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Ellie Gibson, writing for Eurogamer, gave Tokyo Jungle a 9/10, describing it as "basically Grand Theft Auto with lions." and calling 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.
I only happened upon this title by chance by browsing the internet. I personally downloaded the game to my boyfriend's ps3 instead of the physical copy as since he had an account on his console it only cost something like £10. I do love it though I must have had it a year and I keep coming back and playing it as a casual game.
The story is unclear at first it is based in an post-apocalyptic Tokyo as suggested by the title of the game and all of humanity has disappeared from the planet all that remains is the tatters of the city scape and wild animals that have escaped from the zoo like lions, tigers and bears or domesticated animals such as chickens, dogs or cats that Rome the city as their territory. You play as these animals which is the part I love as there are so few games that do this, sure you have harvest moon where you raise the animals and most recently the dog character in GTA V but through all my gaming life (which is long and or a lot) I have never been able to play as such a spectrum of animals outside of human domestication.
The game play if is very interesting also instead of the regular health and magic/weapons gauge like the legend of Zelda or what have you there is a gauge for your animals overall life span which decreases with damage, age or starvation. A health gauge which drops at a constant rate and after depletion takes from your overall lifespan and a stamina gauge that respawns each time you use it all up. The stamina varies from animal to animal but it is vitally important for escaping predators which increase in number the longer you can survive.
Your original animal can only live properly for 12 year or 12 minutes of game play, in the mean time you must kill/eat as much as possible and mark territories all around the city, there are 4 marking spots in each area which are usually guarded by bigger stronger animals. Once you become a big strong animal you can attract the best mate which results in better power ups and more offspring which are very much like extra lives should the first in your party be defeated, though you cannot gain more in your party until you reproduce and you will lose the previous generation's party every time you do so, so use your time scale wisely.
During each generation you also must complete set tasks in order to unlock the next animal in the food chain or more powerful animals, playing through the missions also unlocks the story mode which tells you from the animals point of view what has happened to the world. The missions include eating a certain amount of calories per time scale, marking and reproducing, defeating other species and arriving at certain destinations at particular times. This isn't always as easy as it sounds however as areas become polluted at certain times making plants and animals inedible even if you manage to defeat them also some animals are ridiculously powerful and can call for more family at points you can have 30-40 lion cubs and their parents chasing you down a street when you playing as a Pomeranian or beagle which is next to impossible to escape, or just when you feel you are on track a crocodile snaps up from behind a bush and its game over, the smaller the animal you are the more skilful you really have to be to make it through to year 75 which is the end of the missions but you can go on longer as long as you can manage to eat and reproduce. My maximum year was 120 but animals disappear around year 103.
In terms of the audio the music is quite pleasant and relaxing almost which is largely light with a beat that usually varies depending on your animals stride. The visuals of the animals is particularly nice with the different colours of fur and scales I wouldn't say the graphics are amazing but they are smooth and glitch free and the animals bodies move relative to how they would in real life. The backgrounds vary from city to railway, zoo and suburbia usually with two claimable territories within each, some animals thrive better in different environments for instance the deer, chickens and small domestics do well in the city and suburbs where there are lots of buildings to climb and hide in or down in the sewer where most predators can't get to where as large predators do well in open areas like the railway and zoo, you will have to explore all areas to make you targets and unlock new animals though.
Some other nice attributes that this game has is that you can collect clothes for your animals such as hats, scarfs, jackets and shoes or buy them with the points you have obtained, not only can you make a full ensemble but the clothing also adds to your defense, attack and speed. The clothing usually does get broken during fights and needs replaced during your play time around 3 times.
If you have the internet all of your records will also be posted online so you can see how well you have done in comparison to the rest of the gaming community. Overall the amount of animals you can play with must be around 50 once you unlock them all with varying difficulty, speed and attacks as would be expected in the wild.
As much as I loved this game (and still do) I have some gripes. As stated before there are times of pollution where plants and animals are inedible but realistically animals like hyena and crocodile should still be able to eat during this climate like in the wild as they have powerful stomach acids and can eat rancid food so I think poison levels should effect each animal differently and secondly animals that produce eggs it is kind of shown that they are just born which isn't scientifically correct maybe they should have had more of an incubation period or something but maybe it's just me since I like accuracy in games that try to be scientific. Secondly food does stop at around year 103 for predators which means even if you're doing really well the game just come to a complete stop, though because each session can last up to 2 hours at a time with little opportunity to save I reckon this is reasonable enough.
Lastly I would recommend players to be 11/12 upwards for this game as it is mildly gory and you do start to feel for the animals once you have been playing as them for a while, the animals also make little screechy noises when they get killed or die which may be upsetting to younger players.