|Publisher(s)||Sony Computer Entertainment|
PlayStation Vita (Tokyo Jungle Mobile)
July 10, 2013
Tokyo Jungle (トーキョー ジャングル, Tōkyō Janguru) is a survival action game developed by Crispy's! and published by Sony Computer Entertainment for the PlayStation 3. The game takes place in a deserted, futuristic Tokyo, in which the city has transformed into a vicious wildlife wasteland.
Tokyo Jungle was released in Japan on June 7, 2012, available on both disc and downloadable versions. The international release of the game became available for download via PSN in North America and the PAL region on September 25 and September 26, 2012, respectively. It was included on the "Best of PlayStation Network Vol. 1" compilation disc, released June 18, 2013.
Tokyo Jungle has two modes: Story and Survival.
- In Story mode, the player plays through missions centered around various animals. Eventually, the player will discover the truth behind humankind's disappearance. Pomeranian dogs are key characters in the story, as well as a Sika deer, Beagle, Tosa Inu, spotted hyena, lions, and a pair of robotic dogs which resemble AIBOs.
- In Survival mode, the player, or players (there is a local multiplayer), takes control of an animal and fights for survival against other animals for as long as possible. Tokyo Jungle has online leaderboards so the players can compare their survival skills against one another. Smaller animals will fight in groups, and the player's group can win fights against larger animals as long as one member of the group survives the fight.
The player will have to build up a pack of animals. This is easier for some herbivores, which means the player may not necessarily be at a disadvantage even if they choose a weaker type. There are 50 breeds and 80 types of animals in the game, including Pomeranians, lions, crocodiles, tigers, giraffes, hippos, cheetahs, chimpanzees, gazelles, chickens, Beagles, Dilophosaurus, hyenas, Deinonychus, and Sika deer. As the player plays through the game, additional playable animals are unlocked. There are other animals which are available for the player to download as downloadable content from the PlayStation Store, which include an Australian Silky Terrier, a Smilodon, a robot dog, a Peking Man, a (human) office worker, white and black Pomeranians, a cat, a panda, a crocodile, a kangaroo, and a giraffe.
Some time in the twenty-first century, humankind is extinct, leaving animals to fend for themselves. The once busy streets of Tokyo are now home to lions, tigers, chickens, and various other animals. All of them are now fighting for survival.
- After running out of pet food, the Pomeranian now has to fend for itself in a now-wild-and-vicious Tokyo. The bosses he faces are fat cats although one is fought by his children. He ends his story establishing a small pack of Pomeranians.
- Two Sika deer fawns search the hostile streets of Tokyo, looking for their mother. The fawns are separated briefly, and their reunion is short-lived, with one of the two being killed by a Cheetah, leaving the other to continue the search. His/her story ends with a series of cold trails leading to a dead end.
- A hungry Beagle tries to overthrow a tyrannical Tosa Inu. The Beagle builds an army out of his pups to fight the Tosa. The boss he faces is the Tosa himself. The Beagle is killed by The Hyena.
- The Tosa Inu is injured by the Beagle, and must escape. He then works to regain his lost honor. The Tosa is trained by a bear to fight better, and confronts the entire army of the Nomad Pack, and manages to kill them all. He duels the leader of the pack, The Hyena, and kills him. His story ends with him retaking his position, and is implied to have become a leader rather than a tyrant. The boss he faces is in one stage a chimpanzee, a crocodile, a tiger and in his final stage two giant hyenas, a Smilodon and the same hyena that overthrew his master.
- The lioness and her hunting party have to hunt the targeted animals all over the Subway area. The boss she faces is a kangaroo with four rabbit sidekicks. She ends her story going back to her family after hunting.
- The male Lion has to defend his pride from the roving male lions. The boss he faces are four hyenas and another lion. His story ends with him defeating the pack, allowing his family to live in peace.
- The hyenas are planning to deal with the beagle. The Hyena kills The Beagle, and takes over his territory. The boss he faces is the Beagle himself. His story ends with him fighting the Nomad Lion for control of the pack, with the Tosa's story picking up almost immediately after, where it is discovered he killed the Lion, and runs away from the Tosa, who is trying to kill him. The Tosa catches up to him and fights him, and prevails, with The Hyena dying after one last attempt to kill his rival.
- ERC-003 is a robotic dog resembling a Sony AIBO Codenamed "Lily". After being found by ERC-X with its family of two wolves, ERC-003 now has to scan all of Tokyo for the disaster signals being put out by the humans' underground facility. It then faces a moral choice of whether to bring humanity back to Tokyo, or let the animals rule. Choosing yes will end the game, whereas 'no' will trigger a series of final boss fights and what is considered to be the "true ending". The first boss it faces is the Tosa just as the Beagle's was. Unless it decided to bring the humans back, the bosses it faces are its former ERC-X pal, two Deinonychus, two Smilodons and the final boss, the upgraded ERC X named ERC X 2. It either lives with the future humans, or dies from its wounds during a fight saving the animals from being exterminated by the humans.
With the game Yohei Kataoka, wanted to make a game that combined universal concepts to create an original game. Katoka noted that both a human-less world and animals were both individually "universal" concepts that "could be combined to create something that "could result in something very catchy, very new and very exciting."
After coming up with the setting Kataoka's team prototyped the concept, with Kataoka drawing animals over photos of an abandoned Tokyo. The team also created a 2D "pitch" video which helped them unify the concept. The team started out with only two people although by the end expanded to 24. Rather than move into a dedicated office the team instead worked from a 1,000 square ft home. Electrical issues however forced the studio to upgrade the residence with ended up costing them roughly the same had they moved to an office in the first place. Kataoka feels that the team's inexperience in designing games helped the final product. Specifically noting that they wouldn't have opted to put so many characters into the game had they realized the work that such a feat entailed.
Japan Studio and Sony Worldwide Studios both criticized the project upon first hearing about it with Kataoka believing that the former balked at the concept. The latter however was open to the idea, but felt that the gameplay at that stage was lacking.
The game made its debut at the 2010 Tokyo Game Show with Gamespot writing that the game's quirky concept "make it unlikely to ever see a stateside release". Sony noted on their own Playstation Blog that most of the early coverage focused on the eccentric concept as opposed to the gameplay. Kataoka noted that he himself was unsure by this point if the game would ever see a release outside of Japan although interest form European gamers eventually led to a worldwide release.
Ellie Gibson, writing for Eurogamer, described the game as "basically Grand Theft Auto with lions" and called it "a celebration of classic games, with their ridiculous plots, repetitive tasks, excessive violence and all. It pulls off the impressive and nigh-on impossible trick of being an original homage. Also it lets you set a giraffe on a bear." Giant Bomb's Patrick Klepek also praised the game, calling it a "well-designed, supremely funny game". Klepek went on to praise the game's animal variety and the system for unlocking new animals, as well as the loot system and the story mode. However, he criticized the game's inclusion of certain animals as paid downloadable content. In Japan, Famitsu gave it a score of all four eights for a total of 32 out of 40.
The Digital Fix gave the game nine out of ten and said, "The mechanics are simple, graphics average, plotting ludicrous but it is never dull and if you don't have a story to tell your gamer friends after every time you play it then you are doing it wrong." The Escapist similarly gave it four-and-a-half stars out of five and said it was "utterly ridiculous but wholly unique, blending challenging gameplay with goofy trappings. Putting a track suit on a housecat to increase its attack stat is a pretty silly thing to do, but the kind of attention to detail you'll need if you want to survive in the urban chaos. The mixture of absurd and serious is addictive and surprising." The Guardian gave it four stars out of five and said, "Despite its tongue-in-cheek nature, Tokyo Jungle is a superb game. It feels quite unlike anything else (the best description of it would be a stealth-action-survival-RPG), it's laugh-out-loud funny and incredibly moreish." Anime News Network gave it a B and called it "a low-key experience where you can do approximately three things (eat, sleep, and mate). There isn't much in the way of cutscenes and there isn't much in the way of story other than 'the game tasked my deer with stealing the Shibuya Woods from the pigs in order to unlock them as a playable race, so I hopped from rooftop to rooftop, chased by a whole drove of aggressive porkers, frantically peeing on territory flags in order to stake my claim before I was slain'; which is about as good a story as you can ask for half the time, and about as good an experience of harrowed persistence as any game is likely to give." However, Digital Spy gave it three stars out of five and called it "a unique title which, while not without its flaws, is wildly entertaining and well worth a download." The same website also gave the Vita version four stars out of five, saying, "Fans of the original will still probably be willing to look past Tokyo Jungle Mobile's awkward controls and less involved combat, and if they do they will find much of the same addicting survival gameplay intact hiding underneath."
In an interview with Siliconera, director Yohei Kataoka was asked about Tokyo Jungle's reception outside Japan: "Europe loved it, and we got a lot of great feedback from that audience, but [in] America... that simply wasn't the case. We received a lot of negative feedback for the game."
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