The Systems in 'Troubleshooter' Revel in Anime Style Excess

What if you took the ridiculous and minute reasons shonen-anime protagonists win fights and made that into mechanics?
Key art from Troubleshooter, the image is split into four sections, in each section is a bust portrait of a person in an anime style, each one a different "troubleshooter"
Image courtesy of Dandylion

When we talk about anime, what generally comes to mind is over the top, larger than life characters and situations. The robots are big, the emotions are intense. And though anime that takes a more subtle approach exists, the maximalist approach is certainly one of the more popular modes for this medium. So what if you took that approach, and applied it not just to the characters and the story, but to game mechanics as well? This week on Waypoint Radio, Austin takes us through his time with Troubleshooters, a game that revels in maximalism. We also discuss the recent Xbox Series X presentation, which left us kind of cold on next gen. You can read an excerpt and listen to the full episode below.


Rob: There's actually a great evocation of scene and character in this. Don Bruce has not one but two framed photos of a dog wearing sunglasses.


Austin: It's true!

Rob: And also, like, you know what this looks like a great after hours. Don Bruce runs a great—like is this a good bar? No. Will it serve you drinks that he happens to have lying around at like 5:30 in the morning? Yes, it will! And it's got a cool jukebox, so you can already show up drunk at anytime after bars have closed and hang out with Don Bruce in his rec room.

Austin: This is exactly the fucking game it is like the thing that makes you go like "what is happening here? what is happening?" in every room that you go to. There's this place I just sent pictures of now called Ramji Plaza, that is like a big outdoor art exhibition/mall that is where the third mission in the game takes place.

Rob: We're like 85% of the way to that reality anyway. Have you been to an art museum lately?

Austin: You're totally right. The premise of this art exhibit is incredible. It's that 20 years ago, this artist named Ramji something made a painting, and tell me if you've seen Heroes before, made a painting that made it look like a big catastrophe was coming, and then it did, he was right. And so he has spun that into a very successful art career where people think that all his paintings are going to come true. And one of his paintings, which you can see in the outdoor art exhibit screenshot I sent you, is of the outdoor art exhibit and he did it, a year or two before they built it. And so what they did is they looked at the painting like "we got to build that shit now that looks dope!" And that's great, that's great detail to the setting.


Rob: I love that the location appears to be the Ramji Plaza Street Trees Rest Area. Which is, yeah, again like strong Boston Greenway vibes, where it's like, "do we have a good park for you? No. Do we have some trees planted next to this coffee bar? Yes, you can enjoy that, this is good city living!"

Austin: There was a bit where I was trying to find cover and the only thing available to me looked like a cube of running water. And I [thought] "that can't give cover," but yeah it did, it absolutely gave cover.

Cado: Do you–?

Rob: Okay, hold on the spoonage thing.

Cado: The spoons! I was seeing the spoons.

Austin: What's up?

Rob: I was seeing the skill for Spoonism in the wiki.

Austin: Yeah, what's up?

Cado: Also these skills are wild.

Rob: So spooning gives powers?

Austin: Hmm. So the second thing that those people say might actually help you. So what you're describing is a screenshot I sent you in which a dude says to two other dudes "Do you believe in the Spoonage" in this art gallery. Well, the next thing maybe will help explain the situation, as they say "Trust in the Lord." Um, Spoonists are one of four enemy group types I think? They are some sort of cult, I don't [know]. Here's what I will say is good about this, that happens and then after that whole sequence happens every other NPC that you've kind of recruited to help fight this fight goes like "Were they talking about spoons? What the fuck were they talking about?"


So yeah who truly knows. I think that it's like, there are spoons and Spoonisms. Okay there's criminals, Spoonists, wanted man, beasts, and machines, those are the types of enemies. There's like an entire breakdown screen of all of the different type of enemies that you meet and they all have different. You learn more about them as you fight and learn their weakness, you know it's one of those it's one of those, and you learn their masteries. Also I didn't even talk about the fact that when this game starts up it's like, "oh do you wanna play online or offline?"

Cado: Wait what??

Austin: What are you talking about? What do you mean? I want to tell you, I picked online because I saw someone say "just play online." I don't know what it means still, and I'm a few hours in.

Cado: I just want to say, I love some of these mastery names.

Austin: Uh huh. Yeah, please shout out you're faves.

Cado: I love equip a Black Tiger and also a sense of belonging.

Austin: A sense of belonging seems really really good.

This transcript was edited for length and clarity.

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