borrowed from the Kunio-kun format. While notable for their experimentation and ambition, it feels like everything Yeo was seeking to perfect has come to fruition in his latest title, Fading Afternoon. Underpinned by a thoughtful, reflective narrative, everything from concept to execution is carried off with confidence and panache.

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