Tokyo Dark

Tokyo Dark

Explore the dark underworld of Tokyo as you investigate the disappearance of your partner.

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One of the most interesting aspects of Tokyo Dark is that every decision is final. You can't save-scum, and important decisions are often time-restricted, meaning you follow your instinct, or do nothing. It's when you're making these decisions where the game shines. A narrative point and click adventure that quickly takes a much darker turn, Tokyo Dark explores the supernatural mysteries and darkness surrounding the bustling city of Tokyo.

You play as Detective Ayami Ito, working for the Tokyo police force investigating the mysterious disappearance of your partner, Detective Tanaka Kazuki. Your investigation will take you across a plethora of locations in the Japanese capital, from a creepy, confusing sewer to the noisy, colourful streets of Akihabara, the sombre offices of the police station, and your tranquil apartment with a nosy neighbour and calm-inducing cat. Despite the anime art-style being a turn-off for many people, it doesn't detract from the atmosphere in the game and developer Cherrymochi has done a fantastic job in separating the clichés and story arc from traditional anime stereotypes.

Tokyo Dark
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Mechanically, nothing will be foreign for anyone experienced with point and click games. Click to walk, click at the edge of the screen to jog. Hover over the imposed squares that appear when you're close to something to interact with it, with the standard options being "Look" and "Talk/Use". There's no voice acting; written dialogue supports the entire game, but that's not to say it's let down. There's a range of characters you'll encounter, from a perverted old man to the overly-enthusiastic waitress at a cat-themed restaurant, and each one is full of personality and life.

One let down in terms of how the game plays is the S.P.I.N system. Standing for Sanity, Professionalism, Investigation, and Neurosis, it's used to basically maintain Ito's wellbeing. Keep her Sanity up by doing ordinary things like playing with her cat, Professionalism by sticking to the standard code of conduct expected from a police officer like avoiding alcohol or firing your gun when not necessary, and her Investigation by completing the necessary steps to find things out. If you take too long to do something and can't figure it out, Ito's investigation meter will go down. Neurosis, on the other hand, is the only negative attribute, and is essentially Ito's mental state; it'll deteriorate if you keep talking to someone who has nothing new to say to you, but if you keep progressing steadily, your neurosis should stay at a decent level. You're pushed to keep your S.P.I.N balanced by the worry of a mental breakdown, and ultimately failing the game.

Tokyo DarkTokyo Dark

The thing about Tokyo Dark is that there's little in terms of actual difficulty. Puzzles mainly consist of fetch quests for someone to divulge information to you to aid your investigation, and with little worry of failure, it becomes more akin to a visual novel than a true adventure game. The story is undoubtedly the strong point and it excels, despite only being around six hours long. Being able to make your own decisions, like whether to knock out a colleague at the police station or simply shoot the lock, along with the ultimate choices with time and pressure raining down on you, means you can really shape your own story, despite it being a very linear experience. This is enhanced with New Game+ too, as you can go replay, change your outcomes, and find out what other endings there are. The unfortunate aspect here is that there really isn't many. Each ending is fairly similar to the last, a long-standing problem with Telltale's adventure games and something that often plagues these linear "choose your own adventure" titles.

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For Cherrymochi's first title, it's damn good. They haven't set their sights too high, and given that their website claims they "aim to bridge Japanese and Western game design", we can say with certainty that they've achieved that. Tokyo Dark never makes you feel like you don't understand due to the different cultures, and while short, the story is thrilling. There's no major jump scares, it tends to play more on the psychological horror element, but it works. Hopefully next time though, Cherrymochi can spread their wings a little more and tackle something even bigger, with a system that works better than S.P.I.N. Tokyo Dark isn't groundbreaking, but it does what it sets out to do; tell a fascinating story in an intriguing world.

07 Gamereactor UK
7 / 10
Story is fascinating, Diverse cast of characters, World is atmospheric and unsettling.
S.P.I.N system doesn't work particularly well. Over in about six hours, when the world could be explored so much more.
overall score
is our network score. What's yours? The network score is the average of every country's score

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Tokyo Dark

REVIEW. Written by Ford James

"Tokyo Dark isn't groundbreaking, but it does what it sets out to do; tell a fascinating story in an intriguing world."

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