From Mitchell Corporation, makers of the classic Puzz Loop, comes Tokyo Crash Mobs, a tile-matching puzzle game with a sharp twist. Indeed one might say it’s more than a twist – almost a spiral – that takes us to a place where logic is made to feel unwelcome. In the best Nintendo kind of way of course.
Imagine the classic Bust-A-Move setup of firing coloured balls at other coloured balls to match them and make them vanish until the stage is clear. The same principal applies here, except instead of coloured balls, Tokyo Crash Mobs utilises be-suited digitised ‘scenesters’ queuing in vibrant suits.
You take on the persona of one of several excitable young ladies, and use their apparent super strength (and the DS stylus) to throw these jittery Japanese people at each other as you go about matching three scenesters to remove them from the queue.
Arrangements vary from level to level, the lines spiralling, snaking or winding in different ways. If the be-suited ones become too numerous, they will end your game either by pressing a button which launches you into outer space, or by stopping you getting your rightful place in the queue before the timer runs out.
So far, so strange then, and things aren’t made any clearer by a series of bizarre cut scenes as each round is preceded by a loading screen bearing an over-excited digitised female winding her arm up shouting ‘Delusion Now!’
I’m not quite sure if this message is an instruction, or a declarative statement, but either way, the game quickly steps up past the mere strange and into the realms of frantic madness as further obstacles appear. Take the queue jumpers for example, who must be dispatched in order to keep the scenesters from taking over the screen and blocking your entrance to the clubs of Japan’s capital.
Then you’re presented with objects to use, if you’re quick enough to dispatch the barrier-bearing lady you’ll be rewarded with a few seconds of free time to reduce numbers say. Combos come into play too and become second nature as you line up the unsuspecting suits in staggered permutations before unleashing screen-clearing blows with a strike of the stylus.
In story mode, titled as such in surely an irony-soaked way, you work through a weekly diary with ever-increasing difficulty each day until you reach Sunday. In this universe, Sunday is motion control day, and with it come the ninjas, who step things up a notch from the scenesters and actually launch their own retaliatory offensives. The thought alone surely enough to pique the interest of most.
The 3D is well utilised here and there’s a palpable sense of dread as the screen becomes overloaded, especially as ninja bosses throw their coloured clones forward in waves to thwart you. The screen becomes frantic with action and captions, and the minutes pass quickly as you furiously jab the ‘retry’ option after another yet another wipeout.
Mitchell Corporation has a history of interesting tile-matching games and Tokyo Crash Mobs is no exception. It’s an enigmatic and above all fun attempt to re-invigorate a fairly stale genre, and makes good use of the 3DS’ capabilities to fashion an addictive and amusing title with surprising depth.
By Sam Gill
Format: 3DS (via eShop)
Developer: Mitchell Corporation