I booted up Tokyo 13 not knowing what to expect. The promise of a riddle solving social network tickled my interest, but I couldn’t have known the alluring grip that this unique experience would soon have over me.
Download for Free
After entering a name and registering to the fake social network, you are briefly introduced to the ins and outs by the System Operator. You are then free to explore this message board at your leisure, solving whatever riddles the users may put up.
You can answer any riddles by directly typing the answer in the chat. Chatting with users is as easy as taping on the text box and selecting one of three different responses. While your decisions rarely change the outcome of a conversation, it still adds the feeling of chatting with real people. And the network is jam packed with people each with their own stories, which you can slowly uncover as you spend time chatting with the users.
And boy does it feel personal. The game frequently blurs the line between game and reality. The conversations are believable, with the users frequently spamming you with their little problems. You even receive real notifications from users whenever there is a new post or a reply to your private chat. All this makes it very easy to get caught up in the world of Tokyo 13.
The first puzzle that caught my eye was from a college girl named Yuka. After a bit of pondering, I managed to be the first to solve this simple word puzzle. Once I posted the answer, we really hit it off in private chat. She told me that she was going to a job interview in a book store and wrote to me along the way. She soon took a small detour, exploring a mysterious floor of an office building. However, things slowly became dark as Yuka snapped a few photos of the location with eerie puzzles littered about. Things escalated when a monstrous figure started chasing her. Ultimately I lost contact with Yuka.
My conversations with Shiku had a similarly gruesome way. This puzzle loving girl was on her way to a riddle event. I ended up helping her by solving the riddles which pointed to the destination of the event, only to lose contact with Shiku the moment she noticed a strange person waiting for her.
Chats with the others were no exception. Some just disappeared after waking up in an unknown location, while others had their world slowly warped around them. The way the posted puzzles slowly lead up to cryptic real-world challenges, not unlike they were plucked out directly from Silent Hill, made the whole experience much more thoughtout than you would see typically in a puzzle game.
It’s appreciated that there isn’t a single riddle that is unsolvable. Whenever you need a hint you can always request assistance by watching an ad. Hints are usually very small, meaning that they rarely spell out the solution outright, but instead nudge you slowly to the correct answer. Even if you manage to get stuck, the authors of the puzzles will often give you the correct answer after multiple wrong guesses.
There is a great deal of different riddles to be solved here, ranging from number puzzles, hidden codes, music riddles, encoded images; there is something for every kind of riddle lover. The fact that there are always multiple puzzles available and that you can tackle these in any order you want, means that you are free to leave a particularly challenging puzzle for later.
If there is one thing to fault Tokyo 13 for, it is the fact that the game can be extremely buggy at times, to the extent of rendering it unplayable. Not being able to confirm an answer or back out of a response was an issue I encountered on multiple devices.
Considering that Tokyo 13 is totally free, there is absolutely no reason not to download it. It offers an experience unlike any other, and makes perfect use of the platform. It’s just a shame that the game is ridden with bugs which can hamper the enjoyment of what could have very well been a must-have horror title.