Tokyo 42 ReviewPrice:
Tokyo 42's minimalist, sci-fi flavoured vision of the future is enthralling. The city is charming, stuffed full of cringeworthy puns, knowing pop culture references and slick ultra-violence that makes the first few hours a joy to play.
However, several hours in the game's charm gives way to a bastard-hard difficulty spike that doesn't let up and a mix of mechanics that ensure players will remember the game as a passable platformer instead of the sci-fi kill-'em-up promised in the trailers.
Tokyo 42 has a fascinating premise. No one dies in the future, not since the invention of some sort of medicine that keeps everyone kicking. However, there's been a murder, the first in several years. Worse: The police think that you did it. Now, your character has become an assassin to get to the bottom of things.
Don't worry about the assassin part. No one ever really dies here, remember?
Tokyo 42 does a lot right, and I'm intending to talk about it in the coming paragraphs, but first I'd like to talk about the two things that it gets wrong, two errors that hang around the game's neck like a sci-fi-inspired millstone.
The first and primary problem is that combat feels loose, lacking the bite needed to make it feel satisfying. The action is so fast that at a normal pace it'd be impossible to keep up with it all, but the game is somewhat lackadaisical in its treatment of the flow of time, and this laziness means that when you're fighting it seems to slow down like treacle so you can dance among bullets, whereas it seems to go at a cracking pace when you're diving head-first off of multi-storey buildings.
You quickly get access to a cornucopia of different weapons, although there aren't many surprises. I found I quickly came to favour the Katana, which is silent and brutally efficient in close range. I also had a lot of love for a multi-barrelled pistol, which functioned as a shotgun, and I tried my best to keep it handy for close encounters. However, combat is frequently dissatisfying, with rounds floating slowly into targets or yourself.
This ties into some smaller issues with the enemy AI. If combat doesn't tick the boxes, the best route is stealth. Unfortunately, the AI doesn't really do the grunt work here, with enemy guards failing to notice dead bodies or a missing colleague as long as you cut them down out of sight. It's not a massive issue, but it seems a little silly.