Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The Thrill of the Hunt: Tokyo Jungle

Just a quickie tonight, folks. Out of all the games I have for my brand spankin' new Doug Playstation 3, I'm convinced that Tokyo Jungle is the most intriguing. Maybe not the best or the most professionally designed, but certainly the most compelling and unique.

This won't end well...
Picture this... it's the apocalypse, but your enemies aren't hideous mushroom men or shambling corpses. It's nature itself, slowing turning mankind's order into chaos and leaving the animals to fend for themselves. You are one of these beasts, and your mission is straightforward: eat, claim territory, mate, and let the next generation continue your fight for survival. However, other animals will be doing the same, forcing you into constant conflict. As a carnivore, you must track down other animals and kill them with a swift bite to the throat. As an herbivore, you eat the plant life bursting through the cracked concrete roads, and run like hell when more dangerous creatures approach.

Basically, Tokyo Jungle takes the concept of the ecosystem and gives it the arcade treatment. There are items to discover and a long, maze-like city to explore, but at its heart, this is a tense, twitchy action game with an emphasis on risk and reward. In addition to a life meter, there's a hunger meter which constantly drains, forcing you to kill and devour other animals to keep it from emptying. You'll sometimes be forced into lopsided battles when food gets scarce and the only source of fresh meat is a few links higher on the food chain. A toy dog versus a hyena? A stray cat versus a pack of hungry wolves? Probably not likely in real life, but it happens in Tokyo Jungle.

Moo prism power, activate!
You've got to admire the game's twisted genius, but it's just as hard to ignore Tokyo Jungle's flaws. There's a lot of needless waiting at the end of each run, and a terms of service agreement you've got to scroll through and accept every time you load the game from the PS3's home menu. Every time. The graphics are pretty iffy, with a whole lot of grey in the backgrounds and animals that can be tough to distinguish at first glance. One time, I tackled a sleeping beast, thinking it was a relatively easy to dispatch hyena. My happiness quickly turned to horror when I realized that my "prey" was actually a cheetah! My own character was a house cat. You can probably guess the outcome.

Still, with a price as low as a dollar in flash sales (!!!), it's hard to imagine why anyone would pass up Tokyo Jungle. It's original, it's addictive, and it's always a huge rush to put the bite on an unsuspecting rabbit or chicken. I still lean into every kill with the controller, and any game with that kind of power deserves the space on your hard drive.

No comments:

Post a Comment