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Crime Scene – Tokyo 2000 Review


Ever fancied yourself as a bit of a sleuth? Have one of those brains that not only thinks outside the box, but underneath it… at an angle? I’d like to think I have but sadly when it comes to puzzles, it often takes me way longer than it should. My other half on the hand very much has this kind of mind, far too many times we’ll be one episode into a TV series he already has a theory about the perpetrator or figured out the story line. So obviously he’d already made an assumption about Crime Scene – Tokyo 2000 before I’d even opened the box!

We’ve played a few similar puzzle games over the last year or so, a couple of puzzle post and the Exit Advent Calendar at Christmas, but thankfully my other half has now learnt not to declare hes ‘got it’ a nano second after reading the puzzle and at least lets me burn brain cells for 10 minutes before I finally relent and say ‘go on then, what is it’

Dying to make a start?

Tokyo 2000 is one of the newest crime scene games from tactic, it features a well written story by Arttu Tuominem in the form of a case file and evidence cards which all help lead you to solve the crime. In this particular game an investment banker has seemingly ‘jumped’ to his death but as the investigation ensues clues starts to point towards involvement of the yakuza.

In the game box you’ll find the casefile/story booklet, two investigation images, evidence cards (these are the puzzles), crimefile cards (these are a list of possible answers to the puzzles), hint cards (if I need to explain what these are, this game may not be for you), and reputation cards (these are for use at the end of the game and spell out a ‘hunch’) and obviously the instruction guide.

You’ll start by reading the first part of the casefile followed by the first evidence card, the evidence cards themselves are a mix of passages to read containing an underlined word to find and picture puzzles. There is a rhythm to the game which was a bit of a sticking point for us at first but once we got used to it we were fine. Basically you take the underlined word on the evidence card and find that image within the investigation pictures. Both investigation images have a numbered grid overlaying them, and the number of the grid which features the required item gives you the number of the next evidence card, but this time it should be a picture puzzle. The picture puzzle will have a corresponding crimefile card containing various possible answers to the puzzle and if correctly solved will lead you to one word within the casefile story. This word will then need to be found within the investigation images and the whole cycle starts again.

Along the way you’ll sometimes be required to find extra evidence cards with picture puzzles on and when necessary you’ll be told to read the next part of the story. Should you get stuck on anything in Tokyo 2000 you can use a hint card, some of these contain a small clue about finding extra evidence cards if required, but all contain a clue about how to solve the picture puzzle which is revealed when you turn the card upside down. Be warned, should you use the hint about the picture puzzle you must lose a reputation card, you also lose one if you incorrectly solve a puzzle and end up being led to the wrong word in the casefile. Remember, the reputation cards spell a hunch out for you, so the more you lose, the less information you have to go on at the end.

Let’s get to the bottom of this

Theres a good spread of puzzles to solve in Tokyo 2000, nothing too repetitive and good mix of difficulties, with some solutions more obvious than others. The story alone is compelling and at times I felt I was lost in a good crime novel. Of course you don’t have to read all the story line and can easily cut it out and just search for the featured words but could you end up missing something in-between? Should you get super stuck even with a hint (which someone may have early on… ahem!) you can go to the crime scene website and get a full solution to each puzzle.

Initially we couldn’t get to grips with the flow of this game, I think we were confused going from evidence card to image back to evidence card. It felt very much like we had misunderstood the guide and we were doing something wrong. The guide itself is actually quite good and has a little ‘steps of the game’ section but I think this part may benefit from a picture flow chart or perhaps highlighting the different types of card with coloured text for clarification.

We also found the first two puzzles not obvious and lost most of our reputation cards here using hints. I feel this was partly because we were second guessing ourselves about the rhythm of the game (that’s my excuse anyway) and very much thought we were mistaken about what we were doing. So for me the first few puzzles could’ve been easier to get you in the swing of it, but if you’ve played one of these before you shouldn’t have any problems.

I’m also about to say the most middle-aged thing here, but I wish it came with a little magnifying glass as some of the items you need to find are small and the images are quite dark – as you would expect to fit with the theme of the game. More than anything if it came with one, I wouldn’t have to relent and admit I’m at that stage of life where I need to buy my own!

Are you a one hint wonder?

Crime Scene Tokyo 2000 works in a different way to some of the other puzzle games I’ve played recently. Nothing within this particular game needs to be written on or destroyed to help you progress through the game, so although you won’t be able to play it again as you know the outcome, it is totally resettable and great for passing round your gaming group or friends and family.

The age rating on this game is 18+ which surprised me before playing as I wasn’t sure why. However there is a description of a ritual that results in death which is quite grim, as well as many mentions of suicide which I think is why it’s 18+. There is no mention of sex or even any swearing however, so in hindsight I would certainly let my almost 15 year old complete it with us, but it may be bordering being too much for my 12 year old.

All the solutions to the game are within the box, so you could totally cheat and just read all the outcomes, hints and spell the hunch using all the reputation cards at the end but you’d just be cheating yourself out of the experience. The puzzles are well thought out and all need to be solved in different ways, puzzle C was my favourite. I even started to solve some of them quicker than my other half, it seemed the student had become the master… or perhaps as he pointed out to me, I just wasn’t hampered by looking at everything upside down like he was.

Although set in the year 2000, Crime Scene Tokyo 2000 could well be present day, the only difference being the mobile phone featured is the classic Nokia 3310 and the absolute lack of any ring doorbell footage of the crime, so the story stands up well too.

Annoyingly the assumption my other half made before I’d even removed the shrink wrap, did appear within the game.

He’ll be unbearable now!