Review: Tokyo Jungle – Playstation 3
Wow. This game is just… warped. To quote Jeremy Clarkson, it’s “more warped than Windsor Castle after the fire”. How to describe this game? An eat-em-up? A survive-em-up? I guess so.
Well, Tokyo Jungle is a downloadable game for the PS3. It costs £9.99 to download from the Playstation Network. It’s a survival action game set in post-apocalyptic Tokyo… So far, so good. But there are no humans, just animals. For some reason, all of the humans have disappeared.
This means that all of the domestic pets such as cats and dogs are on the loose, all of the animals have escaped from the zoo, farm animals are running loose – it’s mayhem. You have to pick an animal, either a carnivore or a herbivore and get out into the bleak ruins and survive.
The most obvious choice is to start as a tough, predatory carnivore. In this case, you begin as, er, a Pomeranian dog. You have to run around Tokyo as a fluffy handbag dog fighting and killing other animals, eating their carcasses and hiding from larger predators.
Also, of course, you have to mark as much territory as you can and claim it as your own. So it’s a pee-em-up too. Do enough of this killing and territory marking and you can attract the interests of a mate. Your animal’s lifespan is only limited and it’s vital to do this to keep your lineage going. So let’s say you were still a Pom – you would have to attract another Pomeranian dog – but she may or may not be interested in you depending on her class (mates come in Prime, Average or Desperate classes – charming). If she was a Prime mate – you would have to mark more and more territory until you had use of the local nest – and then kill and eat enough prey that she would be suitably impressed.
After this, it’s possible to lure your new mate to your nest and, er, mate. There is some light butt-sniffing, followed by the beginning of the male mounting the female, then the camera fades to black. So it’s a mate-em-up too.
Do this enough and you can raise a pack of followers and when your first animal dies out, you can take over the second generation descendent and so on.
I skipped over the herbivore class of animals – initially you can play as a Sika deer. They definitely require a different style of game play. The good news is they don’t have to kill – they can graze on plant life. The problem is they are all but defenceless. It is vital to move from patches of long grass, to behind cars – from cover to cover to avoid any predator seeing you. Certain death results from any skirmish.
And that’s the game. The graphics are far more PS2 than PS3 – ok but not remotely impressive. For some reason, in the story mode, you are meant to find USB sticks containing info about what happened to mankind and their disappearance (how very useful for animals).
But it’s very, very warped. This game will either horrify you or give you the most guttural belly-laugh you’ve ever had from a video game. I laughed initially when I first saw it on display at Eurogamer. I was impressed that Sony had the courage to release it. But play it for a while – hunt down and kill a baby chick, or play as a deer and hear the sound it makes as you die… Nah, this isn’t for me.
But, again, I do genuinely respect the fact that Sony did have the courage to release a game that is so radically different from anything else you will have ever played. The fact that it is shocking and unusual isn’t quite enough though – I certainly don’t love it.
7/10 then – try it if you want, but don’t say you weren’t warned. This game is for strong-stomached adults only.
Sweet dreams all!
Tokyo Jungle is out now to download on Playstation Network