Sometime in 2011, Nintendo and Mitchell Corporation likely met to discuss the 3DS eShop. Mitchell, known for its work in the Puzz Loop/Magnetica series (which started the genre that spawned the popular ball shooting game Zuma), might have said something along the lines of “So, we want to make another Magnetica game, but instead of colored balls, you play as two Japanese girls who have delusions where they throw and/or roll people in colored suits.” For some reason, Nintendo OK’d this project, and eventually Nintendo of America localized it.
Tokyo Crash Mobs is a weird game. Its oddness is masked to a degree by familiar gameplay mechanics; it’s almost just another Magnetica entry in a weird wrapper. You bounce between two styles of play, both involving matching three people in same-colored suits, with the goal being to clear the line of people. The game puts both modes in a delightfully weird live action wrapper involving the two girls, named Grace and Savannah, going about their dream-like days. Grace hates not getting into exclusive events, so she imagines a world where she can throw people to clear the line. Savannah is struggling in school, so she has panic attacks involving people trying to send her into outer space. Naturally, she can only combat that by rolling people to clear others out. Every single level has a live action beginning and ending, usually involving real actors and actresses doing outrageously dumb things.
The Story Mode is broken up into weeks, with each seven-level stretch culminating in a Team Battle, which uses the 3DS gyroscope to control the characters in an intuitive manner. The rest of the game is controlled by the stylus, a method that gets frustrating at times because of imprecision. It also doesn’t help that you’re dealing with people and not easily separated balls, like in similar games. Judging the depth of your throw is very difficult, especially as the difficulty ramps up and the lines get denser and harder. While it certainly gets challenging, the Story Mode doesn’t last too long, clocking in at around two to three hours.
A challenge mode is available to lengthen the game. Using each of the three play styles, the mode is a high score chase that doesn’t offer more than a pseudo-endless mode. The baffling Movie Maze allows players to view all the live-action footage while progressing through a maze, which is as dumb and incomprehensible as it sounds, though in a sort of fantastic way.
Tokyo Crash Mobs isn’t a profound game, but it is fun as long as you can get past the occasionally frustrating controls. This may be easier if you like weird Japanese live action footage, as you might spend most of the game laughing at the game’s audacity. Still, if you can’t find the humor in Japanese girls whittling down queues of people by throwing more people at them, then this game is not for you. If you do find that amusing, then bask in the glory of one of the eShop’s weirdest.