Tokyo Hosto flat out baffles me with its level of badness. As I am reviewing this, I am currently struggling to put into words how insulting it is that this game exists. It is insulting in the sense that it expects any gamer to enjoy this, in the fact that it expects people to pay five dollars for this, and in the sense that one can tell no ounce of care was ever given to this piece of atrocious shovelware.
Even The Interview came across as a game that tried to pass itself off as decent. Even Starless: Nymphomaniac’s Paradise was trying something (although forgive me if I still hate the game that caused literal psychological trauma more than this), but this? This game is unbelievable simply in the fact that it exists.
First of all, I’d like to start out by saying that this game does not even work properly. If when you try to start up the game, nothing will happen. I initially thought something may have just been wrong with my program when trying to start the game, but upon checking the game’s steam discussions, I saw I was not the only one. It turns out that the game’s exe file is not programmed correctly and the player will need to rename the file manually. Yes, you read correctly; the game will not even function unless you manually rename the game’s exe file. This level of developer incompetence is embarrassing.
Even some of the most buggy and glitchy games on Steam Greenlight will at least start up after you download them. What excuse is there for this? Even worse is that it has been several months since the game’s release, and this still has not been fixed. As such, this would normally be an instant 1 out of 10 in any case. However, the game would still receive the same score even without this glitch. At best, it would get a 2, and that’s only be because I laughed at how ridiculous it was at points.
Our story is about someone named Jayson, a young high school student with no skills or credentials for anything other than hitting on women. As such, he gets a job at a host club, a bar where attractive men hang out with and flirt with female customers. He is then trained by Toby Lau, whom is nicknamed Homo Lau because… he’s a home owner. Yep, that’s the level of humor we’re dealing with here.
Even worse is that the game insists on hammering it down our throats the Toby Lau occupies the world’s most transparent closet, because apparently our developers are still in second grade and think “ha ha it’s funny because he’s gay” is a substitute for not only humor but character depth. Also there is the fact that the top host at your host club is also a camp gay that keeps talking about his “special package.”
Tokyo Hosto then chronicles Jayson’s social situations with various girls he is hosting for, as this game subjects you to in a conversation system that comes down to “pick the right answer or start over.” The only form of interaction that the game has is choosing an answer, and you cannot continue unless you choose the right one. This completely defeats the point of having these choices in the first place, and it makes one wonder why they exist in the first place.
Furthermore, the choices have no logical connection to the events, and you will be penalized at random for things you could not have seen coming. Some examples of this game’s leap in logic include commenting on someone’s appearance, something that would normally lead on to being a compliment, leading Jayson to call a woman ugly. Another one has him entertaining a guest by “saying something boring” which leads to an intelligent conversation about business. This leads to the woman commenting on how hosts are usually airheads but he’s smart, which leads to her taking off her clothes. This causes Toby to catch you and fire you.
On top of this, there are points where the right answers include things like “act like a robot” and “make race car noises,” while other times they will make you look like an idiot. Tokyo Hosto has no sense of consistency or coherence with its conversation system.
To top it all off, I need to talk about how It ends. The game’s ends with Jayson having successfully accomplished his role, only for the narrator to reveal that Jayson is a dog having a dream. This is randomly brought up with no sense of foreshadowing, no context, no explanation, and is what I assume was meant to be a joke. I’m not taking anything out of context; it really is that Jayson is actually a dog. Mildly amusing maybe, but this clearly demonstrates something. Baller Industries was not taking this game seriously. For those who claim that I’m just taking a joke too seriously, I will need to explain something.
There is a serious difference between a game not taking itself seriously, and the developer not taking their game seriously. The latter demonstrates that they did not think highly enough of their own game to actually give a satisfying ending, nor did they care for their own world or characters. This proves that they knew their story was crap, because otherwise they would not have had such an insulting ending. Imagine if a game like Silent Hill 2 ended with “but you’re a dog”… wait a minute.
So I have talked about how bad the game’s storyline i,s and how horribly designed the conversation system is, all that is left are the graphics. Simply put, the art style in Tokyo Hosto is horrendous. I have seen better looking fetish porn on DeviantART than in Tokyo Hosto (I’m not exaggerating). Gender Bender DNA Twister Extreme looks like Picasso compared to Tokyo Hosto. Our characters barely even look human and are all hideously deformed and unsexy. Considering how much this game relies on fanservice, that is not a good thing.
Also of note is that there is voice acting, but no lip syncing, and one can still hear static during some of the voice clips. There is also very little animation, so you will be starring at a still drawing while listening to horribly acted voice clips with no emotion.
Tokyo Hosto is $5.00 on Steam, and is over in under an hour. That goes to show you that content wise, it is not any good either. However, it being over early is probably the best thing about it. Well actually, probably the best thing is that it made me laugh at some points, but it was only because of ow absurdly ridiculous this game was. Of course it is funny at first, but after a while, it starts to dawn that this was released as a finished product, and people were expected to pay actual money for it.
This was Baller Industry’s sixth game, and it is clear they have shown no signs of making a competent title seeing as how each one I have looked up appeared Identical to this. If the team is serious about their work, then they seriously need to step up their ball game.
In hindsight, I may have been a bit too harsh on this game. The game is obviously bad, but I’ve come to appreciate the stupidity of it a bit more. Nothing about this game works from a design perspective, but it’s enjoyable in the same way an Ed Wood movie. I think you see where I’m going with this.
It’s actually somewhat hard to tell if this was a genuine attempt. I think the absurdity of some of the scenarios lends to this being intended as a comedic game. If this is the case, then it makes most of my review pointless because I admitted that it made me laugh. Hell I even laughed at the stupid gay jokes because they were so stupid. And there is at least some charm to it.
I also have since come across some horrendously bad writing that adds better insight on this. My initial review emphasizes how this game is from a a design standpoint, and how well it is made. From that standpoint, Tokyo Hosto one of the most poorly made games I’d ever made. Despite this, I’d rather play this than a lot of games that are better from a technical standpoint
What makes me see this game in a different lights is my experience with Games&Girls. As baffling of an ending as “but you’re a dog” is, it beats the crap out of Nazi fucking. Despite the fact that Games&Girls looks and sounds better, I’d much rather re-read Tokyo Hosto. If it weren’t for the price, and the exe glitch (which STILL has not been fixed), I’d actually recommend this game. Hell I’d at least recommend looking up a Youtube playthrough. So congratulations Tokyo Hosto, you’re the first Steam Greenlight Landfill game to be so bad, it’s good… as long as you don’t play it on Steam.
This review was originally posted to GameFAQs on March 22nd of 2016, and has since been updated with enhanced presentation.
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