Do you like gritty crime noir stories? A taste of the supernatural? Point and click adventures? Well then, now that Tokyo Dark has graced the Switch with it’s presence, you can have all this too, and on the go!
Tokyo Dark is an adventure mystery sort of visual novel style game, where you play as Ayami Itō, a detective working in the Tokyo police department. After her partner disappears, she delves into the dark underbelly of Tokyo to bring him back, and it isn’t the “criminal” kind of dark, either. You guide detective Itō through the dark and supernatural, the creepy businessmen, and the cat-atonically wonderful cat café’s, all in search of answers.
Gameplay is both rather simple yet sort of complicated at the same time. While the core mechanics are pretty much point and click, the SPIN system gives a nice twist on the experience. As you guide Itō around Tokyo, little boxes pop up that you can use to interact to with your environment. These boxes allow you choices, usually “look” or “investigate”, and are how you interact with both objects and people, with up to four choices that you push in a cardinal direction to choose. The vast majority of choices will affect one of your SPIN stats, which are Sanity, Professionalism, Investigation, and Neurosis. If those don’t give you an indicator as to how this game is gonna go, not too much more will. Different options will be given to you when investigating or making choices based on where your stats fall upon the gauge, which can be checked by accessing your menu if you need to check them.
What Tokyo Dark has that really sets it apart though is that all your choices and decisions feel like they really matter. With every action affecting your stats both negatively and positively, you really need to think about what you want to do. Even just examining things over and over again, or walking back and forth between the same areas too much can increase your neurosis, making you susceptible to larger hits to your sanity when something spooky happens. Compounding this, the game autosaves after basically everything, meaning unless you want to restart from the very beginning, your choices really do matter. With the option of simply loading a save file to try a different option, at least during your first playthrough, it gives a much greater weight to the choices you make, giving a feeling of truly “owning” your in-game decisions. With everything you do being permanent after it happens, you really start to evaluate your choices.
Like the original PC release, there are little cat statue things to collect, although it took me way too long to figure out it was the ‘X’ button that collected them. Admittedly it felt a little off not being able to at least tap the cats, but at least it makes the really hidden ones a bit easier to collect. The music is creepy when it needs to be, and lighthearted when it should be. When you’re exploring the creepy areas, the music gives you a sense of dread or worry, and the artstyle is really nice and vivid. The animations are pretty well done, and they even have a few fully animated cutscenes as well.