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Review

Tokyo Jungle Review

  • First Released
  • Reviewed:
  • PS3

Tokyo Jungle's great concept and good sense of humor end up being little more than lipstick on a pig.

It has always been a dog-eat-dog world out there. But when humanity disappears and animals are left to fend for themselves, the streets of Tokyo become a far more savage place, where former house pets must learn to hunt and kill much larger, more deadly animals to survive. The concept may sound grim, but Tokyo Jungle brings enough humor to its vision of the post-human streets of Shibuya to make the whole scenario pleasantly silly. That humor only goes so far, though; repetitive gameplay and frustrating difficulty issues make Tokyo Jungle an underwhelming glimpse at the future of the animal kingdom.

There are two modes of play in Tokyo Jungle: survival and story. In survival mode, you choose one of the animals you've unlocked and make a go at living on the rough-and-tumble streets of Shibuya. You roam dilapidated neighborhoods, hunting or grazing to survive as your hunger meter rapidly dwindles. You also mark your territory and mate before old age takes its toll. Years pass at a rate of one a minute, so you can't play as any one animal for too long. Therefore, it's in your best interests to improve your animal's stats as much as possible in a short period of time so that you can pass better qualities on to the next generation.

After you've marked certain spots in a neighborhood, you can mate there, though the quality of your mating partner can depend on your experience. If you've ranked up your animal sufficiently, you might entice a "prime" mate or at least an "average" one. If you haven't, you may have to settle for a mangy mate, and get the periodically paralyzing fleas that come along with such a prospect. Repeating the process of ranking up your animal, marking territory, and mating every 10 or 15 minutes quickly becomes a relentless, unrewarding grind.

You improve stats by completing challenges, which provide you with goals like killing a certain number of animals, eating a certain number of calories, or heading to a certain neighborhood. You can also find and equip gear that comes with stat bonuses. You might give your golden retriever a spiffy baseball cap or deck out your cat in a provocative pet bikini, bringing both a sense of style and a sense of humor to your gloomy plight.

Don't just survive. Survive in style.

Among the challenges available to each animal in survival mode are those that unlock other animals. To unlock cats, you must venture into a territory overrun with cats as a Pomeranian and reclaim it. To unlock golden retrievers, you must defeat the boss of the golden retrievers while playing as a beagle. The opportunity to unlock and play as a wide assortment of animals as you make progress in survival mode may seem like it would keep this mode fresh for quite some time, but the same simple challenges surface again and again for every type of animal, and usually the animals you unlock play almost exactly like the animals you used to unlock them.

As you roam the streets of Tokyo, you encounter a variety of other animals, some of which you can probably easily kill, and others you're better off trying to avoid. Combat is shallow. When an animal doesn't know you're there, an icon appears indicating you can pull off an attack that will likely kill your prey. There's some entertainment value in seeing a little Pomeranian fly through the air and kill a hyena with the savage grace of a cheetah pouncing on a gazelle in the wild, but soon, the simplicity of pulling off these kills prevents the process from being satisfying. Combat isn't much better when your enemies know you're there. You pound an attack button, do a quick evasive maneuver when your enemy is about to strike, and then go in for the one-button kill.

Tokyo Jungle has some basic stealth mechanics, but sneaking around the streets of Shibuya is anything but suspenseful. You might get spotted even when you think you're being sneaky--it's hard to get a good sense of just how far other animals can see and what might alert them to your presence. Once you've been spotted, you can try to lose your predator by running and hiding in some tall grass, but it's not clear how far ahead of your pursuer you need to be for this to have a decent chance of working. And you might find yourself cornered when trying to escape; the map doesn't make it clear which obstacles in the road can be passed and which can't, and invisible walls sometimes prevent you from moving in a certain direction. Rather than generating tension and rewarding your sneaking skills, the whole stealth aspect of the game just feels chaotic.

Pteranodon: It's what's for dinner.

So, too, does the world around you. At times, this leads to entertaining surprises. You never know what sorts of animal battles you'll stumble upon when you go to a new neighborhood. You might enter an area and see a flock of sheep stampeding from hungry jackals, or come across horses, hippos, and hyenas mixing it up in the streets.

This lends the world an enjoyable liveliness, but this seeming randomness can also bring about a sudden, unexpected end to your life. You might mate in a safe neighborhood and then take over the next generation to discover that a deadly crocodile is right outside your nest. Particularly when visibility is low as a result of rain or other factors, you might be leading a pack of pups down a street only to find yourself face-to-face with a panther or other predator who ends your life with a single swipe. Opportunities to save are infrequent, so death often means losing a good deal of progress, and you can have only one save at a time. Each time you want to start survival mode as a new animal, you have to overwrite any progress you've made as the previous animal.

By finding archives in survival mode, you unlock new chapters in story mode, and this is where the game lets the silliness inherent in its concept run wild. One chapter has you forming an underground resistance of beagles to retake territory from a canine warlord and his troops. Another sees you leading a lioness in combat against a boxing kangaroo and his rabbit assistants. But these chapters often have their own frustrations, putting you in situations that require trial and error to succeed. For instance, a checkpoint race to mark territory and return to base before a rival does might take a few tries before you work out a viable path--once again, the map is not much help--and a chapter that starts off with you being attacked by a pack of enraged beagles might see you getting killed before you even have a chance to escape from their clutches.

It doesn't matter how hungry you are. If you're a Pomeranian, biting a tiger in the butt is not advisable.

On top of everything else, Tokyo Jungle's music is gratingly repetitive, and the visual design of the animals makes them look hollow-eyed and creepy. Sure, there's novelty value in a goofy game that sets you loose in a city overrun by savage animals. News bulletins in this strange new world inform you that "the giant Bunny of Legend has come to Yamanote Line East" or that "dog-monkey relations have soured." You've never played a game with a concept quite like that of Tokyo Jungle. But underneath the amusing exterior, this is just a game with shoddy stealth mechanics and gameplay systems that keep you doing the same simple things over and over again. It's almost hard to believe, but Tokyo Jungle makes experiencing the rich circle of life on the streets of Shibuya a drag.

The Good
Novel concept that leads to plenty of laughs
Lively, sometimes surprising world
The Bad
Shallow stealth mechanics and combat
Repetitive structure
Unattractive visuals and grating music
5
Mediocre
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0 comments
disneyskate
disneyskate

I hate the stealth and hunting in this game. I can't see what's ahead of me so they always see me. There's no good way to sneak up on prey and get into grass before they see you, and in stealth you can never tell where they will go next.

Epicurus-Reborn
Epicurus-Reborn

Hmmmm see I didn't find the gameplay shallow at all. The level design could be better in some areas, to give more room for stealth options, but other than that this was incredibly addicting. The fun of the game is like an old school arcade. Try to beat your score. Or in this case, try to live a longer generation of offspring. And every time i played, i did better with each run through. If a game forces you to learn a fun mechanic, and rewards you and acknowledges your ability to master that mechanic: Thats some pretty solid game play to me. 

monicker
monicker

This is a really fun and addictive game. Well worth $15. Journey was also $15 and highly overrated. I finished it in a couple of hours. It takes more than a couple of hours to just progress past the very beginning. The game is fun, easy to pick up and highly addictive. The  difficulty is pretty high though. I would compare it to Lost in Blue, though nowhere near as insanely difficult, it can still be pretty tough. I beat Journey 3 times the weekend I bought it and haven't touched it since. I may play it again, but this one will keep me busy for months..

 

5 is way too low, at lowest it's a 7, I'd give it 7.5/8 knocking points of for inconsistent difficulty.

monicker
monicker

I generally agree with her reviews, this is one I'm going to ignore. Too many other sites have given it great reviews, that coupled with the fact that's it's like $15 and I was sold as soon as I heard the concept I am going to buy this asap. Whether i like the game or not, I'll keep listening to Carolyn's reviews, they're really well done and while I sometimes disagree, she's one of the most balanced and honest reviewers out there!

 

ur12b4got
ur12b4got

I actually liked this game. Oh well. That is my opinion

Justforvisit
Justforvisit

I just checked it in PSN, hey it's only 12,99 €For THAT price, the review really IS pretty unfair o_OGoing to get it anyways then :)

Nimbil
Nimbil

Gamespot gets it wrong again.

Justforvisit
Justforvisit

Just a 5.0? :(Aw man, I was so looking forward to it when I was able to play it at GamesCom 2012 for nearly 45 minutes. And those 45 minutes looked like fun to me...imagined it would be awesome when you later unlock the dinosaur and go rampaging through the other animals.So bad that such a great idea and concept only comes out mediocre. Also surprised it already IS out. No good sign for further creative ideas imported from japan shores :/Well, maybe I'll get it for a cheap price then....

Badmutha
Badmutha

This looks awesome, but it seems it's only for those that "get it". When I saw that dog dressed in that samurai attire I nearly pissed myself I laughed so hard!

DubYew
DubYew

I enjoy this game very much, but I'm not going to make a bunch of personal attacks at the reviewer just because I would have liked to have seen it get a higher score. We can disagree without being disagreeable.

Grim_Reaper007
Grim_Reaper007

I expected a worse score, the game looks like one of those straight to bargain bin titles.

mitchymoo91
mitchymoo91

I vote Gamespot bans comments on reviews. Using the comment section to state that.IRONY. 

lyhthegreat
lyhthegreat

just take the review with a pinch of salt...what matters most is that you are enjoying the game,i'd say for $15 this is already a very solid deal.

H0rizon
H0rizon

I've always been mixed on Carolyn's reviews. Not that I don't support her opinion and I've yet to play the game myself, but perhaps she missed something with the game itself.However, this isn't to say that she was supposed to see that certain something about this game. To state the obvious, we all view matters differently in some manner whether or not we share the same opinion. 

TheBusterMan
TheBusterMan

One review that put a smile on my face was Eurogamer's review by Ellie.I can't say if the game is worth a 9,as I have not played it,but that review was funny.

Sugurbabi
Sugurbabi

That's funny, it's BECAUSE of Gamespot that I got the JAPANESE TOKYO JUNGLE months ago, you guys WERE all gun-ho about it when you discovered it, now all of a sudden it's crap? Very interesting..... ohwell, got it again and loving it :)

Sumna87
Sumna87

I'm not sure this man gave the game a fair chance.  Maybe if the animals were drunk and mean to their kids he would have liked it.  This game has gotten some pretty great reviews on other sites and I can't wait to play it.

alex33x
alex33x

It's really dumb for gamestop to talk to highly about the back when it was just a japanese game, which may never make it to the US. What changed gamestop? Sony forgot to add 0's that check? 

Leftel
Leftel

I would like to play this game :D

keldarironfist
keldarironfist

Western game "journalists" poo pooing Japanese games? Shocking....

gamekingpin
gamekingpin

Can we get a second opinion, this game looked so promising a few months back.

raiden-94
raiden-94

what the hell? a 5?? this game rules!!! Oh wait, the reviewer is Carolyn. Its okay everyone.

Bozanimal
Bozanimal

I watched Jonathan Toyad, a Gamespot staffer, play this live a few months back. I will never forget that video, where his avatar was a Pomeranian fighting for survival.

 

This game is bizarre, unique, and I applaud Sony for taking a risk in developing it. There's a reason backing a unique idea like this is a "risk," though, since they don't always pan out. It's a shame, too, because that was probably one of the most entertaining "Now Playing" episodes I've seen.

Venom_Raptor
Venom_Raptor

They should have made it far more grim and dark, because the concept sounds great. Combat looks so boring and repetitive though.

vadicta
vadicta

If Carolyn gave the game a 5, then it must be something worth playing.

yankeesfan2
yankeesfan2

Silly complainers, just because a game is creative doesn't mean it gets a free pass in the game play and graphics departments. I haven't played it, so take my opinion with a grain of salt, but from the game play videos and commentaries I saw, this game DOES look repetitive, annoying, and boring. Good review.

LingeringRegime
LingeringRegime

Can't wait to buy it.  I love games that are willing to take a chance and are creative.  Plus, my wife is Japanese and we can play this together.  :)  We already watched tons of gameplay and were laughing out loud to the zaniness entailed. 

mr_england
mr_england

Sounds like the nearest I'll ever get to a sequel to Silicon Valley... *sigh*

Spacewolf29
Spacewolf29

I already bought this game few months ago while visiting Japan, the gameplay is pretty fun but since the explorable area isn't that big it gets really repetitive. You basically just hunt, mate, hunt, mate, avoid bigger animals, mate and do those little mission to improve your stats. Unlocking new animals keeps the interest up but once you have unlocked them all, that's pretty much it (unlocking 90% of animals is really easy, the last ones are harder). Even the story mode is very short, you could complete it in a hour or two but between chapters you'll have to play survival to unlock new chapters. I dont understand why they complained so much about stealth system, it works just fine. I bought the game on it's release date and it cost only about half of the normal price for a new game.

AndCarlsen
AndCarlsen

I did think this game was shallow and repetitive during the Now Playing section, but it it only lasted for some dozens of minutes, do I thought I could  be misjudging it. Apperantly I was right and the game doesn't really offer much variaty.

Leboyo56
Leboyo56

@monicker This game comes nowhere NEAR Journey in terms of an impacting and amazing experience. This game is fun for a short while, but I forgot about it less than a month after I purchased it.

masterarbiter44
masterarbiter44

 @monicker This game is very fun, definitely deserves a higher score, but Journey is not overrated.

Epicurus-Reborn
Epicurus-Reborn

i know this was months ago, but i hope you bought the game and played it. You would def get a good hour entertainment out of this, if not more. 

SIDEFX1
SIDEFX1

 @H0rizon Like this game is so complicated that anyone would missed something about the game, Play the game first and everything you just said will change. 

spusich
spusich

 @TheBusterMan "Obviously, this is the best idea for a video game ever. (If it sounds like a stupid idea to you, goodbye. Perhaps you could go off and play one of those sophisticated and respectable sci-fi RPGs where you get to have lesbian sex with blue aliens before battling an ancient race of sentient robot squid monsters - a plot which seemed ridiculous enough the first time round when it was in Babylon 5.) It's basically Grand Theft Auto with lions."This review is so full of win, it brought tears to my eyes... from laughing :-)

Rickystickyman
Rickystickyman

 @Sumna87 It's a she... just saying... I feel like this game could be easily overrated. I haven't played it yet, but it looks like one of those games that people will praise for very little reason other than it being original.

Epicurus-Reborn
Epicurus-Reborn

@yankeesfan2 repetitive, but not boring. Thats like saying geometry wars or pacman is boring. You get your moneys worth. 

monicker
monicker

 @yankeesfan2 A little game called Journey, while not a bad game by any right, people were jizzing all over themselves for that one, I still don't understand why, it was a cute, short diversion nothing more.

monicker
monicker

@Leboyo56 @monicker I disagree, though I did like, LIKE, Journey. It was OK, but overpraised and over priced. It's a dude running around sand for 2/3 hours, hell, it's barely a game, and that's using the word game with the loosest possible definition possible. There was absolutely no challenge, the graphics were nice, but come on, dude, they were just that, nice. Not a bad game, but totally over hyped. Tokyo Jungle wasn't by any means a work of art, but it had more going on with it. It had issues, but I enjoyed it, I loved the challenge (well most of the time) the graphics were serviceable, there was a sense of humor, and the whole concept was no less original than Journey's, soooo....agree to disagree, and I'm hoping you got something out of both games, i know I did. And PS: my main point was that this score was too low. PPS: sorry for the book, I just can't help myself : )

Epicurus-Reborn
Epicurus-Reborn

@Rickystickyman @Sumna87 I praise it for being addicting and fun. and roaming around a lion infested metro, flooded with toxic air, and little food to eat, with only one child left in your bloodline of Deer, as you race to find some place better, can be really intense. 

monicker
monicker

 @Gelugon_baat  @gamekingpin There are second, third, fourth etc. opinions. IGN, Eurogamer and Kotaku all raved about the game, they did list some of the same failings as Carolyn but said the addictive game play and low price made it well worth buying. Maybe she just didn't play far enough, from what I read the first part of the game can be a bit of a grind, but it get's much better later on, sounds like another game, Dark Souls

monicker
monicker

 @Gelugon_baat What are you talking about? I saif that I think it's a good review, I like this reviewer and generally agree with her, but at 15 bucks I don't mind taking a chance. Where did you get the impression I was thinking worse of anyone? It's a silly game review, why, oh WHY, would anyone take it seriously, much less personally. You seem like a nice, earnest person but I don't get where you're coming from. No offense.

monicker
monicker

 @Gelugon_baat I was saying Dark Souls is a game, to the uninitiated, with a difficulty and learning curve, not to mention opening grind that could turn some people off. It's a game where, once you get past the beginning steps opens up into an amazing experience, though it is very difficult. I was merely suggesting that this reviewer didn't play the game through, I don't know. But that is where my comparison comes from, I wasn't literally comparing the two games, that like comparing an apple and a hamburger.

monicker
monicker

 @Gelugon_baat I'm not sure what you mean here. No matter, i was just saying this is the most negative review I've seen of this game. You seem to either really dislike this game and have a bugaboo about people disagreeing with the reviewer or you are going out of your way to stand up for the review, I don't know, and don't really care. This is a good review, but I still think I'll get the game based on others, and the fact that what she said didn't totally turn me off to the game.

Tokyo Jungle More Info

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  • First Released
    • PS3
    Tokyo Jungle is a hunting game that takes place in the year 20XX, where you are an animal fighting for survival in the deserted city of Tokyo which was once a lively metropolis.
    7.7
    Average User RatingOut of 102 User Ratings
    Please Sign In to rate Tokyo Jungle
    Developed by:
    Crispy's
    Published by:
    SCEI, SCE Australia, SCEA, SCEE
    Genres:
    Action
    Content is generally suitable for ages 13 and up. May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling and/or infrequent use of strong language.
    Teen
    All Platforms
    Blood, Crude Humor, Suggestive Themes, Violence