REVIEW / Tokyo 42

A stunning shooter that is a little too stealthy.

On first glance Tokyo 42 looks like a stunning isometric puzzler, at at times it is. But hidden between the cyberpunk building of this stylish hand-created micro Tokyo is a ton of secrets, a great stealth game and an inconsistent shooter.

The story starts with you waking to find you’ve been framed for a murder, so you set out to do the only logical thing that’ll clear your name, become an assassin and kill a hell-load of people. If this sounds a little bonkers, then thats because it is, and the games proud of its rather elaborate take on a future Tokyo. One of the first contracts you’ll take is to assassinate the owner of a mini-golf complex, follow that up with the assassination of a nudist cult leader and it’s fair to say Tokyo 42 doesn’t takes it story too seriously, which perfectly suits this hyper-stylish, original GTA inspired game.

Each contract you take acts as a mini level in the gorgeous micro Tokyo’s open world. Often or not you’ll need to infiltrate an area, dispatch of the henchmen patrolling the complex and take down the top dog. Tokyo 42 doesn’t hold back in telling you there’s alway two ways to approach each target, you can either go in guns blazing or strike silently with your katana blade. Unfortunately this isn’t the case, there is really only one way to approach each stage, and thats the dreaded stealth route.

As a stealth game Tokyo 42 is a lot of fun to play; movement is silent and slick and it’s seriously satisfying when you’ve studied a guards patrol and execute the perfect plan. These stealth sections bring an almost puzzle element to the game, similar to how you would plan your route of attack in games such as Hotline Miami. However the striking area of your katana blade can be very hard to see from a distance, meaning I often strike passed the enemy, which not only alerts them but also the whole bloody complex, and this is where the game falls short.

As a shooter it just doesn’t quite hold up, coming under threat from even two enemies often results in death, which can be very frustrating when you feel like it wasn’t even your fault. I understand why developers SMAC Games made it a one hit kill life, but after playing through the first five missions I gave up on ‘shooter’ approach and accepted that I was playing a ‘stealth’ game.

There is the odd exception to the preferred stealth option, this comes in the form of sniper missions that are available from various terminals throughout the world. These are the only contracts that really mix up the dynamics, some even requiring you to take down multiply running targets in a set time, which is a lot tougher than it sounds.

One area that Tokyo 42 has absolutely nail is the hand-created micro Tokyo you play through. This recreation of the Japanese Capital is not only stunning to look at but feel reals and alive as you move through the pop-cultured streets. There’s also a ton of collectibles hidden throughout the world, from coats to gun skins, all offer cosmetic variables and some will require some very intricate thinking to collect.

Tokyo 42 also feature an online multiplayer in the form of a death match. For the most part we struggle to find a game, however when we did it was a lot of fun to play, often feeling like 1v1 games of cat and mouse. However, with the lack of a progression system there seems little reason to returning once the novelty wears off.

Tokyo 42 can’t quite decide what it want to be; on one hand you have a great stealth game that warms you with a real sense of success when taking down a target; on the other hand you have a shooter that often misses the mark with is over challenging gameplay and inconsistent hit boxes. No matter how you feel about the game play, there no denying the game looks incredible.