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With a wry smile and referential wit, Tokyo 42—a sci-fi, isometric action game from indie developer Smac and publisher Mode 7—borrows generously from seminal genre staples like Bladerunner.
Almost everything about Tokyo 42—from its vibrant minimalist look, synth soundtrack, whodunit story, elusive voiceless characters, and futuristic setting—is a homage to sci-fi greats. Yet it also makes its own mark with a visually colourful, and tonally sinister near-future dystopia that is wholly unique.
What appears to be a simple shooter with a devious love for killing turns out to be a loose open world game.

The problem is that, unlike games like Hotline Miami, which funnels you through its tight, precise levels with a breakneck sense of pace, Tokyo 42 lets you off the leash. You’re free to wander the world, and free to take in the sights.

Because of the quality of the setting, it works.

But when it comes to actually playing the game, Tokyo 42 stumbles.
Culture shock
But that city, oh it’s brilliant.

Dubbed “Micro Tokyo,” the world of Tokyo 42 feels ultra crafted and purposefully deliberate, with a swathe of little secrets discover, even down to subtle references that don’t give you any meaningful new tools in the game, but embellish what is a labour of love about the sci-fi genre.
It’s a shame that you’re unable to zoom in on the little details, though, instead resigned to squint at the minutiae clearly packed in tightly on screen, but its block colour skyscrapers, sprite-filled streets, and obscure and humorous landmarks all add an extra bit of flavour to the world.
It very much captures that Grand Theft Auto sense of world building, albeit on an indie scale.
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