Tokyo Dark, within its first 15 minutes, scared me at least twice. I’m not a big fan of jump scares, of which this game has a fair few, but the intrigue and mystery of the plot kept pushing me forward. Not at night though, lord no! If the sun wasn’t shining brightly outside, Tokyo Dark just simply wasn’t being played ’cause I’m a little wuss.
Tokyo Dark follows Detective Ito as she searches for her missing partner, but she’s soon thrust into a complex case which forces Ito to question her own sanity, and whether or not she’ll be able to make it out of this in one piece. There’s a massive spoiler in the first hour of the game which takes place mid-way of the case, and then you’re quickly thrust back to the very beginning to piece it all together until its conclusion. Will Ito be able to uncover the truth, or will she lose herself in what can only be described as a horrible nightmare? Your choices will shape Ito’s fate, so choose wisely.
I played through the majority of the game in one sitting, and it clocked in at roughly 5 hours according to my Steam time. I think that this is fair for the asking price, especially as there’s little wasted time and it progresses at a brisk, but comfortable, pace.
The atmosphere can be pretty unsettling at times, and I was kept on the edge of my seat (in reality, I was shrinking away from the screen) but I am happy to announce that the jump scares die down a little after the first hour or so. It’s not a particularly scary game, and its thrilling, enrapturing plot begs you to see it through to its end.
Its thrilling, enrapturing plot begs you to see it through to its end.
With 11 different endings, there’s plenty of reason to go back and play through the game again. Some of the endings are vastly different and your choices directly have an effect on which ending you’ll get, and whether or not you take the pills prescribed to you as part of your recovery.
You need to worry about your sanity, professionalism, investigative skills and neurosis (related to anxiety, and used here when Ito talks to something for comfort that cannot give answers such as her pet cat), and this will also change how other characters interact with you. It deals with choice far better than the likes of a Telltale game, and it felt like the way I had Ito behave was reflected in the world around her. Gameplay is simple, and minimal, where you point and click to investigate certain objects, and you can click the side of each screen to have Ito run rather than walk.
Tokyo Dark‘s anime-inspired aesthetic is suitably oppressive, and developer Cherrymochi have used their experience of being based in Tokyo well when creating the environments. There are a decent variety of areas to visit, each being unique from one another, where you’ll meet a bunch of colourful and wonderfully designed characters — of course, they all look pretty down to Earth thanks to the series’ grounded narrative.
The 2D portraits during conversations have a bunch of expressions, and CG images during certain prompts pop up and never failed to be a joy to see. Ito’s running animation looks a bit funny, but it’s not something that should rightfully take you out of the experience by any means.
Tokyo Dark‘s anime-inspired aesthetic is suitably oppressive.
There’s very little voice-acting, well, there’s none at all bar a few noises being made such as gasps and screams, but if you’re picking up Tokyo Dark then chances are you’re familiar with visual novels and reading plenty of text. Tokyo Dark‘s soundtrack amplifies the game’s unnerving atmosphere with tracks providing a fitting ambiance, and it features predominantly low-pitched sounds as it steadily increases tension, and it does a great job at complimenting the game — I was very unnerved, Cherrymochi! I tell you what, I don’t think I could have a good night’s sleep if I had this OST plugged in as I went to bed.
I was actively anticipating Tokyo Dark‘s release as it brings together two of my loves – anime and detective stories – and I’m pleased to say that it hasn’t let me down. My biggest gripe with the game is that it seems to lack a true ending — sure, it’s a game where you carve your own adventure, but not having a definitive ending among its 11 endings is a tad disappointing and has left me feeling as if I don’t have full closure. I enjoyed the endings I’ve seen, but I don’t feel like I’m any closer to a real conclusion. That said, the endings themselves are generally worth seeking out.
Square Enix Collective has picked a strong title to support, and it’s one that’s wholly deserved it.
Tokyo Dark hasn’t disappointed me and with the spooky season among us, and its fair asking price, I recommend picking this up and joining Ito as she works to uncover the truth, even if it’s best to leave it buried. It might not have taken too long to get through it, but I found myself becoming more and more engrossed as it went on, and it doesn’t outstay its welcome. It’s a nice, healthy length and Cherrymochi have focused on telling their story without any extra fluff, and it shows in how polished and refined the overall experience is — it’s a brilliant debut for them. Square Enix Collective has picked a strong title to support, and it’s one that’s wholly deserved it.
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