Ever been standing in a line and somebody pushes in? Of course you have. Someone up near the front is calling out to their friends, it’s a group of three. Sure guys, nobody will mind! Anger enters your bloodstream and you yell out, but the people are too far up the line to hear it. Or they ignore it. The frustration starts to boil, but you risk losing your spot in the line if you approach them. They are approaching the line quickly, you have to do something! In a swift act of bravery, you pick up the person in front of you and throw them forward, knocking the line-cutters over like bowling pins and restoring peace and fairness to the line. Tokyo Crash Mobs brings this fantasy to life and it’s as fun as it sounds.
The goal of the game is to get to the front of the line by throwing people at each other. You have an endless supply of hipsters who magically rise from the ground in the hope that you’ll throw them into a good spot in the line. Little do they know you’re using them as weapons; chaining together three scenesters of the same colour will make them vanish into thin air. It’s unclear why, perhaps they decide to line up at a different, cooler venue. Or maybe they panic because they’re wearing the exact same clothes. In a disaster situation like that the only thing you can do is self-combust.
The concept of chaining three colours together is very simple, but the fact that they’re people is what brings depth to the gameplay. The hipsters will jump if you hold the stylus over them, allowing you to roll someone at the crowd behind if you spot a combo in the distance. Sometimes they’ll try and call friends into the line, and you have to quickly knock them over before they join and potentially screw up a colour combo you’ve been setting up. It’s satisfying because you can knock these line-cutters over with any colour at all as soon as you see them, there’s no mercy for criminals.
The sound effects in the game add to the satisfaction immensely, people disappear with a crunchy “POP!” and knocking people over sounds like a table with glass crashing to the ground. The music is bouncy and jazzy but quickly ramps up and becomes annoying when things are going bad, making it easy to roll yourself into a snowball of mistakes. The game can get pretty crazy as you advance when obstacles pop up like huge plants, but there’s also items you can use like barricades, umbrella’s and UFO’s to counter this.
The game goes through Monday to Sunday over the course of a few weeks, and the line is structured differently each day for a different venue / event. You flick people on the bottom screen to the top screen with the stylus. There’s a cursor that travels between the hipsters and tells you where they’ll land, and a dot diagram on the bottom screen just to make their position clear. I find it refreshing playing a game with the stylus because it seems to be becoming a rarity, a lot of recent games I’ve been playing have completely ignored the touch screen.
On Sundays the game uses motion controls, it keeps the same concept of chaining colours together but instead of flicking people you swing around on your chair as hipsters surround you in a circle. The aiming stays accurate and you can choose to throw or roll people with A or B, it’s a nice way to spice up the gameplay and sets the stage for a boss battle.
HERE COME THE HIPSTERS! Something cool was announced, and it’s out tomorrow! This picture is an example of the cutscenes that play between story levels. It feels like a 90’s videogame developer just discovered how to use realistic video graphics. The videos place people on generic white backgrounds or scenes from outer space and the actors do a pretty good job pretending it’s normal. None of it makes any sense but it takes itself pretty seriously. There’s actually some nice outdoor scenes of nature and buildings, and some look amazing with the 3D slider up. It’s the kind of thing where you just can’t look away, and each little movie only goes for about 5-10 seconds so it’s a nice way to add style to the game without compromising it. The actors also appear in menus and move their hands to direct you to each option. It’s bizarre but it’s consistent with the gameplay graphics since it just uses normal people anyway. There’s a nice surreal vibe to it that keeps it feeling like a videogame.
Tokyo Crash Mobs is insanely fun and has an addictive quality that earns it a permanent spot on my 3DS menu’s front page. The responsive controls and sharp gameplay combine with bizarre graphical presentation to produce an exciting feeling when advancing through the line. The scenarios get quite challenging but nothing too frustrating, and it’s fun retrying levels to get gold medals. I highly recommend getting this if you’re a hip gamer, it’s on the eShop so it’s stupidly cheap and you don’t even have to line up.