Don’t You Just Hate Standing in Line?
Do you revel in the absurd? Delight in the silly? Have you ever stood at the back of a long line and wished you could chuck the people in front of you until you were the only one left? If so, Tokyo Crash Mobs is the game for you.
At its core, Tokyo Crash Mobs is a familiar match-3 action-puzzle game similar to PopCap’s popular Zuma. The appeal here is in the amusing, colorful window dressing and the variety of gameplay modes available.
The player portrays two young women, Grace and Savannah. Grace is a young hipster who hates standing in line and specializes in tossing pedestrians at each other. Her levels feature a long, stationary line of “scenesters” who must be cleared within a time limit. Savannah is a delusional art student who specializes in rolling pedestrians. Her levels involve obliterating moving lines of scenesters before they reach a trap buzzer at the end of the puzzle. The two characters occasionally join together for special ninja levels, in which they must both toss and roll ninjas at each other.
All pedestrians are wearing a single color, and any group of three pedestrians of the same color will disappear from the line. Grace and Savannah will receive randomly-colored pedestrians that they must toss and roll into their lines in order to eliminate as many as possible in groups of three. It’s a simple gameplay concept that is made challenging by time limits and various challenges provided by the different levels. Grace will need to deal with queue-jumpers who appear and will cut in line if she doesn’t eliminate their leaders. Savannah must race the ever-moving lines of pedestrians, eliminating them before they reach their goals. In both cases, pedestrian tossing is accomplished by simple stylus-based controls that keep frustration to a minimum.
The ninja levels are the most challenging and also use a unique control scheme. The ninjas are arranged in an arc, and players must use the 3DS gyroscope controls to aim the ninja that is being thrown. When aiming at a ninja in the main arc, players press A to toss their ninja. However, sometimes the ninjas will advance towards the girls or throw a smoke bomb at them. In both cases, pressing the B button is necessary in order to roll a ninja and destroy the threat. The girls can’t be hit more than three times by attacking ninjas or smoke bombs. If they are, they’ll fail the level.
The game’s Story Mode is set over three weeks, during which the girls experience an increasing level of challenge as they seek to eliminate their lined-up foes. The short cutscenes between the levels are miniature pieces of Dadaist art, as one would expect from a game about tossing multicolor people around. The Challenge Mode features basic high score challenges that become more difficult as time goes on.
Tokyo Crash Mobs features a scoring system that encourages the player to complete levels as quickly as possible and rewards things like combination eliminations and the avoidance of power-up items. The girls’ faces are featured on gold, silver, and bronze medals, but they only look happy on the gold medals. You want to make the girls happy, right? Then get better at Tokyo Crash Mobs.
Grace, Savannah, and their various enemies have all been filmed in live action but move and act like typical anime characters. This gives the game a particularly absurd and lighthearted air that elicits grins and giggles while playing the game. The visuals are crisp and detailed, but the game can be difficult to play with the 3D turned on. This is especially true of the motion-controlled ninja levels, which I found impossible to play without turning off the 3D due to the flickering of the images while quickly turning the 3DS. I did notice that there’s an option to put symbols over the heads of the scenesters and ninjas, making the game at least moderately friendly to the color-blind.
The sound fits well with the game’s air of silliness, as pedestrians say “oof” when tossed, ninjas repeatedly squeak “Ninja!” and the girls declare “Yay!” when making a combo. The music accompanying the stages is mildly jazzy and generally inoffensive.
Tokyo Crash Mobs isn’t a game that you’ll want to play for long periods of time, but it’s good fun for short gaming sessions. It is certainly the perfect game to play while standing in line, ninja levels excepted. One has to give Mitchell Corp. credit for taking a classic game idea and giving it new life via varied gameplay and a heavy dose of ridiculousness.
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 3.5 Graphics
The live action images are pleasingly sharp, but gameplay is much easier with the 3D turned off. 3.7 Control
The controls are mostly intuitive and responsive, though menu navigation is a bit awkward. 3.5 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
TCM’s sound design is pleasingly silly. 3.4 Play Value
TCM is a fun game for short play sessions—perhaps while waiting in line? 3.5 Overall Rating – Good
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.
|Review Rating Legend
|0.1 – 1.9 = Avoid
|2.5 – 2.9 = Average
|3.5 – 3.9 = Good
|4.5 – 4.9 = Must Buy
|2.0 – 2.4 = Poor
|3.0 – 3.4 = Fair
|4.0 – 4.4 = Great
|5.0 = The Best