The isometric stealth-shooter just got an expansion called Smaceshi’s Castles that adds new missions providing players like me the perfect excuse to return to its dazzling, minimalist worlds.
Tokyo 42 came out in June which already feels like forever ago, but despite all of the great games that have come out since, it remains one of my favorites of the year. If you haven’t played it, imagine a 2.5D platformer version of Hitman where complicated stealth strategies are replaced with twitchy, lo-fi combat.
“The basic design of the original open world was more about coming up with clever solutions to problems and using the environment, so what we wanted to do was produce some purer gameplay levels,” said Maciek Strychalski, one half of the studio behind the game, in an email. They hadn’t planned on making the DLC from the start, with it instead growing out of a desire to let players explore some of the ideas that ended up getting squeezed out of the main game.
Here’s the trailer:
Smaceshi’s Castles consists of combat arenas, parkour puzzles, stealth tests, and even some bike time trials. Strychalski stressed that there aren’t any “distractions” in these new levels, just “pure gameplay.” They’re also harder than what was in the main game. While the 90 missions that make up the DLC are each short, some definitely require a number of do-overs before they can be completed (and if you’re as bad at the main game as me, probably all of them will).
“So the basic setup is that there are three castles each representing a different side of gameplay. Combat, Stealth and Parkour. At these castles you’ll find arenas where you might do a horde mode battle, target practice or a timed parkour challenge. you get rated on your performance. So it’s speed or how far you get or how many times you’re spotted. It’s definitely much more basic than the core game and quite different. There isn’t much of a narrative here, you earn medals which unlock challenges. So it’s pure.”
In practice this means expansive areas (like the one shown in the GIF at the top of the page) where players can go all-out in perfecting their combat skills rather than worrying about navigating platforming puzzles. Parkour-centric missions, on the other hand, do the opposite, emphasizing mind bending perspectives that require perfect timing and accuracy to complete. While the main game tried to combine all of these elements into a cohesive world with a specific narrative that ran through it, the DLC missions are basically a chance for the developers to break out each design idea individually and run wild with them.
SMAC Games also rolled out an easy mode for the main game along-side the release of the DLC that increases the number of hits you can suffer before dying from one to three. Because it’s 2017 and no indie game is complete until it nerfs its difficulty (or at least lets you scale it).
Smaceshi’s Castlesis $8 and currently only available on PC.