Dark, unsettling, and intriguing, Tokyo Dark plunges you into a horror-filled mystery as you search for the truth behind an impossible case, in an adventure game that will keep you hooked until the end.
MonsterVine was provided with a PC code for review.
When Detective Ayami Ito’s partner goes missing, she heads out after him and is stricken by the similarities to an earlier incident. Soon, she finds herself fighting for her sanity as she searches for the truth behind an unnatural mask and a murderous girl who should be dead.
Tokyo Dark is a cross between an adventure game and a visual novel. Conversations are presented like a visual novel, and at times you’ll be given choices to make. Critical choices are timed, forcing you to consider your options quickly. As you explore various areas of Tokyo, you’ll need to question characters and solve puzzles in order to proceed. The puzzles are usually fairly mild and involve talking to the right characters to get their help.
However, there are multiple paths to most of your goals, and these choices affect the S.P.I.N. system. S.P.I.N. stands for Sanity, Professionalism, Investigation, and Neurosis, and your actions influence these stats. For example, taking your medicine increases your Sanity while decreasing your Investigation, while solving a problem through violence might decrease both your Sanity and Professionalism. Managing these stats adds another dimension to the gameplay, although it isn’t particularly difficult. The S.P.I.N system, along with major choices, influence which of the game’s many endings you get.
The game auto-saves after every choice, so you can’t redo a decision if you dislike the outcome. However, completing the game once unlocks the New Game+, which allows you to save at key moments to replay specific sections. At first, it might seem frustrating that these save points aren’t based on your first playthrough, but there are notable differences in your second playthrough that make it worth experiencing again. A single playthrough takes about 3-4 hours to beat, making it easy to go back through to see more outcomes. Your second playthrough onward also allows you to skip certain dialogue sections like in a visual novel, although its adventure game elements mean you’ll still need to repeat the gameplay.
In fact, it sometimes feels like Tokyo Dark would be better as a choice-driven visual novel instead of an adventure game hybrid. Its choices are the most interesting part of gameplay, it has a city map that quickly becomes extraneous due to the linear progression, and the story is by far its strongest point.
It is a supernatural, sometimes surreal type of horror story as you dig deeper into the secrets of the mask and the girl your partner was pursuing. There are some lighter moments—such as eating pancakes in a cat maid café—but the overall tone is dark, unsettling, and always intriguing.
The Final Word
At times, Tokyo Dark feels like it would have been better as a pure visual novel, but despite some repetition, its storytelling comes through to make it an intriguing—and sometimes disturbing—experience.
– MonsterVine Review Score: 4 out of 5 – Good