Every so often a game that just screams “Japan” appears on our radar, grabbing our attention like a foreign animal at the zoo. Sometimes, games like these come stateside and we wonder why we are drawn to them in the first place. Such is the case with the eShop exclusive puzzle game, Tokyo Crash Mobs for the 3DS.
Tokyo Crash Mobs follows the lives of its two protagonists, Grace and Savannah; girls with hardships the player must help them overcome. In Grace’s “throwing stages,” you are tasked with getting yourself to a certain point in a line, since the store she is waiting to get into only accepts the first ten people. In Savannah’s “rolling stages,” you must get rid of the people coming towards a button that, when pressed, will send her hurtling into outer space.
Sound confusing yet? Just wait; there’s more. In both modes, you have to clear people out of your way by hurling other people wearing the same colors at them in a match-three style puzzle game, similar to PopCap’s Zuma, or Puzz Loop, which had the same development team as this game.
The story is told over the course of three weeks, with a puzzle presented to you every day. You’ll alternate between the two girls each day, with the seventh and final day of each week being a boss battle against ninjas. This type of puzzle will have you ditching the stylus and instead utilizing the 3DS’s motion controls to spin the duo around to knock out the ninjas trying to off our protagonists. While these battles are fun, it eliminates your ability to really play this in a public place unless you don’t mind looking like a fool in public.
This kind of puzzle game normally uses identical, perfectly-rounded marbles, to make it easy to judge where to place them to max out your combos. But because this game uses unwieldy humans (called “scenesters” in the game), it adds a little bit more difficulty in judging where you’re placing them.
Another very small problem I had with the game is that the zaniness sometimes feels forced, as if instead of it just being naturally nutty, it’s trying too hard to be that crazy game in your collection you’ll want to talk to others about.
Other than those few gripes, this game does feature addictive gameplay, and while playing through the story, I noticed that they do add new elements to each level while building on what was taught in the levels before, such as new items to aid your cause or enemies that dance and move making your job harder. This game also has a great learning curve, giving you a couple of levels to really learn what you are doing before you’re thrown into the frantic people flinging that takes place in future stages.
Other than the Story mode, you’ll also get a Challenge mode that is just puzzles in their purest form and a “Theater mode” of sorts if you feel like watching a bunch of the nonsensical scenes back to back.
For only $5.99, I would definitely recommend this game to any puzzle enthusiasts or someone looking for a distraction to break up the monotony of shooter game after shooter game.