What do you get when you mix a post-apocalyptic Tokyo and feral house pets? Well you get Tokyo Jungle… a strangely fascinating Playstation Exclusive animal rogue-like RPG from Japan. Rogue-like in the sense that there is permadeath in survival mode. Tokyo Jungle was a physical release in Japan but in the US it’s a download only title on PSN.
The game starts out with an extremely long online user agreement that you must “accept” every time you play even though, outside of the leaderboards, I have yet to figure out where the online interaction is. The game does not give you an option to play online multiplayer (only local). Regardless it’s worth scrolling through that agreement to get to the game.
When you start out only Survival mode is unlocked for you and you must complete objectives in survival mode to unlock chapters of the Story mode. After selecting Survival mode you have the option of selecting between two animals; a Pomeranian Dog or a Sika Deer. While both relatively small animals they are very different in terms of gameplay. The Pomeranian is a meat eater and has to constantly stalk and kill its food (in the form of other animals in the Jungle). The deer is a herbivore and must hide from other animals and seek out vegetation to eat.
There are territories of the city, each with 4 flags. Your goal is to eat food, rank up (based on caloric intake), and mark 4 flags in the same territory. Once you have marked all 4 flags you unlock the ability to mate with a female of the same race (dog or deer). Two females will appear in your area and you have to seek them out. The females will have multiple categories (desperate, average, and prime). The higher your rank the more likely you can attract the prime female and have more pups. After mating the first time you will leave the nest with 2-9 puppies or deer (basically lives). You then have to move to a new territory and repeat. The goal is to try to survive for as long as you can.
Sounds simple right? Well it’s actually quite complex and VERY DIFFICULT. Prepare to Die. A lot. First off, food is usually very scarce and your hunger bar never stops depleting. You literally have to be stalking and killing all the time with no rest or your hunger bar will deplete and you will die. Secondly, if you don’t find a mate before you turn 15 years old you will die. Thirdly, this world is not just full of dogs and cats there are bears, alligators giraffes, lions, monkeys, all things that could kill a little dog or deer in a second. Sneak by them or you will die! Fourthly, the game offers 3-4 challenges for each 10-year period. These can be things like “score 4 clean kills” or “intake 5000 calories” and often “take over the cat (insert any animal here) district of Tokyo.” You don’t die if you fail the challenges but you will not get as many points.
This game is right up my alley… an RPG… and super strange. It has more of an arcade-y feel to it than I originally expected in terms of ranking up, the music, the animations for “clean kill” etc. I have managed to survive 54 years on survival mode (playing as the Pomeranian) and unlock two parts of the story. I have only unlocked 1 additional animal (the cat) at this point but I have purchased two animals on the PSN store (A Saber Tooth Tiger and a Panda Bear). I recommend this game to anyone who has 30 minute to 1 hour blocks where they want to sit down and play something. It’s a lot of fun but besides that it’s strangely fascinating and hard to look away!