By JAMES DAWSON
With mankind gone, animals that once relied on humans to survive have reverted back to their instincts, and have turned Tokyo, Japan into a jungle. This post-apocalyptic world serves as the setting for “Tokyo Jungle,” one of the most bizarre PlayStation 3 games to come out of Japan this generation.
In “Tokyo Jungle,” the player controls one of several animals that inhabit the now overgrown city. Early on, the choices are limited to a Pomeranian and a Sika Deer, but options open up significantly after completing the game’s many challenges.
The game is split into two parts, “Survival” and “Story.”
In “Survival” mode, the main objective is to live as long as possible. To do this, one must keep a careful eye on their animal’s vital signs, since death is permanent and even simple things, like fleas and hunger, could spell the end of an animal’s life.
The player is also tasked with finding archives left behind by the humans and completing challenges that unlock new animals and clothing. The archives are especially important, as they unlock new acts in the game’s story.
“Story” mode is remarkably different than “Survival” mode. Its focus is less on surviving and more on following a set path to reveal one of several of the game’s quirky tales. Because of this, “Story” mode often feels like an extra feature, rather than part of the full game.
Despite the difference in objectives, the gameplay remains largely the same. The player explores a 3D representation of Tokyo with their chosen animal and gets in fights with other animals along the way.
The game’s combat system is a simple combination of pressing the “square” button to attack, dodging with the “right stick” and pressing the “R1” button for a clean kill. This can get monotonous at times, but, overall, it works well in the context of the game.
Players who choose to play as a predator must take this system to heart. They are tasked with killing Tokyo’s diverse fauna to survive.
On the other hand, players opting for a grazer might want to learn how to escape danger instead, as they lack the endurance to fight large predators.
Aside from behavior in combat, the two classes play very similar to each other. To survive in Tokyo, both the predators and grazers must feed and bear offspring. To do the latter, they must mark their territory by securing several flags scattered in an area and find a mate.
When an animal mates, it passes on traits to its offspring, which the player then takes control of. These offspring not only act as a way to advance the animal’s generation as time passes, but they also act as extra lives.
However, despite its large amount of content, “Tokyo Jungle” suffers from a bit of repetition. Aside from a steep increase in difficultly later on in the game, it never seems to do anything new after the first hour. That said, “Tokyo Jungle” does offer a unique experience that’s not likely to be duplicated anytime soon.