Reviewed by Paige
- Developer: Cherrymochi
- Publisher: Unties
- Release Date: 07/11/2019
- Price: £16.19 / $19.99
- Review code provided by Unties
A Fitting Name
Funded by Kickstarter in 2015 Tokyo Dark debuted as a PC release two years ago. It has now arrived on the Nintendo Switch as Tokyo Dark Remembrance, with additional content. In it you are Detective Itō Ayami of the Tokyo Police, sent out alone to look for your missing partner, in more ways than one. In a point and click horror visual novel, misfortune continues to follow you. Will Itō find peace, the truth or something else?
Tugging the Strings of Fate
When starting the game it warns you that it autosaves and all decisions are final. Every option revolves around your perception, you may have to investigate an object before an option for another will appear. This is also true for what endings are available to you, some are quite close to each other but it is only how Itō see things that will let you choose them.
The gameplay is a point and click visual novel. When outside you have to be near the indicators, then press A and you can switch which ones you’re looking at with L/R. Objects/people may have more than one option that you can cycle to choose between. The game is played in short 2D areas of Tokyo that you unlock while progressing.
In the early section of the game you are also taught to check your SPIN chart. As almost every decision you make will have an impact on four different stats. These being:
The stat management is a good addition to the gameplay and not something I normally see in a non dating visual novel. All are important but your level of investigation can affect what options you may have in front of you. Maintaining a careful balance is the best way to go. Although I had fun being unprofessional at times.
Outside of a few timed moments the only danger you are in is that of your own decisions. My first playthrough took two hours, and while I thought I had made the right final choice it showed me that it wasn’t the best thing. After one playthrough you can do New Game + which allows you to skip some cutscenes. Though not all which was annoying because some of the dialogue I had to re-read didn’t come across as important. What was interesting is while I followed the same pattern of events some of my conversations were completely different and shed more light on what I had learned my first run. Because of that my second run nearly took two hours as well. When in New Game + there were checkpoints to save at, helping to save time for further playthroughs. This version of the game has thirteen endings, although a few of these are much more like a failure state.
Until Image is No Longer Visible
All the characters are depicted in an anime style while the drawn backgrounds are less stylized. There are a couple of small animated pieces that look great but I wish there were more. Instead there’s often images that expand out to depict some action you chose. Images may also flash during some hallucinations she experiences. Please be aware that this game contains gory imagery.
Constantly there is tense atmospheric music, that gave me a feeling of imminent danger. Some of it was much louder and intense. There is almost no voice acting, only a minute amount of voice lines in Japanese.
Not So Horror-ble
Throughout my playthroughs I experienced no technical issues. As with most visual novels it runs perfectly well whether playing in handheld or docked.
In terms of it being a horror game I was never scared, instead I was more tense about whether or not I was making the right decisions. Depending on what path you take this could also be a romance story. A couple of areas throw off the stressful mood entirely.
There are only a couple of different options for each scenario, as a lot of the endings branch very closely to each other rather than hinging on your investigation skills. Making the point and click aspect a weaker point of the gameplay. The theme and atmosphere of the game tie well into how it plays.
- Story integrates well with gameplay
- Tense soundtrack
- Beautiful art and animated segments
- No voice acting
- Skip option only partly available
Tokyo Dark Remembrance presents its story in a way that made me want to go back to see more. Regardless of my getting the “right” ending on my second try.