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Tokyo Dark Review – Where Western and Japanese Games Don’t Make A Good Game

Sadly, this is another example of a great idea with poor execution which completely ruins it.

Developer: Cherrymochi
Publisher: Square Enix
Release Date: September 7th, 2017
Platforms: PC (Windows and Mac OS)
Platform Reviewed on: PC (Windows)

Note: While this game does not announce content warnings, I feel it’s important to warn you about these. There are mentions of pedophilic actions and sexual abuse in the game. Tread cautiously if you still intend to play it.

 

Tokyo Dark is a psychological horror point-and-click game for the PC. You take control of Detective Ito who is looking for her lost law enforcement and romantic partner. This game has multiple endings to it, however, I only completed one of them. I was intending to play through other endings but the game became very monotonous so I had to leave it as it was.

While is described as a “horror” game, it’s not actually very horror themed. There’s about two hours worth of scary moment which are broken up as you run around Tokyo completing different errands for a wide range of people. It ruins the overall tone of the game quite a bit really but there are a few “meta” parts of the game. Each one pulls the same trick repeatedly so it gets old pretty fast. Plus the main character seems to know that there are multiple endings for some reason.

 

 

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The writing is just generic and nothing profound or interesting. The game also includes two chapters that just feel like filler. They add more loose ties to the game and solves very little so they’re almost pointless for Tokyo Dark to have. 

I noticed a big problem in this game in regards to villains, mental illness and gender. All the villains seem to have been abused somehow meanwhile those with mental illness it’s all over the place and dependent on their gender. It’s a pretty poor representation really and doesn’t make much sense. It’s very obvious that the game is written by people who have no real understanding of mental illness and women. According to the logic in Tokyo Dark, the only way to make a female evil is through trauma.

So the story is a little bit dodgy overall then. I can’t really recommend this game in regards to the plot as a result so don’t expect too much from it.

 

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Despite this being a point-and-click game, there are very few puzzles. For those who enjoy this type of game for puzzles then you’ll be disappointed here. Tokyo Dark does provide a few hints for puzzles if you really struggle which is great to see. For example, there’s a light puzzle where you need to monitor how many times a light blinks and the order of blinks. The game does give you the order if you really struggle. While this is good, it’ll probably be necessary due to one major (and very annoying) design flaw. The lights are not all on one screen so you must move the camera around to try and catch the sequence. Good luck.

The rest of the gameplay here is focused on fetch quests to collect information and literal items. It’s very stale and monotonous as a result. This is the main reason why I opted against doing another playthrough so soon.

Tokyo Dark is a very, well…. dark game. However, most of the world looks amazing. It’s filled out and lush which makes it very visually appealing. Not to mention the fact that the animated cutscenes do look fantastic. They’re a marvel to watch unfold which makes it even more depressing that the story is so weak. At the very least, you’ll be able to enjoy watching the story visually unfold through the cutscenes.

 

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I’m not convinced that Tokyo Dark is an entirely bad game but it’s certainly not a very good one. It’s like they didn’t know what tone to set for it and didn’t really have a developed story to hold it up. Such a shame.

 

Pros:

  • Visuals
  • Well animated anime cutscenes
  • The soundtrack

Cons:

  • The inconsistent theming and writing
  • Ending system
  • Repetitive gameplay

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