Ridding the physical realm of dastardly apparitions is a solid premise for a video game yet few are actually worth playing. Thankfully, Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters offers a unique spin on the concept so get ready to bust some ghosts!
Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters debuted on PlayStation 3 and Vita last year and this Daybreak Special Gigs version is an updated edition. Considering I haven't played the original, I'm unable to provide much insight as to what has actually changed so this review will be from a fresh perspective. Anyway, Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters: Daybreak Special Gigs is basically a visual novel with a strategic battle system. On the visual novel side, the story is quite intriguing as you follow the adventures of a ragtag group of ghost hunters. They come across some surprisingly shocking situations that range from tragic to downright hilarious. You're also prompted with the odd decision to make and situations that require you to use your five (or is it six...?) senses to work out. When it comes to fighting ghosts, you do so via blueprints of rooms. You plan each move by moving around icons that correspond to your party members in order to hopefully attack wherever the ghosts will show up. I've never played anything like it and although it took quite a while to click, I actually ended up enjoying the battle system thoroughly.
The story sequences are told through beautifully rendered characters that are subtly animated which makes them come to life. There's a certain haziness to the visuals that provides a sense of otherworldly creepiness, too. On the other side of the spectrum, the soundtrack is full of awesome rocking tunes that'll get your head bobbing as you bust ghosts. To complement the soundtrack, there are loads of references to rock music with chapter titles such as "Stairway to Heaven", "Light My Fire", "We Will Rock You!", and "Highway to Hell". Those aren't the only references, however, as you'll come across allusions to plenty of science fiction and horror works such as The X-Files, The Shining, Beetlejuice, The Sixth Sense, and (of course) Ghostbusters. Overall, Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters' references and general cheeky sense of humour do a great job of adding much needed levity to the occasionally somber plot.
Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters: Daybreak Special Gigs grants you a wealth of opportunities to hone your skills and level up your party members so you can have a fair shot at challenging the tougher entities. There are plenty of difficulty spikes while progressing through the campaign but they're all easy to overcome once you spend time training your gang. In addition to purchasing stronger equipment, you can allot earned training points in order to increase your team members' stats and learn skills as well as accept requests via your office computer that involve battling ghosts for rewards. On top of that, there's an optional board game where you challenge your teammates. Basically, one person plays as a ghost while others try to hunt them. Honestly, I found it very confusing and still don't quite understand how to play it but you could definitely consider it a full secondary game to try and master.
Speaking of difficult to understand, many will find Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters: Daybreak Special Gigs' gameplay to be rather confusing. As I've already mentioned, it's quite unconventional so it takes a long time to simply grasp the basics. Also, the combat relies almost entirely on guessing where the ghosts will move to next. There are a handful of factors to consider that may allow you to pinpoint where they'll move but most of the time, it just seems random. Whenever you're on a mission that has a strict time limit, it's easy to run out of time before you can deplete your target's health which can be very frustrating. Sometimes, I would spend most of the duration just trying to find the ghost. The last problem that I'll discuss about the battle system is that every fight basically looks the same. You stare at similar-looking grids that get boring almost right away. Sure, the camera zooms in whenever you attack to show your environment and targeted enemy but that small wrinkle doesn't provide enough visual variety to relieve the tedium.
To put it simply, Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters: Daybreak Special Gigs is a quirky game that'll likely win you over if you have the patience to master its unconventional gameplay. If you do then bustin' will surely make you feel good.
- + Interesting story and unique gameplay
- + Gorgeous animated character art, rocking soundtrack, and tons of fun references
- + Plenty of intricacies to master
- - Too much guesswork is involved in combat
- - Battles all look the same with generic one-note grids that get stale quick
- - Learning curve may be too steep for some