Game Review: Tokyo Dark –Remembrance– (Nintendo Switch)

Tokyo Dark makes the leap from STEAM to console in Tokyo Dark –Remembrance– but how did we find this mystery visual novel experience to be on the Nintendo Switch? Let’s take a look and find out.

Title: Tokyo Dark –Remembrance–
Publisher: UNTIES
Developer: Cherrymochi
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Resolution: 1920 x 1080
Audio: Japanese
Subtitles: English (White)
Local Players: 1
Online Players: N/A
Install: YES (1.2GB)

Our View:

Developed by Cherrymochi and mebius, and published digitally onto Nintendo Switch by UNTIES / Sony Music Japan, Tokyo Dark –Remembrance– is the enhanced mystery visual novel experience of Tokyo Dark; with the differences being improved gameplay functionality and newly drawn animated sequences that brings to the events of the game to life during key moments. Naturally it might not sound like a big ‘overhaul’ when compared to the original; but it certainly enhances the mystery experience and delivers one traumatic story line with multiple possible endings that works effectively on the Nintendo Switch.

Tokyo Dark was originally kick-started and released onto STEAM in 2017, and was even submitted to the Square Enix Collective back in 2015; but this –Remembrance– edition of the game, of which has been released digitally onto the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4 via UNTIES, revitalises the experience for a new set of audiences. Visually Tokyo Dark –Remembrance– looks like any other simplistic looking visual novel experience, and its interactive gameplay leaves much to be desired due to clunky control systems; but it’s the story and the multi-choice endings that really make this title stand-out.

The story within Tokyo Dark –Remembrance– follows Detective Itō who finds herself searching various locations across Tokyo for answers to her partners disappearance. Through the course of this investigation we learn that the disappearance of her partner was anything but normal; with a mysterious white mask and a secret cult having major influence on the circumstances of her partners disappearance. Murder, Deceit and supernatural elements combine to deliver an invigorating story that continually engages the player in finding out the truth. But the truth is far more stranger than fiction.

To some this may sound like a vague description of the overall story; but the story within Tokyo Dark –Remembrance– is varied depending on your interactions. As with all good visual novel experiences the player is required to interact with other characters to help progress the story along, and depending on how the player interacts with said characters will depend on the overall outcome as well as the detectives mindset. It’s not uncommon for visual novel titles to have multiple-endings, with some offering more of a satisfying conclusion then others, but with Tokyo Dark –Remembrance– it offers a more ‘life and death’ vibe that I haven’t experienced form other titles.

Experiencing Tokyo Dark –Remembrance– for yourself, and reacting to the decisions based on your own thought process, is one way to play the game; while pretending to be the detective – and acting like an officer in the police force – is another one way to interact with the game; but however you proceed forward with the story minor elements will change and the ending may be vastly different. It’s more than just multi choice options either, as each option made will have an effect on Detective Itō; with some being for the better while others are for worse.

As a result of her partners disappearance, and in turn trauma experienced during a hostage situation, Detective Itō finds herself in an abnormal mental state while trying to tackle the everyday pressures of her police work. As such the game introduces a ‘mentality’ system that monitors Detective Itō’s Sanity, Professionalism, Investigation skills and so forth; and each decision made in the game alters these stats. For instance having a drink to seduce someone will decrease Detective Itō’s Sanity and Professionalism while asking the right questions will increase these stats.

This addition may seem rather pointless, as it turns out they have no real effect on the progression of the story, but if her sanity rating decreases too much then she’ll find herself succumbing to the darkness and transported to the hospital. It might not seem like a bad outcome, but depending on the situation and timescale of where you are in the story then it can act as a big hindrance. For example during the later stages of the story Detective Itō is suspended and considered a suspect in recent events taking place within Tokyo; so being confined to a hospital as a result of her sanity would bring unwanted attention from the police and a potential ending to the story.

Maintaining a balance to these ratings is not essential; but as long as the Sanity rating is kept in check then other rating elements will remain in balance; but this – along with the interactive features of walking across the map and clicking on highlighted objects – is what makes Tokyo Dark –Remembrance– stand out from other games in this genre; and in some part the mystery elements remind me of Broken Sword – which, ironically, is a franchise I never enjoyed.

From a story perspective then Tokyo Dark –Remembrance– progresses like any other visual novel experience, with character artwork displayed on either sides of the screen depicting a character with the dialogue being listed in the middle. It’s an unchanged formula and works well here; but disappointingly in certain scenarios the text hides behind character artwork, and, more annoyingly, the text is rather small, thus making it difficult to read.

The interactive elements of the game, and in turn story, are presented through the multi-choice options on screen during dialogue moments and, in turn, the full movement and of the detective when investigating. When not talking to a character players can fully control Detective Itō across a small area and when moving close to something of interest a small box will appear.

This is where the clumsy controls come into effect as players have to press A to select the box and then push the directional button in the direction of the displayed text as well as press A to begin the motion of interactive with that item or person. To make matters worse the location of the same command (such as Look or Open) may change position depending on which item is being investigated.

This system does not really have any continuity and It takes awhile to get used to; but once the control scheme has become familiar then it does not become an issue. The issue is the lack of tutorial that explains the process for what needs to be done or how to do it. This also reigns true with story progression, as from what I recall of my experience there isn’t a ‘notepad’ highlighting what you need to do next; so you better pay attention to the conversation so you’ll know what you need to do next.

Other problems arise in the form of a lack of voice-over as every character does not speak, with the exception of Detective Itō who makes occasional noises in some form. Technically this is not an issue, but it does break the immersion for what is a rather solid story.

For a visual novel experience Tokyo Dark –Remembrance– is simplistic at best, and the same can also be said about the artwork; but at it same time the story and its pacing kept me hooked until the end. If you’ve enjoyed visual novels with multi-choice options and endings, as well as investigative type games such as Broken Sword, then you’ll love what Tokyo Dark –Remembrance- has to offer; and while not perfect it does offer a bite-sized story (each playthrough is around 3 hours) that can be replayed for those multiple endings. Despite its flaws Tokyo Dark –Remembrance- is a well worth addition to the Nintendo Switch, and easily works best on the Nintendo hybrid console.

Score: review-stars-4

Tokyo Dark –Remembrance– is now available digitally for the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4 worldwide.

About Scott Emsen
Scott is the Founder and Executive Editor of AnimeBlurayUK but in the past he has worked at ZOMGPlay, Rice Digital and Funstock and was once a Community Moderator for the Nokia N-Gage forums. Based in the UK, he loves anything related to Games & Anime and in In his spare time you'll mostly find him playing on one of his many gaming consoles; namely the PS Vita, PS4 or Xbox One.

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