Tokyo Jungle: It’s tough out there for a Pomeranian

October 25, 2012

It wasn’t looking good for my Pomeranian. The toxicity in the air was growing. A desperate female had come to follow me as she gleefully followed me back to my nest. Unfortunately, because she was desperate, she had brought more than her love for me along. She had given me fleas too. As if it couldn’t get any worse, I was starting to lose my health due to no food being in the area, and I was getting old.

Welcome to the jungle.

Tokyo Jungle is a quirky game in its own right. I guess we can classify it as an action-survival game, right? In this day and age, humanity has disappeared and all of the animals — wild, zoo, and even house pets — have run wild and begun to fight for supremacy to survive and live on. Throughout your playthroughs, you’ll have to fight other animals for dominance, eat to survive and find potential mates to carry on your legacy. Each animal is classified into two different classes, Predator (Carnivore) and Grazer (Herbivore), and each has their own distinct way of playing.

The game throws quite a bit of challenge at you. The food chain provides some peril as you start Survival Mode as a Pomeranian or a Sika Deer. In order to unlock more powerful animals, you need to complete certain challenges, usually taking an animal’s territory or defeating a boss animal. Predators require a constant amount of food, so you have to be mindful of what you eat so you don’t starve. You are constantly being under the threat of predators more powerful and larger than yourself.

Grazers, depending on their stature, have to rely on stealth or strength and find plants they can eat that are distributed rather unevenly throughout the maps. The trials of finding a mate also bring forth another thing you have to keep in mind. Most animals only have fifteen years to live, so while trying to survive, you have to mate to keep going with a new generation.

There are two modes in this game. Survival, where you’ll spend a good majority of your time, is pretty much exactly what it says. Choosing an animal, you have to survive as long as adapt to the situations the world throws at you. Through Survival Mode, you complete challenges and find items, some sticking to one playthrough and others transcending into the game’s other mode. Story Mode levels are unlocked through pieces of information found in Survival. These usually involve specific missions with whatever animal is associated with that chapter.

However, the game isn’t without its faults. The camera is always in a fixed perspective, so trying to find out what predators are up ahead in the direction of the screen could prove to be troublesome, and you might find yourself dying a quick death since you can’t see what’s around the corner. Also, if you’re going to unlock everything and earn the true ending for the game, you have to have a lot of time on your hands. Since this was a disc release in Japan, this game is loaded with content and stuff to do, but getting everything will require multiple playthroughs and sitting on your couch for a significant amount of time. The graphics also seem to be trapped in the PS2 era.

One annoying thing is the persistent appearance of the “unnecessary” online aspects of the game. Every time you load up the game, you have to go through the Sony Terms and Conditions and accept it. You would figure this would be a one-time thing, but it pops up every single time. The leaderboard is another thing it could’ve done without. The game shows it after every Survival round ends, and loading up another game could take almost a minute or more depending on your connection.

Tokyo Jungle definitely has a lot of charm. As odd as the concept for the game is, most of it seems to flow pretty well. The game provides itself with enough challenge, and the plethora of things to unlock is enough to keep someone busy for a long time.

Pros: Extremely quirky, plenty of unlockables, great to play alongside friends
Cons: Fixed camera is a little bad, “online” elements are annoying

Score: 4/5

Questions? Check out our review guide.