Players Xpo

Retro stories of an accidental killer 11.06.17

You are an accidental assassin. No surprises there. Many games make a killer of you - too many, if we're being honest. But Tokyo 42 manages to be different with its decidedly retro aesthetic pinned to a nostalgic fusion of genres.

Few modern gamers would recognise the genes of 90s classics such as Syndicate and the original Grand Theft Auto but Tokyo 42 openly acknowledges history in this sparky puzzle/stealth/actioner. It combines the visual DNA of Mondrian, Gaudí and, er, Lego in its geometric city design where your character carries out a series of progressively audacious assassinations.

With the odds stacked heavily against you, mercifully quick respawns and a relative abundance of save points ease the pain of frequent death. You will expend considerable time observing the patterns of patrolling guards but require near-flawless execution to complete your mission.

Tokyo 42 rarely makes it easy. Sometimes it's the punishing difficulty exacerbated by fiddly aiming and imperfect representation of line of sight in 3D. In the latter stages, particularly, it's the sheer force of enemy numbers.

But this bitter pill is always undercut by the humour - the game's inability to resist a bad pun, the inspired, wacky streetscapes, the incidental details such as the workers doing yoga in the park on their break or the nudists taking the sun in the park.

Old Man's Journey

(iOS/PC) ★★★★ Age: 7+

You could flippantly subtitle it the 'Lonely Passion of Captain Bird's Eye', for this winsome adventure spins an affecting yarn of hope, regret and redemption.

An elderly gentleman embarks on an emotional voyage after a letter triggers a moment of reflection. This wordless journey is constructed from short vignettes in which Capt Bird's Eye (or a very good lookalike at least) traverses the colourful landscapes reminiscing about a past life possibly lost forever.

The puzzles are novel - involving gentle manipulation of the hillsides - but it's the keenly observed details in the scenery and the characters that make the expedition worthwhile.

A short running time and the comparative scarcity of interactivity could count against Old Man's Journey. But it's a likeable attempt to transfer a picture book to a gaming experience.