Konnichiwa! Sony Japan released the exclusive for Playstation network Tokyo Jungle in Japan on June 7, 2012. I recently purchased the game on PSN after they finally released it in North America and Europe, and let’s just say it was definitely a ‘unique’ experience playing this game. I’ve been waiting for it to be released in English because I found the concept and plot of the game very interesting, and I wasn’t disappointed.
I’ll keep spoilers to a minimum for the storyline. You start in Shibuya in Tokyo, something’s strange though because all the humans have mysteriously disappeared and the dilapidated city has been taken over by all sorts of animals. Basically, you have to learn how to survive in this new environment that has literally become a dog eat dog world. Whilst playing you unravel the mystery of the human’s disappearance. Each animal has its own story and target of the game. You gather evidence from each story so everything starts coming together to lead to the ending, which came as quite a surprise to me. You get the opportunity to play as over 50 different breeds of animals that are downloadable from PSN or you have to unlock them first in survival mode.
Tokyo Jungle (PSN)
Developer: Playstation C.A.M.P.
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Release: June 7, 2012 (JPN) / September 25, 2012 (NA) / September 26, 2012 (EU)
Throughout playing you have to switch between two different modes ‘Story’ and ‘Survival’ modes. To get further in the story mode you have to rank up in survival mode, which you will be mainly spending most of your time in, and collect the easily placed archives to unlock a new chapter of the story. The higher you rank up the more you unlock and learn about how to survive in the game. You’ll begin with the rank as Rookie and you want to get to the top rank as Boss. To rank up you need to make your way through the levels and consume food – the more you eat the easier it is to get through the game. I did enjoy how when you reached the furthest you could in survival mode afterwards it would show you your points and rank. It felt a little like an arcade game.
You can unlock different animals to, and can obtain clothes/items (I thought it was funny that you could dress your animal up in a Japanese school uniform) that you can get by completing challenges or gaining them from other animals. The clothes are like a form of armour and help keep up your life, hunger and stamina.
Simple enough? Well the further you get in the game the more difficult it gets, ther are harder enemies that you will encounter, drought of animals to feast upon which will make you starve, and also poisonous meat. You’ll find yourself putting a lot of thought into strategy; a pack of another breed could gang up on you all of a sudden that you weren’t prepared for, even if there a weak breed quantity could take over. You get to either play as a carnivore attacking prey to eat to survive, or an herbivore using for stealth and defense to survive from enemies. As I’ve mentioned above about food poisoning, you do have a toxicity meter which you don’t want to get too high or you will have more chance in dying, obviously to avoid this drink uncontaminated water and eat uncontaminated meat/plants and also use medicine packs if harmed.
Mating is a big part of the game as well due to the lifespan of your animal being fifteen years (one year is one minute in real time) and it’s impossible to survive after reaching the age of fifteen because your hunger starts to plummet down rapidly. You can also take over territories by mating and making a pack, and by keeping your numbers up it makes it easier for you to overcome harder obstacles/ enemies. But as always be careful who you end up mating with, because you don’t want to end up catching fleas!
Of course the game wasn’t perfect; it did have its flaws. The fact every time you finish a chapter of the storyline you have to go through the main menu sequence again instead of direct back to the story/survival option page, apart from that the menu it is pretty easy to navigate. Also when I played survival mode I got quite far but then eventually I died and even from save points, you end up right at the start of the level again and have to play your way through the whole thing to get to the point you recently were at. Also the game play with attacking doesn’t really change up. So you feel like you’re constantly just clicking the same buttons repetitively with no switch up.
Obviously the graphics of the game couldn’t slightly compare with Uncharted standards, but then again they weren’t too horrible, just cheesy and could most likely pass for Playstation 2 graphics. Then again graphics aren’t all that matters in a game. I found the music quite amusing for a while due to roaming around the city as a baby chick to techno music, but it was so repetitive as well and became aggravating when trying to concentrate. I found myself muting it majority of the time- even though it ended up getting stuck in my head anyways!
I would definitely recommend if you have a Playstation 3 to purchase Tokyo Jungle. I do think it is worth its price purely for the concept, story and humour, and you will find yourself getting slightly addicted to it! I can promise you though that it’s most likely not like any game that you’ve played before, and I found it to be an overall to be a good game experience.
[Written by contributor Heather Riddick]