REVIEW: ‘Tokyo Dark – Remembrance’ is a Gritty Horror Adventure (PS4)

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Tokyo Dark

Tokyo Dark – Remembrance,  is an anime-style horror adventure murder mystery that combines a visual novel with choose your own Adventure features. The game was developed by Cherrymochi and published by UNTIES. Now, this new release for the Nintendo Switch brings updated and additional content as well as new endings that expand the gripping story of the original Tokyo Dark, which was funded through Kickstarter.

You play as Itō Ayami, a detective who hasn’t gotten a full night’s sleep ever since the horrifying incidents that lead to her partner, Tanaka Kazuki, disappearing. Haunted by frightening images of a deranged young girl and red markings painted everywhere she looks, Itō tries to fight the mysterious, dark power that’s threatening her sanity on her mission to reunite with her lost colleague.

Similar to the original PC release, Tokyo Dark – Remembrance for the Nintendo Switch is also a side-scrolling point-and-click horror adventure. The gameplay is pretty straightforward and easy to pick up on as you explore different locations and look for clues you will see white-outlined boxes. You can choose between the boxes to see what options or actions are available for you to make. Some actions might be making an observation that can be helpful later on, interviewing possible witnesses, or making a decision.

Another thing to note is that you can revisit some boxes, and when you look at the options again, you’ll see that there may be new ones there that weren’t available before. That’s because as you go throughout the game, options change as the story changes too. So it doesn’t hurt to go back and take a second look when you find yourself stuck in stressful situations.

Tokyo Dark

The main feature of Tokyo Dark’s gameplay is the S.P.I.N system. The S.P.I.N. system is essential because it tracks the main character’s four stats: sanity, professionalism, investigation, and neurosis. These attributes measure her mental health and well-being, but they are also directly impacted by the actions and choices you make in the game.

As you progress further into the game, you’ll find situations where you have to make tougher decisions that will sacrifice one S.P.I.N stat for another. For example, trying to gather information may lead you to choose between keeping things professional and by the book or breaking some rules to get the clues you need. No matter what choice you make, it will have either a positive or negative impact on Itō’s S.P.I.N stats and affect the availability of more than ten possible endings. And since there’s no going back after you make a decision or action, thanks to the game’s auto-save, you have no choice but to play things out until the end.

That’s why it is important to consider all of the available options and think them through carefully because they may come back to bite you later on in the story. The S.P.I.N System was something I enjoyed about this game because it was helpful to refer to the S.P.I.N. stats from time to time to help gauge difficult decisions and situations; to see if I could afford to make an immoral decision that might sacrifice Itō’s mental health and well-being down the line.

The background graphics for the locations that Itō investigates are illustrated beautifully and capture the elements of a dark, seedy crime-noir world as well as a creepy horror film. I also liked that the locations in the game are inspired by real places in Tokyo that also happens to be full of Japanese mythology as well as urban myths, and tempered by the cultural influences of an international development team. This is very fitting for the game since some of the plot involves Itō investigating some urban legends and supernatural happenings as she searches for clues.

Tokyo Dark – Remembrance also has some great animated sequences from Graphnica, the same studio responsible for scenes in Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Xenoblade Chronicles X, Hellsing Ultimate and more. The animators do a fantastic job of capturing the elements of horror and modern noir that makeup Tokyo Dark‘s world. Especially with certain scenes where Itō enters dark and creepy environments that are accompanied by menacing background music that makes you aware something terrible is about to happen.

Overall Tokyo Dark – Remembrance does an amazing job of combining the gripping storytelling of a visual novel with a choose your own adventure game. I think fans of horror and mystery genres will especially enjoy playing through all of the different outcomes. The best part is the reply value. Once you play one time through you will want to dive right back in and see what you can do differently to change tragic outcomes and explore the other endings. And for the game’s price, $19.99, you are definitely getting your money’s worth.

Tokyo Dark – Remembrance is available on Nintendo Switch and PS4 November 7.

Tokyo Dark – Remembrance
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    Rating - 8/10
8/10

TL; DR

Tokyo Dark – Remembrance does an amazing job of combining the gripping storytelling of a visual novel with a choose your own adventure game. I think fans of horror and mystery genres will especially enjoy playing through all of the different outcomes.