Tokyo Tattoo Girls

Tokyo Tattoo Girls Review

Anime boobies only go so far

A.J. Maciejewski

Reviewed by playing a PlayStation Vita on

ESRB Teen rating

Once in a while, a game releases with an indiscernible genre yet it's intriguing nonetheless. Tokyo Tattoo Girls certainly looks like a promising game so let's fly to post-apocalyptic Japan and see what these girls are up to.

Tokyo Tattoo Girls screenshot 1
Something just doesn't feel right about tattooing a mentally disturbed girl...

The story of Tokyo Tattoo Girls involves a catastrophe that decimates the titular city. It's then divided into 23 wards that are ruled by a collection of eccentric ladies. Meanwhile, some residents of the city have discovered powerful abilities via magical tattoos. In order to escape the city, all 23 rulers of the wards must be overthrown so it's up to you to take the city back as one of six girls.

Admittedly, the cast is charming and consists of a collection of vibrant characters. Their interactions range from awkward to creepy to genuinely funny in a cheeky way. The artwork is decent and each girl is portrayed with a lot of personality. That being said, the characters are extremely stereotypical and lack depth. The same can be said for the story which unfortunately doesn't evolve much past its interesting premise.

Tokyo Tattoo Girls is a real-time strategy game although there certainly isn't much strategy involved. Basically, you begin a playthrough by selecting your home ward then your army slowly takes over adjacent wards until you eventually conquer the entire city. All you have to do is tap money boxes that pop up then spend it on temporary power-ups and upgrades in the form of tattoos. There's also a dice mini-game where you bet money but it's completely unnecessary and you'll probably lose anyway so why even bother? Considering that's all there is to it, the minimal gameplay of Tokyo Tattoo Girls is bound to annoy those looking for a challenging strategy RPG.

Tokyo Tattoo Girls screenshot 2
Look, everyone; walking, talking stereotypes!

To prove the fact that Tokyo Tattoo Girls basically plays itself, I did a little experiment. For a few playthroughs, I merely stayed in fast-forward mode, spent money on tattoos whenever I had enough, and tapped X to skip all the dialogue and thus select the default option whenever a prompt would come up. After playing through the entire campaign on normal difficulty while doing this, I was surprised to see that it actually worked. Not only that, I got an A rating for my efforts! How is that even possible?!

Each playthrough of Tokyo Tattoo Girls lasts about half an hour which makes it feel more like a downloadable mini-game than a full-fledged Vita game. Also, every playthrough feels the exact same no matter which character you choose. Sure, they have different stats and abilities but that doesn't mean that you need to change your strategy at all. After beating a playthrough, you get an item that provides some sort of boost. Collecting all of them will take a long time seeing as you have to beat the game with every character on each difficulty setting. However, I can't imagine anyone having the patience to trudge through this repetitive and unchallenging game that many times. The minimal and automatic gameplay makes me wonder why they didn't just make a visual novel instead.

Tokyo Tattoo Girls screenshot 3
I hope I can play Bubble Bobble in the Taito Ward instead of this game...

In an age where people watch other people play video games, maybe it's time that video games simply play themselves. Hopefully, that statement sounds ridiculous to you because it is. Gamers need gameplay and Tokyo Tattoo Girls has virtually none.

  • + Enjoyable albeit stereotypical characters and a cheeky sense of humour
  • - Minimal and unchallenging gameplay that basically plays itself
  • - Characters and story lack depth
  • - Very short and repetitive
2.5 out of 10
Official trailer for Tokyo Tattoo Girls 1:16
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