There are only two radio channels in the slice-of-life driving simulator, Road to Guangdong–one plays some blend of milquetoast “oriental” music, while the other broadcasts more upbeat and decidedly modern synthwave-inspired melodies. It’s this gulf between the two genres that also seems to inspire one of the few highlights behind Road to Guangdong: the light-hearted ribbing between you and your Guu Ma–the Chinese honorific for aunts–as you embark on a road trip together. The elderly Guu Ma’s disdain for the pulsating grooves of electronic music means she will always try to change the radio channel back to the vaguely Guangdong-esque music she’s more familiar with, after much grumbling about the unrefined state of modern music. You can, of course, flip the channel back again, if only to annoy her–and cackle at her exasperation as she reaches out to change the music once again.
While this small interaction is mildly amusing, it doesn’t sustain the game’s novelty for long. Road to Guangdong is a long-winding, exhausting ride–and I don’t mean in terms of hours. Not only is its pacing extremely sluggish, its characters’ minimalist expressions are also overly mechanical and too limited in their range to convey any emotion–an unfortunate design choice that only brings more attention to the game’s flat, lacklustre dialogues. This is made more apparent when Guu Ma occasionally sprinkles some canned advice over the course of your endless drives, one of which is a recurring suggestion to change your radio channel. But why would you suggest that, Guu Ma, if the only other option is these trance-like bangers you hate so much?