Surviving Tokyo Jungle with a baby chick because life’s not hard enough already. David Meikleham lasts 60 days without tooth or claw.
It’s true what they say: it really is a cheetah-eat-chick world out there. Forget pooches snacking on other pooches – on the mean pixellated streets of post-apocalyptic Japan, everything wants to have you for elevenses, 24/7. And yet, somehow, I managed to stave off toothy death for 62 days. I outmanoeuvred packs of golden retrievers so vicious they made Cujo look like Lassie. I snuck past black panthers with more stealthy subtlety than Solid Snake. And what’s more, I did it all with a baby chicken.
Thanks to a swathe of DLC, you can choose to take on the PSN survival curio with over 50 animals. When absolutely everything wants you dead (from wolves to the withering powers of Father Time), the critter you plump for is crucial. Tokyo Jungle is a savagely tough game. Its learning curve is akin to being shunted out of a helicopter in the foothills of the Himalayas and being told to scale Everest in your undercrackers with nothing but a pair of toothpicks. Yet the central premise is a simple one. Your only goal? Simply to survive.
If you’re sensible, you’d make your death-dodging task simpler by braving the game’s network of abandoned bus stops rammed with lions and sewer systems swimming with crocs using a truly mighty beast. So why in the bluest of hells would I go for a pathetic cutesy fowl? Because when it comes to games, I love to snuggle up to Marvin Masochism.
Tokyo Jungle isn’t a game you complete – it’s merely one you endure for as long as your thumbs and instincts will allow
Lest we forget, I completed Metal Gear Solid 4 ten times in the not-too-distant past to unlock its platinum trophy. Compared to that, keeping a tiny bird alive for a few virtual weeks should be a cinch, right? Well… no. In fact, a ‘no’ dressed in a chicken suit and fried up for a big, delicious banquet of PS3 suffering. Tokyo Jungle isn’t a game you complete – it’s merely one you endure for as long as your thumbs and predatory or passive instincts will allow.
The only way to get better and avoid the Grim Reaper for longer is by putting yourself through dozens of iterative playthroughs to learn the game’s sprawling map. When I first start with my KFC-in-waiting I’m chomped on by a put-out pomeranian almost immediately. And you can’t learn enemy placements, either, because Tokyo Jungle constantly shuffles its predators about. I’ll just rest in the cosy climes of this bombed-out office that’s acted as a safe haven for the last four goe… oh, a jackal has made me its lunch. Swell.
And then it clicks. Love is the answer to my dreams of long poultry life. If I can just get into a cycle where I can regularly find other chicks for some sweet beaky lovin’, my egg offspring can keep the family line going. Seeing as the game lets you continue as long as you spawn kids before you cark it, strutting around Tokyo like an avian Casanova soon sees my lifespan balloon like a polar bear’s waistline at a baby seal buffet. My final playthrough – pushing me past the 60-day milestone – is a flurry of randy bird sex, hurtling it away from feral alley cats and dressing my chick survivor in a Patapon hat. The whole process was agonisingly repetitive, of course.
So if you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll pass on chicken tonight… and for the rest of my natural life.