Tokyo Dark: Remembrance
[ Introduction ]
Tokyo Dark: Remembrance is a game by indie developer Cherrymochi, released on the Switch by Unties. It was kickstarted back in 2015 with a goal of 40.000 CAD which it succeeded with an astonishing total of 225.000 CAD.
Story: The game is a dark point ‘n click adventure that centers on detective Ayami Ito who is looking for her partner Kazuki Tanaka, who went missing on a case where he investigated a series of vandalism involving red paint at shrines all over Tokyo. As she investigates, she stumbles on a mysterious mask that leads her to discover that the truth behind the whole ordeal is darker and more sinister than she could have ever imagined. The game features multiple endings, and you will find yourself at one of these depending on the choices you make throughout. The game autosaves at regular intervals, and whenever you boot up the game, you are only given the choice to” continue” or start a” new game”, so you can’t really save scum. No, once you make a choice, you are stuck with it.
The story hooked me right from the get-go, and with the game having no less than 11 endings, it helps that one playthrough only takes about 5 hours, and the game has a New Game + feature that, as any self-respecting game like this, allows you to skip to specific key points to get to the ending you want.
I also didn’t really encounter any typos, which these types of games otherwise tend to be plagued by.
[ Gameplay ]
As previously mentioned, Tokyo Dark: Remembrance is a point ‘n click, but on the Switch, it really is that in name only. As the Switch features analogue sticks instead of a mouse, you walk around the 2-dimensional world until a square pops up on things you can investigate. You then push a button to focus on that object and are then given one or more options as to how you want to interact with it. You then push the corresponding directional button + A in order to do so. Depending on how you play, how much you go out of your way to investigate, what questions you ask suspects, what choices you make and just generally how nosy you are. These things all constantly affect your 4 main attributes being; professionalism, sanity, investigation, and neurosis.
For example, if Ayami investigates a trash can and finds a bloody bag, she will lose some of her sanity. While swelling an anti-biotics pill will add to her sanity but subtract from her investigation with the excuse that it makes her drowsy and unfocused as a side effect. I like cause and effect like this, how they justify why and how these things have the effect on you that they do. The value of each, along with the choices you have made, all ultimate decide your fate at the end. I feel that this system is very well integrated and adds a level of immersion, as points for these attributes with be added or subtracted even during cutscenes/dialogue if Ayami experiences something traumatizing or out of the ordinary. Even something as simple as repeatedly talking to the same person over and over again to see if they have something new to say will add to your neurosis.
Other than that, it is just your traditional 2D adventure game where you move left to right, enter buildings that will sometimes put you in a first-person perspective, and you can run indefinitely with the B button if things move too slow for your tastes.
[ Visual and Perfomance ]
At first glance, the anime graphics are fine enough. The backgrounds are nice and detailed, but the Ayami feels very stiff when she runs, and at certain points, it is very apparent that she is just a model on a background, which takes you out of the immersion. Cherrymochi did, however, pay Graphinica to do a handful of small animated sequences, and while these are 3 frames per second, it is a nice touch.
[ Sound ]
With an original score by Reign of Fury frontman Matt’ Bison’ Steed, the soundtrack does a nice job at creating an atmosphere, and goes great with whatever is going on in the game. Whether you are moving through a murky back alley, or find yourself in a live or die hostage situation where the music intensifies and really puts you in the moment.
The game is not fully voiced, but characters do occasionally utter single words in Japanese.