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 () 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?

Comments

  1. I'm definitely keeping my eye on Tokyo Jungle, I love the idea, but it seems like the kind of game where a hundred things can go wrong. One weird game I'm looking forward to is Crush 3D. Missed out on the PSP one, so I'll just get it on the 3DS.

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    1. It'll either be great or a complete wreck.

      Don't know much about Crush 3D - will have to check it out. With my Vita only days away, the 3DS is going to need all the help it can get.

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  2. Wow I havent heard of Tokyo Jungle. It sounds really interesting though - its a nice change to play something which involves a non-human/humanoid character. I have no idea what Noby Noby Boy is and to be honest it sounds a bit confusing - something about excretion and the cosmos??

    I really love a game called Gregory Horror Show on the PS2. Its based on a japanese animation which iv never seen (but u might know actually), but its a really interesting game. Oh and of course BISHI BASHI! Im also really looking forward to playing(/reading about) Gravity Rush for the Vita. I love the look of the visual design so far.

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    1. Not sure that Noby Noby Boy becomes any less confusing once you've played it. There is little else like it.

      Never heard of Gregory Horror Show. I did a bit of goggling and it definitely looks like an interesting/unusual game. And yes, I've got my eye on Gravity Rush/Daze too

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    2. just watched a bit of gameplay for noby noby boy and it makes less sense. It kind of reminds me of katamari - but quite a bit weirder!

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    3. Noby Noby is actually made by Keita Takahashi - the man behind Katamari. He has a talent for the weird and wonderful!

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    4. cool! that makes a lot of sense. And now I want to play it even more! all I need is a PS3...

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  3. to answer you comment on your last blog. the book is coming along, right now I'm waiting for the editor to get back to me for the last time and than it should be on Kindle within a week. so hopefully next week!!! and yea Binary Domain was just the demo so the rest of the game could be very different, I'm looking forward to what you have to say about it.
    Tokyo Jungle sounds pretty interesting, haven't heard of it. its good to see people are still making games like that, its become to realistic and every character is starting to feel the same, male, strong willed and a wise-ass. no one does characters out of the norm like ratchet or strange from oddworld stranger's wrath. it'll be good to see what comes of it

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    1. Great! Hope the final week goes smoothly.

      Will be interesting to see how engaging Tokyo Jungle will be with animal leads. No chance to include a Nolan North voice over!

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