Mitchell Corporation is best known for their old arcade puzzle game, Puzz Loop. Their latest release, Tokyo Crash Mobs, plays similarly to their arcade hit, but instead of shooting balls, you shoot people… at other people.
Just looking at the above image doesn’t really help, so imagine those different clothed people as balls and you’re in the middle throwing other balls in this hectic match-3 puzzle game, as they’re closing in on you. Now back to the reality we call Tokyo Crash Mobs, where they’re not balls but digital human sprites we’re throwing instead!
It may look confusing at first, but once I started playing it, it was pretty self-explanatory. The two main modes are split between two characters named Grace and Savannah. The game takes place over the course of three weeks, with each day being a stage. Every Sunday, you get to play as Grace and Savannah, together, as they take on ninjas.
While playing as Grace, the objective is to eliminate people that are in front of you in the line of a store. These people are called “Scenesters”, and they’re obviously in the way. So, what better way to get rid of them than throwing their own kind at them?
Grace can throw people at any part of the line with the help of a stylus to aim the spot. You usually have to be within the first 10 in line to clear the stage. Why is she waiting in line? As even the game says: “We don’t know!”
In Tokyo Crash Mobs, you are your worst enemy. I consider myself to be of above average skill in games such as Puyo Puyo, so I tried going with the combo approach. Before I knew it, I was out of time. You can do combos and they give you extra points, but Tokyo Crash Mobs definitely required more reflexes than anything.
These Scenesters would occasionally appear and try to cut the line, giving you more people to deal with. This can be prevented by throwing people at them before they reach the line. Sounds innocent enough, right? Well, I often found myself going out of my way to stop these people from cutting, only to end up missing. Not only did it allow those pesky Scenesters to cut ahead of me, but I made things worse by adding more to the line. Yes, the game requires fast reflexes, but also the patience to carefully aim at your target when necessary.
While playing as Savannah, you roll people instead of throwing them. The Scenesters walk in a spiral towards you, and they must be eliminated before reaching the switch. If they just happen to press the button, it sends Savannah flying into the oblivions of somewhere in deep space, and that wouldn’t be good. Her stages are cleared by eliminating all the incoming Scenesters.
Savannah’s mode is a little more combo friendly, but I found it pretty frustrating when these “Runners” occasionally appeared to make the entire spiral close in at a much quicker pace. It can be prevented by eliminating the Scenester at the very front, which is very difficult to do when they’re running at full speed ahead. There’s a neat action you can do by holding the stylus down to make the Scenesters you’re pointing at do a jump. This allows you to roll some people towards the others behind.
The ninja stage played on Sundays was definitely my favorite part. The goal is to eliminate all the ninjas as they multiply and try to attack you. This mode uses the 3DS’ gyro-sensor to aim the balls you throw to defeat them. I was going left and right to take out these ninjas, but kept myself in check, as the game told me not to break any valuable vases I might have around me while playing.
What I enjoyed most about Tokyo Crash Mobs is that it’s actually a good puzzle game. In my opinion, any puzzler that can make me feel the need to calm myself before I want to throw my 3DS against a wall, is a great puzzle game! There were plenty of moments where I was just one or two Scenesters away from clearing a stage, only to have them send me somewhere in outer space, for the 50th time in a row. It gave me the feeling of being so close, yet so far from finishing. That’s what kept me hooked to the game and possibly kept my neighbors awake too, after continuous losses.
Tokyo Crash Mobs is currently available on the 3DS eShop.
Food for thought:
1. If throwing people at other people wasn’t weird enough, between each stage is a cut scene. They’re just plain… strange. I never understood any of it and it would be really hard to explain, you’d have to check it out for yourself!
2. The loading screen is either one of the girls spinning their fingers around while saying “Delusion now”.