By: Ted Chow
What happens when you mix a visual novel with Ghostbusters? Well, you get an interesting game in the form of Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters, where you partake in the exorcism of ghosts through some board-game-like mechanics. While initial impressions led me to believe this to be a visual story with extended text, I actually had quite an enjoyable time with the RPG elements in this game. In fact, it was quite refreshing albeit maintaining a certain Anime quality and appeal. If you enjoy strategic mechanics and Anime, then you may want to put on your jumpsuit and grab some ghost repellent for a night around Tokyo!
Like with many other JRPGs there isn’t anything special with Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters as far as complex interactions. In fact, most of the time you’ll likely be reading text dialogue that pops up to narrate and move the story along. Any in-depth play time will be left to the board game element and a mini game called “Hypernatural.”
In these modes you’ll get to move your player pieces across the board and strategize your moves. But beyond that, most action sequences are left to the game’s cinematic display for ghost hunting. Overall, don’t expect to be pressing too many buttons.
While the graphics were blatantly Anime, the hand-painted nature of the character sprites and their animations felt really polished and leave you wondering how they were able to accomplish some of the scenes within the game.
As an artist myself, it left me to contemplate if everything was hand animated or if there were other trickery behind the development veil. Otherwise, Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters mixed real photographic elements with Anime characters in an interesting amalgamation of art styles.
The soundtrack primarily dwells in the rock department, but other musical genres are also present to round out the game’s score.
Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters is inspired by movies such as Ghostbusters, as you play as high school students who are gifted with the ability to see ghosts and interact with them. As members of the Gate Keepers it is your job to take on exorcism requests from clients being haunted by ghosts, all the while learning about their existence and place in the greater cosmic balance.
You’ll come across many different characters that you’ll recruit into your organization, each offering greater context to the story and increasing your overall strategy to take on ghost missions. Aside from the ghost hunting, expect your classic visual novel character romances and shenanigans.
The main play mode in Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters consists of you organizing your team members by equipping them with items and weapons in your classic RPG fashion. Much of the action takes place on a turn-based blueprint board of the area in contention. Preparations can be made to help you block off areas or attract ghosts at the cost of your end-of-mission pay.
The goal is to take out the plot line ghost within a 15-turn limit, otherwise you’ll lose. Levels will be accumulated as well as TP points that you can use to train your characters once back at base. Each character brings something different to the table when it comes to offering up strategies for taking on the ghost missions.
Aside from the main ghost missions, you’ll get the chance to play the mini game “Hypernatural,” which features similar mechanics to the ghost missions, but instead it’s played against your characters.
It’s a card game where you use cards to move and attack squares on which ghosts may be hiding. The ghosts are controlled by another character and will hide in specific tiles for you to snuff out. You win by taking out the marked ghost and lose if all characters on the human team lose. In the end, win or lose, you will accumulate TP to level up your crew.
With 13 chapters, the game can be pretty long, especially if you want the ending of your choice. Multiple playthroughs may be required if you botch some dialogue choices for your perfect ending, but this is garnered toward your own personal achievement and satisfaction.
The dialogue selections can feel weird; especially the sense dialogues that aren’t explained without looking online as to what the combinations actually do. This may be important in some of the relationship options, but the proper dialogue choices are best left to a guide.
Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters is a single-player story experience that has an interesting twist with the RPG board mechanic. The story explores some debatable questions on how to deal with ghosts and their place in the world, but a lot of the common tropes are also visited. At the end of the day, it’s a solid and visually appealing game for those that appreciate the genre.