Subway Surfers Tokyo Review and Tips
Note - This is a review of Subway Surfers: Tokyo. Whilst releases featuring other destinations have since been released, the basic gameplay, powerups and mechanics stay the same. The only thing that changes are new collectibles, art style/location and new unique characters to collect.
Let’s Get Running!
The idea of an endless running game is simply to run for as long as you can without dying. You start off every time being caught drawing graffiti on a train and a policeman spots you and starts chasing you with his dog which begins the race (or escape more like). The character moves forward on their own and you need to direct them with swipes of the finger to avoid obstacles. The game starts off slowly and as you get further and further in terms of distance it gradually speeds up meaning you have to be quite quick on your reflexes to avoid stationary and moving obstacles. You can jump, move from side to side (both on the ground and while jumping) and also roll under obstacles. The moves themselves are basic but it genuinely emphasises skill over luck and planning your movements a little in advance, especially as things speed up. There are three main lanes and with one swipe left or right you switch between them.
As you run along you can collect coins which you can then use to either buy new characters, upgrades to powerups, new hoverboards or even temporary boosts at the shop. I’ll be discussing this in more detail further on. There is the option to buy coins with real money if you wish but having played it every day for 4 days I haven’t felt the need and it hasn’t stopped my progress which is key really when it comes to Freemium games.
The game is quite generous with coins. On an average run you can collect 300+ coins which is enough to buy a useful powerup and almost enough to upgrade some items. If you play every day you and complete a daily mission then you can earn bonus coins as well as being able to collect a surprise box on your run which can give you coins and items. Most runs you’ll come across one of these if you look carefully enough and they are always exciting to open – everyone loves a surprise!
Graphically the game is very easy on the eye. It has a very bright and varied colour palette which makes you think you have almost been painted yourself – it has a cartoony style. It makes sense given you’re caught tagging a train with graffiti and this creativity extends to the game world. Some of the effects, especially when you use your jetpack and are whisked high above the clouds, are always a joy to watch and give a true sense of height and excitement. The characters are vibrant and suitably funky.
Each Subway Surfers game setting is themed on a popular territory and this one is no different. Tokyo being the setting you’ll see cherry blossomed trees, neon signs and Japanese lanterns. It makes a nice backdrop for the game but isn’t too ‘in your face’ so you don’t lose concentration from all the running – the environment is there to differentiate the theme as opposed to distract with gorgeous imagery. Personally I was hoping for a little more of an Asian flavour but it’s a minor point, especially for a free download.
Apart from the policeman and his dog chasing you relentlessly there are other obstacles which you need to watch out for in Subway Surfers World Tour: Tokyo.
Barriers – These are clearly marked with red and white stripes. Some you have to jump over to avoid while some you can either go under or over.
Trains – These are either stationary or moving and you can only jump over them from the ground with the Super Sneakers or go left and right.
Junction Signals – These are quite thin and it can be easy to knock into them so watch out for them.
Miscellaneous – Anything that looks like it could obstruct you like a wall, train platform edge or central barrier are all things you want to avoid.
All powerups have a time limit on how long you can use them and this can be upgraded in the shop with the coins you collect.
Jetpack - My personal favourite powerup in the game. The jetpack allows you to fly high above the clouds for a short period with no obstacles and collect a lot of coins freely. It’s great to not only collect some extra coins but it’s good for travelling a solid distance without anything in your way until you fall naturally back to ground.
Hoverboard – It’s a single use powerup that can be collected or bought. Whilst not upgradeable, the hoverboard allows you to not only look a bit cooler in your travels (and there are multiple boards you can pick up from the shop with some having unique abilities and designs) but it works as an extra life. If you crash while you have used this powerup you will still be alive but back to running.
Magnet – The magnet helps you attract coins from other lanes that you would normally have missed. Depending on where the coins are placed, the middle lane is best as can grab coins from the quickest from both the left and right which can make the magnet a very lucrative powerup.
2x Multiplier – This basically doubles your standard multiplier score that is currently active so for a shorter time your points will increase. It’s a simple powerup but worth collecting when you see it to maximise your score.
Super Sneakers – These allow you to jump over pretty much anything when activated (even entire trains) but can be troublesome as it’s the only powerup where if you don’t watch the time limit about to run out you may find yourself running out of juice and run straight into a train.
There are many ways to spend the coins which you earn through completing missions or collecting on runs.
In the shop you can buy single use powerups such as score boosters or extra hoverboards as well as upgrades to many of the other powerups to make them last longer. As you purchase an upgrade, the amount of money to increase it to the next level increases. You can upgrade a powerup to a maximum of 6 levels.
Separate to the shop is the ‘Me’ tab on the main menu. Here you can buy new characters but there seems to be no discernible difference in stats and purely a cosmetic change but they are all unique and some can even be acquired through collecting certain items on runs. You can also buy new hoverboards of which at this present time only 3 of them have special abilities with the rest being graphically different. They’re all well designed but the coins to get some of them are quite steep. Saying that, you don’t need the boards and aren’t penalised by not having a certain one so purely your choice to earn all the coins to get it or pay with your own money.
It’s definitely an addictive game with a lot of style, humour and it’s really good fun to top it all off. It’s free so pick it up and try it for yourself.
I’ll finish off by helping you with a few tips I think are worthwhile from my experience playing:
- The roll is a very useful move which can be done quickly and if possible I would use the roll to go under everything other than jumping. The reason for this is that it leaves you a little more movement time to escape a close obstacle like a stationary train and turn quickly.
- Don’t forget to use the boards. Upon activation it gives you 30 seconds where if you crash you essentially get an extra life and can be invaluable if you are aiming to beat a high score, complete a tough mission or collect as many coins as you can.
- Upgrading the powerups is a great idea and should be done gradually so you still have coins in the bank. Many of the other items you can collect as you go (keys, mystery boxes etc) so it’s wiser to use the coins on the upgrades rather than anything else. The jetpack and magnet upgrades are especially valuable for coin collecting.
- Completing mission groups gives you a permanent increase in your points multiplier so look at these as key goals to get better and better scores organically.
- It’s always better to be on higher ground where possible so you can see what’s ahead. On trains is ideal as often you can hop from train to train without too much risk of stumbling into anything. On the ground you’re at a disadvantage as more obstacles as well as tighter viewpoints which may catch you out.
- Try to stay in the middle as much as you can. This will always give you a quick left or quick right to avoid trouble and give you more options than if you were at the far left and needed to swipe all the way to the right.