No TGS trip would be complete without dipping into the annals of the weird, and Tokyo Jungle, a title that was on display at the Sony booth, should satisfy anyone’s craving for only-in-Japan eccentricity. The game takes place in a post-apocalyptic, human-free Tokyo where wild and domestic animals have to hunt each other to survive.
In my demo of the PS3-exclusive platformer, I played a Pomeranian—i.e., the kind of dog that a Paris Hilton type would carry around in her purse. As the little pooch, I worked my way through a side-scrolling level (which inexplicably proceeded right to left) and picked off whatever fuzzy creature was unfortunate enough to stand in my way.
Tokyo Jungle is the product of Sony’s publishing program for amateur game makers, PlayStation C.A.M.P., and that’s appropriate, because this is a thoroughly campy title. There was a tongue-in-cheek action-movie vibe to the whole thing. I hunched down to hide in the bushes before leaping out to ambush rabbits, housecats, a chicken, and others—with my adorable puppy feasting on their entrails after each kill. Once, crows came down to pick at the carcass, so I let them descend and then slaughtered them, too. “You have to be a hunter to survive,” said the booth assistant supervising my play session.
At the end of the demo stage, I faced the boss—a cougar—who I had to defeat with a technique described as “punching. Essentially, I was throwing the Pomeranian’s entire body at the wildcat until it gave in. And then? Yup, I feasted on its entrails. Plus, I got a surprise: “Level up!” My intestine-devouring doggie was now a little bit stronger.
Players won’t be limited to the Pomeranian. A thoroughbred horse and a chicken are also among the playable characters. Yes, it’s all pretty stupid, but that’s the appeal, and a quick check of the line on the first open-to-the-public day of TGS showed that attendees were willing to wait more than 90 minutes for their chance to experience the inanity. Non-Japanese gamers will have to wait even longer—there’s no word on localization plans.