SMAC Games‘ Tokyo 42 made a huge impression on me from the first second I clapped eyes on it. Maciek Strychalski’s vibrant, ultra-colourful art style coupled with his brother Sean Wright’s technical prowess packs a serious punch; the game’s gorgeous presentation is a neat visual expression of its elegant shooter gameplay.
As you can probably tell from my purple prose, I’m intensely proud to be publishing this game and I’m delighted to announce that we’ll be bringing it to PS4 next year.
The devs describe Tokyo 42 as “Syndicate-meets-Monument Valley-meets-Worms” – it’s pretty unusual, so we can turn a blind eye to those excessive hyphens. The game has a significant open world single player mode with a story and lots of side-quests, plus a competitive arena-based multiplayer component.
You play as a character who is drawn into a cutthroat world of assassins, exploring an intensely condensed future Tokyo. Grabbing missions from terminals and shady “handlers”, you build up your funds and underworld reputation as you go.
It’s an action game to its colourful core: every bullet and grenade has full physics, enabling you to dodge and weave while you take on rival gang members, the police or sinister corporate drones. You pick up pistols, machine guns, sniper rifles, katanas and a slew of other weapons along the way, jumping and rotating the camera to gain access to new parts of the world.
The attention to detail in this game is extraordinary: little secrets abound in every corner of the map. While SMAC take a lot of influence from indie games and classic titles, they’re huge fans of modern AAA gaming as well: you’ll see some Assassin’s Creed and Metal Gear Solid inflections as you use the stealth system to sneak into a gang stronghold, or leap from a tall building, sniping an enemy in midair.
You can change your skin to blend in with the crowd and shake off rival assassins who have been sent to hunt you down. This mechanic also allows you to infiltrate the various groups you’ll come across: the Punks, the Skins (a militant nudist faction) and the all-powerful NanoMed corporation will permit you passage through their territory if you are appropriately attired.
Skin swapping has a big impact on multiplayer as well. In the core Arena mode, you and your opponent spawn into a small area, unaware of each other’s location. You must try to act nonchalantly as part of the crowd as you move around collecting weapons: giving away your location could mean instant death if your opponent picks you out.
The Worms influence becomes clear as you try to arc grenades over the top of buildings or sneakily bounce them off walls to catch out other players. A match between two seasoned combatants is a lethal game of feint and deception, with both players trying to predict which weapon will be picked up next, or which face in the crowd could be the last thing they ever see.
Although it’s fun to jump in and blast away, the game has a high skill-ceiling: precision sniping and timing certain weapons takes a little bit of practise. I think launching a motorbike off a jump and then taking out an assassin with a mid-air pistol shot should be sufficient incentive to hone your skills.
There aren’t many games this eye-popping which also have really meaty gameplay. That’s no accident: Sean and Maciek are incredibly hard-working developers. There are so many brilliant details, so many opportunities for cool moments; if you want to play something where the creators truly care about crafting an exciting experience, then I can’t wait to show you this game on PS4 early in 2017.
For more on Tokyo 42, please see www.tokyo42.com