In my very first Order Up, we talked a bit about horror games that are a good fit for people who can’t quite handle survival horror. One of those games – honestly one of my favourite games, as well – is Tokyo Dark – a moody adventure game and visual novel mashup that follows Detective Ayame Ito as she struggles to deal with the aftermath of a hostage situation gone terribly wrong. This incredible game from Cherrymochi was originally on PC and has since branched out to Nintendo Switch. As of last week, it’s also now out on PS4, with some shiny new features.
So what’s Tokyo Dark all about?
Somewhere, deep beneath Tokyo, a door is rumoured to exist. There’s no returning from this door. No one comes back. Is it real? That’s a mystery, but one thing is for sure – something is beneath the streets of Tokyo and it’s calling to Detective Ito.
Tokyo Dark drops us right in the thick of things – Ito’s partner (both personally and professionally) has gone missing. She’s absolutely sure it connects back to a hostage case that came to a horrifying conclusion and which has haunted her since, but she has no clue how to connect the dots. Unfortunately, desperate to find him and solve the case for herself, Ito pulls the trigger too early and finds herself left with nothing but a shadow of the happy life she once lived. Sure that there must be clues somewhere that can help her make sense of everything that’s happened, she decides to continue trying to solve her partner’s case, quickly leading her to secrets that were never meant to be uncovered again.
From Shinjuku to Aokigahara, Ito’s journey will have the player sifting through both history and modern rumours to figure out if the darkness following her is real or only in her head.
The game does a good job of mixing adventure with visual novel – you’ll have puzzles and investigations to solve, and choices to make. You’ll also have SPIN – a set of statistics to watch that can vastly change your story. SPIN affects not only how Ito sees the world, but also how the world sees her. Can you remain sane despite hallucinations? Can you balance your medication? How will your coworkers perceive your off-duty work? Occasionally it can be a little stressful, knowing that you have to be careful about your actions. It can also be fascinating to see what affects your numbers. Taking a pill might increase your sanity, but also bring down your investigative prowess. Lying might take away from your professionalism sometimes, but help you others. Already checked that dumpster? Checking it again might add to your “neurotic” stat. I loved truly feeling like what I did was going to have an effect on my story. Your choices may force your hand in the investigation, and plenty of bad endings await.
As far as horror, Tokyo Dark definitely gave me the creeps and sometimes spooked me out of my skin. Sometimes it was just uncomfortable, like the feeling that behind any door real dangerous could be lurking. There are a few jumpscares, but much of the game is meant to be atmospheric and tense more than anything. Even after chasing down every ending, certain things still caught me off-guard. It also features stunningly beautiful art and sound design to round out your experience.
The original title on PC boasts 11 total endings, with 10 findable on the first playthrough and a true ending unlockable in New Game+. I was impressed with so many of the endings – a lot of them packed a heavy punch of feelings – and getting each new one didn’t feel like too much of a chore once I was able to move around a bit in New Game+.
More than just a re-release for a new system, Tokyo Dark -Remembrance- promises both new animated sequences and additional endings. I haven’t played these for myself yet, but I fell in love with the game and was desperate for more, so it’s pretty welcome news!
If you’re looking for something spooky and beautiful to play, Tokyo Dark -Remembrance- will definitely be worth your time. Grab it on Playstation 4 for $19.99!
Order Up! is a weekly column featuring indie-focused reviews, news, or interviews! We like old games just as much as new ones and are always looking for something to check out. Have a game recommendation, a project, or a company you want to talk about? Email me at [email protected] or find me on Twitter @ArcanaChance