Tokyo Dark by developer Cherrymochi and publisher Square Enix Collective is a detective mystery game with a focus on horror and a great storyline to accompany it. It captures the old point-and-click genre and combines it very well with anime-style visuals.
The art style used in Tokyo Dark is similar to that of a visual novel, but with much more interaction provided. The art style adds to one of the things Tokyo Dark does well, which is the game’s atmosphere. The atmosphere created through the setting throughout the game adds to its eeriness. In addition to this, the feeling of the game is enhanced by the audio and sound track during various scene changes. It captures the specific scenes perfectly and greatly adds to the overall experience while playing the game.
One of the interesting features added into Tokyo Dark is their SPIN system. SPIN stands for sanity, professionalism, investigation, and neurosis, and most decisions made in the game contribute towards one of these attributes. This system makes the player give more thought to their decisions since there are possible consequences to each decision. Morals also play a huge role in Tokyo Dark since they weigh heavily on your choices which have impact and consequences, whether that is to your SPIN stats or just your overall ending for the game. It also becomes a bit psychological when you’re making choices since you begin to wonder how exactly a simple decision can change the course of the game.
Since Tokyo Dark is a mystery and detective game, it only makes sense that it also contains puzzles. There are puzzle elements in the game that reward you or punish you depending on how well you can perform. In addition to this, some scenes have timers that require quick thinking to end up with a satisfying result.
Throughout Tokyo Dark, you are confronted with various quests that reveal more about the main story, allowing you to piece together the mystery. And since you’re in control of the character, rather than most visual novels where you are just a passenger to the story, the gameplay feels more immersive. The cut scenes in the game are also great because they add more to the scene than just a simple static image or a transition with dialogue.
Tokyo Dark does have some downsides though, such as when the game begins, you’re suddenly launched into the main story with no explanation on how to play the game and what to look for. The only feature that is explained is the autosave feature which mentions that all decisions are final. The SPIN system is also introduced and the point-and-click system is implied during the brief introduction.
One of the cons I noticed while playing Tokyo Dark is their interaction system. On the surface, it seems like a good mechanic for having multiple options for one person or item. Where it goes wrong is when there are similar options for multiple interactions, but in different places. An example of this is when you’re walking down a street and one interaction has ‘Enter’ on a door at the top of the menu, while the next one has it at the bottom or on the left. Another con about this system is that the menu is slow to appear at times, which sometimes leads to you running past them and then having to backtrack as they appear.
Another possible issue is that there is no ongoing quest screen, so you have to remember what your current goal is. This isn’t much of a problem in this game, since it keeps you on the main storyline for the entirety, but it can be a bit of a negative feature for those who speed through the dialogue while playing this style of game.
The graphics options in the game are also very limited, allowing the player to only change whether the game is windowed or full screen, brightness and contrast options, text size, language, and dynamic lighting options.
One other feature I noticed is that since Tokyo Dark is a point-and-click game, the input is limited to the mouse. At times this feels a bit limiting to the player, especially towards those who prefer the WASD or arrow key controls to move around, though there is much more control compared to standard visual novel style games.
Overall, Tokyo Dark captures a detective story fantastically, incorporating horror and anime-style themes just as well. If you’re looking for a mechanic-heavy game, this game is not for you. But if you’re looking for a mystery game with a rich storyline, puzzle elements, and a great atmosphere to accompany it, then Tokyo Dark is the game for you.
Here is the Tokyo Dark Launch Trailer:
Tokyo Dark is available for PC on Steam.