Posted on Thursday, October 11th, 2012 at 8:43 PM by Guest
There are a huge number of gaming genre’s on the market today, from first-person shooters and adventure games to in-depth role-playing games and farming simulators. One genre that often gets overlooked is the genre of “hangover games”. These games are such a delight to play, and so pleasing to look at, that they make you forget how ill you are (regardless of whether this is self-inflicted or not). The last game to fit perfectly into this genre was the PSN title: Journey, by That Game Company, which was simple and effective in its execution. Another PSN title: Tokyo Jungle, by Crispy’s and Playstation C.A.M.P., also fits into this category.
The idea of the game is to take control of an animal of your choice, from the various species available, through the desolate landscape of Tokyo, after mankind has been removed. To begin with, the choice is limited to a Pomeranian dog or a deer. The dog is a carnivore and must hunt prey and eat them to gain experience and become stronger, but it also performs a more vital role of preventing starvation. The stalking, hunting and eating are all covered in the short tutorial, before you take to the streets to mark your territory, eat and eventually mate to carry on your bloodline. When a new breed of puppies is born, you take control of one of the puppies, and your adventure begins again in a new generation.
The deer, on the other hand, must eat plants to survive, and escape being hunted. While the dogs tend to be more solitary hunters, the deer can form packs in order to defend themselves, and tend to be more nimble and fleet-footed when an escape is necessary. Again marking territories, surviving and mating form the basics of your routine, but time is against you and moves rapidly in this version of Tokyo, so the objectives need to be met as quickly as possible to ensure the survival of your species. You have the ability to unlock additional species by performing tasks and meeting certain criteria in the game, and some can be purchased from the PSN (such as a panda, giraffe or a crocodile), but these all play out in a similar way to the dog or deer scenarios, with slight changes in strength or speed depending on the species picked.
I first played this at the Eurogamer Expo, and it struck me then what a charming title this is. It was difficult to get my head around at first, it was often described as “Grand Theft Auto with animals”, but that doesn’t do it justice. It is a charming game, which has a learning curve, difficulty balanced with rewards, and beautiful graphics that belie the purchase price. The only features that let it down are the lack of animal choice at the beginning (this might put people off in the short term), the repetitive missions and kill animations, and the lack of cross-platform play (this would have been ideal to pick up and play on the PS Vita).
Tokyo Jungle is game that you will come back to, perhaps not every day, but certainly more often than you may have planned. For this reason, I give the game a well deserved 8/10.
Tokyo Jungle is currently available on PSN for £9.99 (£7.99 for Playstation Plus subscribers).
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