Tokyo Jungle Review

Arcade games have really come back big this generation. With the advent of digital networks such as Xbox Live Arcade, the Playstation Network and Steam, it is simple to distribute a wide range of small, quirky and replayable games. This trend was capitalized early on by classics such as Geometry Wars or Super Stardust HD. Tokyo Jungle is one such arcade style game. While running around the ruins of Tokyo may not seem like the most obvious score chasing arcade experience, the game definitely fits the bill, and hits about every arcade trope that you can think of. To put it in simple terms: if games still required quarters, people would lose allowances on this one.

Surprisingly few games have pomeranians as protagonists. 

Tokyo Jungle is one of the most unique games you’ll likely see. The gameplay and form isn’t unique in the slightest, but the premise definitely is. You play as various animals ranging from pomeranians to dinosaurs, and roam a post apocalyptic Tokyo to do what animals do best, which is basically kill, eat and mate. The premise is charming, and the ruins of Tokyo, which seems a little weird, soon become a very familiar hunting ground for your beast of choice. The game has two modes: survival and story. In survival mode, you will complete challenges, unlock new animals, and find files unlocking more of the story mode and giving insight into where all of the humans went.

For the record, the game looks nothing like this. Older build I suppose.

The basic gameplay requires your animal to feed, either by killing and eating animals or eating various bits of vegetation. In survival mode, caloric intake is measured and your animal will ascend two ranks. The higher the rank the better a mate you can attract. However, before mates will spawn, you need to control the territory you are in. This involves visiting several “mark” zones. After this, you can choose a mate of varying quality and then get busy, resulting in a new generation of whatever animal you are playing as. You will immediately take control of this generation and receive a stat boost based on the pedigree of your parents. This whole cycle is fun enough, but it can also get incredibly repetitive as you play through survival mode again and again. Combat is acceptable. Light attacks will open enemies up for a lunge attack, or kill weaker enemies altogether. Truthfully, the combat is very easy, mindless, and not much fun at all, but it is functional. Stealth is another element that doesn’t really work well. You can sneak up to or past animals to escape or preform a stealth kill. This is relatively fun, but once again, far too simple.

Simple like foxes murdering a mammoth.

Story mode is rather interesting. It unlocks slowly and requires many survival mode playthroughs to unlock the whole thing. Each mission that is unlocked gives you a set of more involved challenges, which can help break up the basic arcade style of survival mode. The core gameplay remains mostly unaltered, but it still manages to be a fun diversion. More intriguing is that the mystery of what happened to all of the humans is actually very interesting and that alone is worth trying to blitz through story mode.

Yes, you can dress them up.

Survival mode is where the bulk of the game is. You will begin with a meagre selection of animals, and gradually unlock more by playing through the game repeatedly. A series of challenges will unlock as you survive years in the game. These challenges vary from marking territory to killing enemies, and you are rewarded with stats and stat boosting clothing for completing them. Survival mode is fun, but it gets a little repetitive. Challenges spice it up, and unlocking new animals is fun, but that doesn’t change the fact that all animals are pretty much the same, and the gameplay is a little too slow and imprecise to really last too long without getting boring.

Graphically, the game is fine. Animals are requisitely cute and the environments are recognizable. They aren’t amazing, but for an arcade game they work well enough. The music is pretty terrible on the other hand. It doesn’t fit the game very well, and it gets very repetitive very quickly. Animal noises are spot on with dogs sounding like dogs and deer sounding like deer. It is a little weird that it is always a dog howl when you mate, but that is easy to overlook.

I hope this review wasn’t “boar”ing… sorry.

All in all, Tokyo Jungle is a charming little game that is fun to play, for a time. The game gives incentive to keep playing by constantly unlocking new animals and story segments, but the gameplay can get stale very quickly. Since all animals are pretty much identical, and it can take a long time before you unlock anything that isn’t just another type of dog or deer, the incentive to keep playing isn’t always strong. The bigger animals are fun, but only act as a more destructive form of dog.

Pros

– Intriguing story mode
– Tons of stuff to unlock

Cons

– Combat is weak
– Gameplay gets repetitive far too fast

Score 7

– Mistranslations for the Modern Gamer

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