Many moons ago, a game by the name of Tetris was launched with the original Game Boy and a star was born, is Zoo Keeper the Tetris of the DS? In Zoo Keeper you are in charge of keeping all the animals in the zoo. Your job is to take the animals in the form of blocks and arrange them so that you get three or more in a vertical or horizontal line or if you’re good, both at the same time. Of course this game takes virtually no time to learn, but a lifetime to master. This is always the calling card of a good puzzle game, and Zoo Keeper is just that.Sadly, as with most block puzzle games there’s not much eye candy here. The animals are drawn in a very cubic kind of way, which is intentional but doesn’t exactly make it a graphical tour de force. There’s really very little to mention in the graphical aspect of Zoo Keeper because all you do is go from menu to the puzzle board and vice versa. By no stretch of the imagination does Zoo Keeper tax the DS hardware, but it does the trick, which for a puzzle game isn’t that difficult to accomplish.
The one thing puzzle games can do to compensate for the lack of visual power is to put in a rockin’ soundtrack. Zookeeper, however, doesn’t exactly rock it just kind of sits still. The tunes are very simple, catchy, but simple. Sound effects are limited to a group of blocks disappearing and new blocks falling in their place. There aren’t even any animal sounds for crying out loud! What kind of zoo has animals that don’t make any noise? A glaring omission to say the least, Zookeeper really misses the boat with the audio.
Now, the key to any puzzle games longevity and durability is in the gameplay. Zoo Keeper’s simple yet tricky gameplay does a great job of allowing this to be a game you can play for hours or even a few minutes while you’re waiting for the train or whatever it is you decide to wait for. Matching up three animals in a row may sound simple, but with seven different types of animals to try to line up, it can be very difficult indeed. The timer also helps build tension, as you make matches the timer increases, but as your ability to make matches decreases the game gets pretty difficult. Couple the deceivingly simple gameplay with several different modes and you’ve got a game that you can play until your DS batteries die.
Using the stylus is a breeze, simply pick an animal and drag it to be replaced by another animal and you’ve got the game down pat. While it’s not the most clever use of the stylus it is a much better way to play than by simply highlighting those animals with the directional pad. It speeds up the game and when you’re on a timer like you are here you want the controls to be as simple, quick, and accurate as possible and Zoo Keeper definitely succeeds there.
The main goal in Zoo Keeper is to get a high score and when high scores are involved there’s always a reason to come back and play. Time attack, quest, Tokoton, versus and the standard mode all give enough variation to the basic game to make you want to play Zoo Keeper again and again.
If there are some faults to Zoo Keeper it begins with the translation. A lot of the things being said don’t make much sense. In the way a literal translation might be used, words seem out of order, out of context and out of place. Of course this is easy to get over since you don’t necessarily need to pay attention to what is being said to you, but it would be nice if it made sense.
Zoo Keeper is a good buy if you can find it at a bargain price, but otherwise there’s just not enough game to keep you entertained for more than a short amount of time. However, if that’s all you’re looking for, Zoo Keeper definitely has its charm and would make a good addition to any puzzle fans collection.
Leave a Reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.