Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunter is a visual novel that puts you in the shoes of a high school transfer student who has recently moved to Kurenai High School. The game was originally released in Japan, and then was brought out in Europe by NIS America (who also released Mugen Souls Z and Fairy Fencer F) on March 13, 2015. I don’t have anything against visual novel games, but if the story isn’t good enough then there is really no point in finishing what you started. This was a shame seeing as there are some positive points to this game; they just aren’t enough to weigh out the negative points.
The story, to an extent, revolves around your choices as a transfer student moving to a school in Shinjuku. Shortly after you arrive at your new school, you discover there is a secret “club” called the Gate Keepers which deals with dangerous ghosts and ghouls. You shortly join the group and become one of these Ghostbusters. The group is run by a rather flirtatious lady named Chizuru, but it just seems she is there for the older audiences due to her never failing to display a bit of breast. The story itself wasn’t bad at all, it had an interesting premise and the characters were varied enough to make the story entertaining. One thing I didn’t enjoy so much was that the choices you mad didn’t actually make much of a difference, whatever I said to one of the girls always ended up in me being called a weirdo. This was not a fun part of my gaming experience.
The gameplay is okay but some aspects let it down; half of the time you are prompted to choose symbols which make decisions. But you are never told what they mean, unless you back peddle in your log to where these choices that were made. There are two layers to these choices, the emotion and the action. The emotions are, or at least I think they are: Anger, Sadness, Friendliness, Thought and Love. Then your actions were basically the five senses, including taste. Yes, you could select an option to taste the person you are talking to. Obviously for review purposes had to see what the taste option entailed, and more often than not I was told to “Keep it in my pants”. So other than the odd giggle you got through seeing people reactions after licking them, the gameplay wasn’t all that special.
On top of the random choices, you also had to predict a ghost’s movement when hunting it. This was okay when it was easy enough to do in the allotted move amount, but this became quickly tedious when the ghost kept escaping making it almost impossible to hunt. But after a while of working out where to place items, this shortly becomes simpler and actually quite fun. You can also give items to your fellow Ghost Hunters and train them to improve their battle skills. Once you get into the full swing of the games there are a lot more things to look at, for example the PC allows you to read further into the game’s story mode and the characters. This is just one of the many aspects you see after playing around an hour and a half of the game; these introduced mechanics make the game a lot better.
A positive part to this game is the art style. The characters themselves were very unique but the main assets of the aesthetics were the amount of detail in the backgrounds of the scenes. Some of the backgrounds were obviously pictures with a filter over them, but the drawn backgrounds are amazing. There was also a character drawn wearing a knock off Nintendo Power Glove, which I thought was pretty cool.
Another large downside to this game was there are next to no voice overs; there was the odd Japanese word or phrase here and there or when you meet a new character but nothing that long. I personally think a visual novel game should include at least a bit of dialogue, even if it isn’t for the whole game, just at the important plot points. This was a shame as although the reading didn’t bother me; it would have been so much better with English or Japanese voices more frequently.
One aspect of the game that was quite worrying was the amount of questions it asked you. I would expect the game to ask for your name and your birthday, and the fact this is set in a high school means it would ask you your favourite class. Then I stared to grow suspicious as I was asked my eye sight levels and my blood type, it just seemed a bit odd. Obviously you don’t have to tell the truth, however it did seem a bit unnecessary.
Overall Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters was good; if visual novels are your thing then you should enjoy it enough to carry on playing for the story aspect. The hunting parts are actually alright once you know what you’re doing; it plays just like a tactics game. The choices aren’t really fun and more or less ruin the game, but the art style really picks this up. For these reasons I’m giving this game a 7, as for the most part it is actually a decent game, it’s just the gameplay that unfortunately lets it down. But if you can push this aside, you may actually enjoy yourself.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 3 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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