|This is the most bad-ass a Pomeranian will ever look.|
Tokyo Jungle takes place in post-apocalyptic Tokyo, Japan. All humans have strangely disappeared and all animals from the wee chick to the mighty Velociraptor (didn't you know they had dinosaurs in Japan?) have taken over the city. The player's goal is to survive as long as possible as your chosen animal while completing various challenges, and trying to locate USB drives containing human archives that offer clues as to why the humans all disappeared. Obviously the game requires some suspension of disbelief (last I checked animals could not use USB drives or, you know, read.)
|Caption deemed unnecessary due to awesomeness of picture.|
Once you complete the tutorial chapter in Story mode, you must go to Survival mode and choose which animal you will play as. There are dozens of types of animals to play as (with more being added) in the game, with different breeds/colors to choose from, but you must unlock or buy them first. The animals fall into 2 categories: herbivores or carnivores. Your 2 animal options when starting are the Pomeranian, and the Sika deer-also known as the spotted or Japanese deer (I didn't know what it was either, I had to Wiki that one.) The main goal in Survival mode is to survive as long as possible (duh) and once you reach certain milestones or have lived a certain number of years, challenges will become available to you. Challenges range from travelling to a certain location, to eating a certain number of kilocalories, to mating. By completing these challenges, you can unlock new animals, gain additional skill points, and find useful items or outfits (oh yes, I said outfits.)
|Nothing strikes fear into the heart of predators everywhere like a feral cat in high tops.|
Survival mode also has a local multi-player option. Boyfriend and I played it a few times before we got a little fed up. This mode requires a ridiculous amount of teamwork, and strategy to master. In Survival Multi-player mode, you each choose an animal-it can be the same animal or a different one. One or both of you must survive as long as possible. If one of you dies, you can use animal medicine to resurrect the fallen ally. Defending yourself from predators or competition is slightly easier in multi-player mode since there are more of you, but you must also share food and the game does not double the food sources just because there are more players. This obviously gets very frustrating especially when some food sources provide an uneven number of "noms" for both of you to share. Another frustrating aspect of the multi-player mode is you can't share the same nest to mate and create offspring and you can't mate with each other. If you both find worthy mates, you'll have to decide which one of you gets to mate first, then go find and claim a new nest for the other member of your party, all while trying to complete challenges and unlock new items. Did I mention that once your individual animal reaches the age of 15, it automatically dies? Yeah. That happens. Overall, we both found the Survival Multi-player mode to be annoyingly difficult.
The other mode in Tokyo Jungle is Story mode. The Story mode episodes are unlocked by finding the USB drives I mentioned earlier. You can read the data/archives on the USB drives in the Start menu, and they will give clues as to why the humans have all mysteriously vanished from the Earth. Also, once you collect 3 new USB drives/archives in Survival mode, a new episode in Story mode will become available for you to play. The not-necessarily-linear episodes in Story mode follow the lives of different animals, beginning with the mighty Pomeranian.
|Ah yes, the noble...pom-pom dog.|
Tokyo Jungle as a whole is rather strange, and a little repetitive, but fun. The translation from Japanese may be lacking a little-I definitely think some nuances in the tutorials are missing-but the game is quirky and enjoyable. Is it worth the $14.99 PSN price tag? If for the convenience of downloading the game versus walking to GameStop and purchasing it for $50 is the trade-off for no disc/instruction guide, I say, yes it is worth the price. However, my recommendation for those who don't like the challenge of figuring out how to play a foreign game with little to no guide, I would wait until the game has been out for a while longer. As of now, there are no decent walk-thrus or Wikis for Tokyo Jungle online, at least not in English.