Club Nintendo Rewards Review: Tokyo Crash Mobs (or the Most Insane Puzzle Game You Should Be Playing Right Now)

Who knew that wanting to speed up a line would be one of the most insane (and ingenious) concepts for a puzzle game ever?

Who knew that wanting to speed up a line would be one of the most insane (and ingenious) concepts for a puzzle game ever?

Every month, Club Nintendo of America offers a selection of video games through their rewards program.  From anywhere between 100 to 400 coins, you can request a download code for a qualifying eShop game free of charge.  Some are classic titles, some are underappreciated gems, and some are the most ridiculous concepts for games I have ever seen.  I’ll be talking about the later today.

Disclaimer: I in no way endorse physically launching other people as a means to advance in a line or queue. Don’t try this at home.  Seriously.  I’m pretty sure it’s illegal.

In the spirit of the holidays, I thought I would talk about everyone’s least favorite thing in the world: lines.  Whether you are camping out in anticipation of Black Friday or struggling to purchase all those last minute gifts, lines are the bane of holiday cheer and the spirit of unity.  Lines take away precious minutes of our watching YouTube in the comfort of home time by forcing us to watch YouTube on our phones while standing and waiting for an overly stressed employee to tell us that they most definitely do not have that thing your brother really wanted in the back.  Nobody likes lines.  Period.

But who will fight the good fight and take on the menace that is inconvenient wait times for non-essential consumer goods?  Who will hear our exasperated sighs and see the minor annoyance we feel when we have to kill five extra minutes in line?  Fear not, my mildly irritated friends, because Tokyo Crash Mobs is here to champion your cause.

At first glance, Tokyo Crash Mobs appears to be some kind of awkward shovelware title.  It was made by Mitchel Corporation, which is known for producing that Wii Play: Motion game that was bundled with a Wii Remote Plus as well as the Polarium series (which, as a former electronics retail employee myself, I can tell you with certainty lined the bottom of every “$5 Games!” bin we had).  Both weren’t TERRIBLE games, but they didn’t receive as high marks as other puzzle games when they were first released.  I can only assume that’s why Mitchel Co. made Tokyo Crash Mobs the most absolutely asinine puzzling game I’ve ever played.

You will see these images about a million times when you score a combo.  I still have no idea what’s going on, but I’m just as happy as that blonde woman is.

The game mechanics are pretty simple and straightforward….mostly.  Basically, Tokyo Crash Mobs is a Zuma clone.  You have lines of color-coded people, referred to in the game as “scenesters,” that you must eliminate by throwing or rolling an endless supply of scenesters from the back of the line until you match at least three in a row.  There are power-ups you can occasionally find (like UFOs that remove all of a certain color of scenester) and other obstacles to trip you up, like exploding beach balls and line cutters.  If that was too zany of an explanation for you, move along.  This is the sanest way possible to explain the game.

Just your average everyday UFO abducting people off the streets in Japan as they happily march to their demise.

Our main heroines in the crusade against long lines and wait times are “Throwing” Grace and “Rolling” Savannah.  From what I can tell from the game’s (barely coherent) plot, Grace is a VERY impatient girl.  She’s constantly going to restaurants and clubs that have a serving limit and refuses to pick a different spot to grab a bite to eat.  Your goal in her levels is to eliminate the scenesters that were rightfully ahead of you to be one of the first 10 people in line before time is up.  Black Friday must be horrific in this universe.

No cafeteria meal could be THAT good.

Savannah has a different situation entirely.  Instead of trying to get somewhere, she’s trying to survive.  In her levels, Savannah stands in the middle of a room while a group of scenesters merrily march around in a spiral until they reach a giant button.  If they reach the button, a tear in the fabric of time and space appears below Savannah and she is sucked into the vast emptiness of the unknown.  I’m not making this up.  For some reason, the game seems to hold Savannah wanting to escape with her sanity and life intact to the same standard as Grace being that one customer who makes every retail worker’s life misery on earth.  Because priorities.

“How did you get into Club ‘End of Existence’ before I did!?”

The entire game is tied together neatly with FMVs, although I use the term “neatly” ever so loosely.  The shorts are very disjointed and wholly insane.  They’re also some of the most amazing things I have ever seen.  From Grace literally tearing through a wall made of scenesters in rejected 80’s business suits to Savannah’s descent into madness as she copes with her visions of colorful death spirals, it’s oh so enjoyable.

Help!  It’s a badly photoshopped wall of Japanese citizens who just found out that their culture is being exploited!

Besides the standard story mode, Tokyo Crash Mobs offers a couple of challenge modes.  For those of you who care about the gaming aspects of the game (yawn), these are worth checking out.  They have that perfect blend of too much going on at once and power-up frenzy that puzzle aficionados love. Or, if you rather, you could just play the story and movie maze modes until you’ve had your fill of crazy.  Did I mention that there are boss battles against a rainbow ninja brigade?  Oh yeah, it’s THAT kind of game.

A rainbow ninja brigade really should be a standard feature in every game.  I can’t think of anything it wouldn’t make better.

Tokyo Crash Mob isn’t perfect.  The interface can take some getting used to and, as always, the 3D feels a little gimmicky and tacked-on.  But the head trips from playing this game are well worth the minor investment in time.  I came expecting a mediocre puzzle game and left with the best diversion into psychosis that I’ve experienced in a while.  Well done, Tokyo Crash Mobs.  Thanks for bringing me the crazy I didn’t realize was missing in my life.

Who Should Play It: That one friend of yours obsessed with PopCap games and anyone who hates waiting in line for anything.

Who Should Avoid It: Anyone who takes gaming way too seriously, expects coherent storylines, dislikes puzzles, and hates fun. 

Tokyo Crash Mobs is available for 200 Coins through the Club Nintendo Rewards program until December 14th, 2014 or can be purchased for $6.99 on the Nintendo eShop.

Who knew that wanting to speed up a line would be one of the most insane (and ingenious) concepts for a puzzle game ever?

Club Nintendo Rewards Review: Tokyo Crash Mobs (or the Most Insane Puzzle Game You Should Be Playing Right Now)

Who knew that wanting to speed up a line would be one of the most insane (and ingenious) concepts for a puzzle game ever?

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About the author

Esteban Padilla

Recent grad in Chemistry, Psychology, Music, and Biology. Passionate about doing music and science, sometimes simultaneously. Enjoys the nerdier things in life and is likely to turn any subject, even video games, into an academic discussion out of the love for knowledge.