TOKOYO: The Tower of Perpetuity (Switch)

The tower-climbing, rouge-like platformer Tokoyo arrives on the Switch this month, modestly priced at only £8.99 on the Nintendo store. Tokoyo sees you playing as one of multiple characters aiming to reach the top of a huge tower after each of them finds themselves inside its ever changing walls. With each floor posing an increasing challenge, will they be able to survive long enough to reach the summit or will they become yet another tombstone that litters the halls?

To start, I’m going to point out that this game isn’t exactly story orientated. In fact, outside of some initial lines of dialogue when entering the tower and the odd line from a boss or two that amounts to little more than “hi, I kill you now”, there’s little to no story on offer, at least as far as I managed to get.

The lack of dialog, however, means you quickly get into the gameplay loop dealing with each of the towers’ enemy and trap infested floors. Each floor poses a new level of risk and higher floors pose an increasing number of threats with each new area trying to one up the previous in an attempt to smite anyone brave enough to think they can reach the top.

The 2D side-scrolling design and animations of the title are quite charming and well done, with some ingesting assets making up the floors and enemies. While I wasn’t overly excited about each individual design, overall they work well together and have a degree of individuality.

The audio, like most of the game, is passable, especially for the price. While there is nothing special to note, it is also not an affront to the ears, treading a middle ground of simply exciting to do its job but being ultimately forgettable outside of gameplay.

As I mentioned, gameplay makes up most of the game due to the limited dialogue, getting into the action quite quickly and, if you are as bad as me, failing quite quickly too. After selecting a character to play, you enter the towers’ first floor and take your first steps to overcome the trials before you.

The character you select won’t make a huge difference to how you play due to the fact that, outside of their “attack,” they pretty much play exactly the same and even said “attack” does not change things up all that much.

One of the neat things about Tokoyo is the fact that every 24 hours the tower updates and becomes entirely different with new combinations and obstacle placement, meaning every day a fresh challenge lies before you, making each day a new experience that spices things up enough to make the title less repetitive.

Tower exploration itself starts off rather easy and shouldn’t pose a challenge, but soon escalates with more complex floors being heavily populated and even requiring solving some light puzzles. What really makes things challenging is the fact that there is no normal attack to deal with enemies in your path. In fact, short or running and jumping, you are almost entirely defenceless from the onslaught of attacks coming for you.

The one small exception to this is a special attack that changes between characters. One may shoot a storm of bullets in front of them while another may have flames spin around their sprite. For the most part, these stacks can make short work of foes and bosses, but it comes with the pay off of a long recharge.

Thanks to the Karma meter, you can’t even take your time with each floor or wait around for skills to recharge because a fast homing foe will spawn and destroy you, and it’s this that leads to accidents in most runs. Even the more difficult floors can be overcome with time, but this little timer instils fear, making it easy to mess up This has been my downfall more than a few times.

Couple this with puzzles, planning routes, invisible blocks and traps, and more, and you have one hell of a combination for failure. In fact, at times, the title can feel like a bullet hell as you jump and dash around avoiding everything as you time your skills for maximum efficiency.

Speaking of bullet hells, the title also includes bosses that launch attack after attack at you, take multiple hits to bring down and also have a shield that nullifies damage. In short, the game tries really hard to kill your character and, in all likelihood, it will succeed a lot.

All is not lost. There are items you can gather that give passive boosts to almost everything from healing to speed boosts. These items stack to give higher bonuses, but items are random and, depending on RNG, can be great or poor. These items are lost upon death, so each new run will require gathering more. One other special item called candies is up for grabs every now and then. You will gather a few hundred of these that allow you to revive upon death and they carry over between runs, so judging when it is worth spending these rare items is up to you.

Honestly, I did not do well with this title and died a hell of a lot. The challenge was interesting, and overcoming the areas I got stuck at felt rewarding. However, I couldn’t play for long periods of time and say I enjoyed it. In actuality, shorter bursts were more enjoyable for me. In fact, playing each new day was likely the highlight for myself thanks to the changes to the makeup of the tower.

Overall, the game is not really my cup of tea, though I did have some fun playing it, but I couldn’t see myself playing it for hours on end. The designs were interesting and the levels were equal parts challenging and frustrating while also rewarding. I can’t say I personally know someone that would enjoy this particular title, though I can see some people enjoying it simply to test themselves. It’s low price may mean it’s at least worth a dabble if you enjoy this type of game.



Can be as rewarding as it is punishing, which may also bring you back for more too with a unique tower every day.

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