Nary a Space Marine in Sight
"This city needs more giraffes". I have lost count of the number of times that I've thought that to myself whilst walking the streets of Tokyo. With the exception of the giant crows that prey upon rubbish bags and bleary eyed clubbers, central Tokyo isn't exactly teeming with animal life. The closest I got to Tokyo nature was the day I discovered that cockroaches can fly, as one specimen the size of a hatch-back flew into my face as I attempted to study it at close quarters. For all its charms, central Tokyo is the most un-natural of places, or at least that’s how it felt to this country boy, raised by wolves in the English wilderness.
It would seem that Sony C.A.M.P and Crispy's share my concern for this lack of wildlife, having seen fit to re-populate the city with all manner of animal life. Tokyo Jungle is a forthcoming PS3 exclusive, set in a near future Tokyo, purged of human life and re-populated with wild animals. From domestic creatures to more exotic zoo escapees, the animals rule supreme in what was once one of the most populous cities in the world. Listed as an action/survival game, you take the role of one of a number of animals where, as a member of a pack or as a single, dominant predator you fight for territory and survival.
Sometimes I need games like Tokyo Jungle – relatively unique experiences that aren't just aping every other money-maker on the market and don’t feel the need to feature space marines or employ Nolan North. They serve to remind us of the weird and wonderful possibilities of the medium we love and that innovation isn’t only a term to be applied to hardware.
After reading about Tokyo Jungle and having settled upon the topic of unusual games, there was one title that immediately came to mind: Ka (蚊) or Mr Mosquito as it was known in the west. Released as part of Eidos Interactive's aptly titled Fresh Games label, it is a decidedly Japanese game that revolves around the titular Mr Mosquito and his attempts to feed on the inhabitants of the Yamada household. You must suck them dry, whilst buzzing around clumsily and avoiding the angry swipes of your agitated victims. To my knowledge, there is nothing else quite like it and while it may not be a classic, it’s certainly great fun in short bursts.
Flower has always struck me as a very peculiar game, but also an outstanding one. It sheds many traditional video game features such as narrative, enemies and high scores whilst remaining a full and exhilarating experience. Hopefully next month's Journey will be just as memorable. Sticking with PSN, SEN or whatever you care to call it, Noby Noby Boy is one of the most bizarre yet endearing games out there. Boy, a brightly coloured quadrupedal, must stretch to impossible lengths in an attempt to reach Girl, his love interest who awaits somewhere out in the cosmos. Swallowing and excreting everything and everyone that stands in his way, Boy is a supple hoover of love and a protagonist that couldn't be further removed from the standard, video game mould.
You don't always have to look far from established genres and series to find something unique. With Typing of the Dead, Sega took a well-worn formula and introduced something that is far more familiar to the average person than firing a gun: typing. The result was an arcade-style game that almost anyone can play. It offers far more suspense than emptying clip after pistol clip, as inelegant fingers race across the keyboard searching for letters to halt the walking dead. Rez has garnered a significant following over the years by making music an integral part of the standard, on-rails experience, and sticking with the Dreamcast, you can't talk about unusual games without at least referencing Seaman.
It's always good to have the chance to play something a bit different, to break up the monotony and remind you how varied video games can be. Are there any unusual games that you have enjoyed or are looking forward to?