Explore an underworld mystery in Tokyo Dark

tokyo dark

Crowdfunded murder mystery game Tokyo Dark [official site] launched this week, and looks pretty gorgeous. Publishers Square Enix describe it as “somewhere between a point-and-click adventure and a visual novel”, and it follows Detective Ito, who is trying to find her missing partner in the Japanese capital. You’ll delve into Tokyo’s underworld, solving puzzles and making decisions that lead you towards one of 11 endings.

I’m a big fan of the anime art style, which depicts an exaggerated version of Tokyo with lots of bright neon lights and plenty of cherry blossom trees. It’s all enticing stuff.

Here’s more on story, which has heavy psychological themes:

“What starts as a straightforward case soon spirals into a twisted nightmare that causes Ito to confront her past and question her own sanity. Your decisions and actions change Detective Ito’s state of mind, opening doors to different possibilities as you attempt to find your partner and understand the dark and horrifying world around you.”

A constant auto-save function means you can’t go back and change choices you’ve made in the past. I like that: you have to live with the consequences of your decisions.

Tokyo Dark is made by developer Cherrymochi, who floated the game on Square Enix’s indie platform, Collective, in 2015 before bringing the game to Kickstarter, where it reached its funding goal within 14 hours.

You can pick it up on Steam for £12.23/16,19€/$16.19, which includes a 10% discount until Thursday.


  1. DFX2KX says:

    For half a moment, I was reminded of Westwood Studios take on Blade Runner, but in Tokyo and done as an anime. It’s just gritty looking enough to give me that kinda vibe for some reason.

    • Lord Death-Em-Up says:

      It’s certainly a grim game – don’t expect any happy endings…

      * Spoiler Alert *

      In addition, there are suicides (off-screen and not), mass killings, multiple murders (several possible by the detective), heavily implied sexual assaults, heavily implied Yakuza intimidation of shops (and people) – the detective almost gets “slapped around a bit” by them too, and various other bits…

      It’s not a laugh-a-minute in any regard… But even so, it is a great game.

  2. geldonyetich says:

    The trailer makes me think they up and revealed the twist right away, but I can’t say for sure.

  3. Doug Exeter says:

    This sounds semi-interesting. It couldn’t be any worse than the piece of trash “The Letter”. Not that it’s a very high bar to clear.

  4. bill says:

    Unfortunately, it looks like it hits every generic anime trope going. What exactly makes this game about talking heads with big eyes and big boobs different from every other anime game about talking heads with big eyes and big boobs?

    It does rather look like it gives away the twist in the trailer…

    • Doug Exeter says:

      Probably. I’m new to Visual Novels but out of the 4 I’ve come in contact with, 3 are derivative trash.I keep harping on “The Letter” cause the one LPer I watch is currently doing a play-thru of it and it’s considered a good example of the genre from reviews. It is the god damn worst, the guy who’s playing it hates it. Of those 3 I’ve seen, it’s anime tropes on with horrible, no editor in sight, never ending reddit fan-fic writing on top of it.

      On the other hand, the 1 good one I alluded to above, VA-11 HA-ll A (that this very site recommended) was a outstanding example of one done right. Punchy writing, great world building and interesting people. Maybe this one is a gem too? Hope so but don’t hold your breath.

    • Ghostbird says:

      What exactly makes this game about talking heads with big eyes and big boobs different from every other anime game about talking heads with big eyes and big boobs?

      At a guess, the story, the setting, and the characters.

      • rochrist says:

        Plus, I didn’t notice any particularly big boobs in either of the trailers. Certainly not the protagonist.

      • kipue says:

        Well, the protagonist and the main antagonist are not hugely-chested, but there is one barmaid that is looking like that. It’s early in the game, so probably easy to see in screenies.
        For now, I like how it goes, the conversations and the general text seem well written, with a good atmosphere. Can’t really tell about the story yet, since I’m still early in the playthrough :)

      • bill says:

        Well the setting and the characters definitely don’t set it apart.
        The story might, I don’t have enough information to go on for that.

        • kipue says:

          I cannot tell, I have not played any other of those types of games. To me it’s all new, without any reference point, and so I do enjoy what I’m playing for now.
          The closest I played was the series of visual detective novels on the Nintendo DS, “Hotel Dusk : Room 215” (which was great), and the latest one availabe on 3DS : “Chase : Cold Case Investigation”.

    • Lord Death-Em-Up says:

      Don’t forget its Japanese style graphics (and animation), so general features are quite exaggerated (very large eyes for example, as well as other… bits). I do actually like the style for this game, although I do prefer Western animation

  5. Marclev says:

    Having bought, and played this, any marketing likening it to a point and click adventure is pretty misleading, IMO.

    There is one actual puzzle, and one mini-game, in the entire game (which feels completely out of place) and the rest of it is just walking around from one part of story to the next reading lots and lots of very verbose dialog.

    In the game’s last third it pretty much just drops all pretence at being anything other than a visual novel and pretty literally tells you where to go and whom to talk to and all you’re doing is following those directions, so you spend several hours just reading conversations.

  6. Lord Death-Em-Up says:

    I liked the game a lot. I’m not a fan of Japanese animation, but I did think the graphics in this game are very nice, especially once you get over the typical Japanese over-exaggeration of features.

    The story is interesting. It’s a shame that more wasn’t done with the SPIN system – aside from a couple of parameters, it doesn’t really affect the game. And yes, it is more of a visual novel than a point and click adventure, but I think that was what they were aiming for really.

    As detailed in the game, it is a dark and foreboding game – even during the somewhat lighter moments, there is always a simmering tension.

    It probably should also be noted that if you are suffering from depression or something similar, this game certainly wouldn’t be for you – none of the endings are happy; the “happiest” is melancholy and all the rest are pretty sad and depressing (it certainly qualifies for an 18). In addition to that, your actions do affect a few other people at the end as well.

    And yes, I have been through all 11 endings (the worst/saddest, I felt being the Cat God one).

    Overall, it won’t take you long to do and see everything (my total play time was 28 hours), but it is worth playing, especially if you can get it in a sale.