God bless Japan. When it comes to offbeat independent games, Sony has definitely made the biggest splash over the last few years (think PixelJunk Shooter), and great arcade titles will no doubt continue to bring them a great deal of street cred. I personally love the out-of-the-box game design that seems to stream out Japan, And Sony Computer Entertainment’s latest offering is yet another inventive example.

Tokyo Jungle follows Patchwork Heroes as the most recent project to emerge from Sony’s PlayStation CAMP initiative focusing on giving Japanese game developers a chance to pitch their game ideas in hopes of being published. There are very few details on the title so far, but some screenshots and art assets have been released along with a brief description of the game.

Set in the near future, the city of Tokyo is mysteriously deserted, and wild animals ranging from prides of lions to pomeranians and race horses (and some velociraptors thrown in) control the streets. As you progress through the Story Mode, you inhabit the bodies of a varying group of animals as you race and platform in an attempt to escape from predators and uncover details surrounding the missing people. The screenshots of the environments are definitely worth checking out, and I assure you, you are not dreaming:

Tokyo Jungle Train Horses

Tokyo Jungle Bridge

I’m a huge fan of Trials HD and other scrolling/racing/traversal games so I’m automatically ready to see some of these levels in action. But the game also features a Survival Mode, allowing players to select a single animal from all the possible variations, and see how long they can survive against the meanest predators the game can throw at them. An adorable beagle taking on waves of bloodthirsty attackers? Yes please.

Tokyo Jungle Survival Ranking

If this game mode means I can tell my buddies that I managed to last longer as an ostrich than they did as a Cheetah, then count me in. I persoanlly love the way that Sony is acknowledging the potential of digital distribution, and refusing to be left in the dust by Xbox Live when it comes to digital games. Here at Game Rant we feel that there is limitless potential in digital downloads and this summer for Sony has been a great sign of things to come.  It’s difficult o say for sure, but smart money is on this game being yet another affordably-priced PSN title that will offer a ton of fun if nothing else.

But if the concept of the game or screenshots have yet to convince you that Tokyo Jungle is worth keeping track of, just take a look at this group of animals, all assembled for your playing enjoyment:

Tokyo Jungle Animal Designs

If a monkey in overalls brushing shoulders with a pomeranian doesn’t get you excited, then we have nothing more to discuss.

Tokyo Jungle is currently under development at Sony Computer Entertainment Japan Studio, and will be released this winter.

Source: Joystiq, Famitsu

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