Hey there, readers! Do you want to satisfy your murderous desires without all that pesky guilt getting in your way? Well then, do I have the game for you! Brought to you by SMAC games, Tokyo 42 is a “hyper-stylish isometric open world shooter”.
As outlined on the steam page, the player is “framed for a murder you didn’t commit, you’ll delve into a world of assassins, deadly corporate intrigue and cats”. Yeah, the cats kinda seem like it comes outta left field. But let’s face it, if any animal were to become a deadly remorseless assassin, it’d be those furry assholes.
Immediately as you start the game, you get thrown into a police chase and have to be rescued by your friend Tycho. You quickly realise you’ve been framed for murder by an assassin. So what’s Tycho’s brilliant plan? Let’s murder people as an assassin until we find the guy! Somehow I don’t think this will prove my innocence here, Tycho!
But it’s fine, because in this setting no one really dies. Taking a bullet to the head just mildly inconveniences them. The whole premise is that everyone in Tokyo takes Nanomeds. These pills essentially respawn them and keep them alive. As such, assassins are more in the line of sending a message to their targets. Plus, you can throw all that silly morality malarky out the window!
I’ve gotta say this is weirdly effective. Not that I usually have much remorse in games, but it does take away some sense of responsibility. “It’s k, he’ll come back in like 5 minutes to kick my ass. Circle of life!” However, I did start to feel a little guilty on one of the side missions. You’re told to assassinate a yoga teacher who’s telling his students not to take meds whilst taking them himself. Well, while I was shooting him, I took out 3 of his students by accident. Yup, there goes any slight chance of deniability I had for that murder charge! Oops!
It should be noted that Tokyo 42 is a beautiful game. I’m not usually a fan of low res games, but this one is genuinely eye-catching. The colours in the city really pop and contrast. Also, the level of detail is incredibly high.Genuinely, between the cutesy statue’s, the cherry blossom trees and the bright neon signs, I could genuinely see Tokyo looking similar to this in a couple decades. Though the casual murder might not catch on.
The art style plays a huge part in Tokyo 42.This game is made to be looked at. It’s so important that one of the core mechanics of the game is built around it. Part of the schtick of Tokyo 42 is being able to change the angle of the environment to look around. The player can look at every angle of the environment to find the best approach. It turns the game into a puzzle of sorts. Do I charge in guns blazing, or look around for a parkour route?
Notably, both styles are open to players. If you prefer to shoot things and dodge bullets, feel free. But if you’d rather avoid a fight and sneak around enemies and slice them with a katana, that’s also an option. I can’t say one way is any easier than the other. If you wanna dodge a billion bullets, make some noise. If you want to have to respawn 50 times cos you’ve been spotted, be stealthy. It’s all up to personal preference and problem-solving. There are even bonuses for both playstyles at the end of each mission.
Honestly, I’ve had a lot of fun with this game. I really do like it. But that said, every game has its faults. For example moving the camera whilst trying to keep track of things can be a little awkward. You have to move the camera mid fight if you’re being shot from behind a building or at an awkward angle. For me, it was a little disorienting. But I imagine once you’re good at the game, it’s less of a problem.
Furthermore, it can be difficult to tell when the enemy sees you sometimes. For one mission I spent the entire time sneaking around before realising all the enemies were facing the wall, not towards me. After this, I ran around the mission happily chopping people to bits before realising just one of them is facing outward and dying. If I’d been able to zoom or something it might have been easier to tell where they were facing. I imagine it would help in a lot of spaces where it’s harder to tell if the enemy sees you.
Of course, being spotted is a minor issue when you can just respawn. The enemies will reset when you do. But that just brings in the issue of becoming repetitive. You can spend a lot of time doing the same sequences over and over again. On the one hand, it lets you look for alternative ways to get around a problem. But the monotony does set in after a while. I found it so frustrating that I just quit certain missions. It’s not worth hating the game over 57 bad attempts at a mission.
All in all, I recommend Tokyo 42. It’s fun, it’s pretty and it’s something I haven’t seen much before. In addition to single player, it also has a multiplayer mode. Sadly, I didn’t get to try it out but I think it’d be fun. It reminds me a lot of the old Assassins Creed multiplayer where you have to hunt down a target and hide from assassins. Tokyo 42 is now available on Steam, Xbox and PS4. Definitely recommended if you’re looking for something simple.