Product Type: Ignition Nintendo DS games
Newest Review: ... will lose. You get three lives. The main game and mode is Zoo Keeper where the zoo keeper tells you to capture a certain amount of each... more
Zoo Keeper (DS)
Member Name: otalgia
Zoo Keeper (DS)
Advantages: Addictive puzzle game.
Disadvantages: Can get frustrating!
Released in 2005 by Ignition Entertainment Zoo Keeper is a puzzle game for the Nintendo DS.
The story of the game is that the animals in a zoo were fed up of the zoo owner (curator) and started a riot! To prevent any more animal mayhem you are employed as a Zoo Keeper to keep things in order.
Playing the game
The rules of play are quite simple to learn.
The lower screen displays a grid of icons that represent zoo animals. To catch the animals you must get three or more of the same animal adjacent in a horizontal or vertical row. To achieve this you use the stylus to switch animals that are next to each other. Once three or more animals are in a row then they are caught and vanish off the screen.
When animals are caught and removed from the screen all of the animals above drop into their vacated spaces and further animals are added to the playfield to fill the grid.
The dropping of these animals may make further rows of animals form (called a chain) and these two will vanish from play.
There are five modes of play though all use the same play concept as mentioned.
The first mode is called Zoo Keeper. In this mode you must capture a set amount of each animal to progress to the next level. Each level requires more animals to be caught and gets progressively harder each level. Each level is competed against a timer that counts down on the side of the screen. For each animal you catch the timer is replenished a little. If the timer reaches zero then it's game over.
The upper screen shows little thumbnail pictures of the animals that need to be caught and underneath displays the amount that you have caught. Once you have caught the required amount of an animal its picture is greyed out. This is really handy as a quick glance can indicate which animals are still required to be caught. Occasionally a flashing icon appears on the screen that displays a fast scrolling image of all of the animals. When you tap on this icon it will stop on a random animal and remove that entire animal from the playfield, potentially causing a series of chains.
The beauty and frustration of the game is that sometimes you can't any potential moves to make and start to panic as the timer depletes. Fortunately in these occasions you have a limited amount of "hints" available. The hints are represented by a little pair of spectacles on the right hand side of the screen. Tapping on this will briefly highlight and animals that can be moved to catch others. You only have a limited amount of hints available (2 at the start) though more can be earned as you progress through the levels.
So the game continues in this manner, level after level, until your time runs out. The timer of each level depletes faster and the groups of animals are laid out in increasingly difficult patterns. In fact the time running out is a real panic situation as all of the animals start to throb and vibrate whilst the music plays a klaxon soundtrack!
And that is the games main mode explained!
Of the other modes there is a Tokoton 100 mode where you must catch 100 of a animal to progress to the next level, a quest mode where you are set an increasingly difficult set of task (such as catch X animals), 6 minute mode where you attempt to get a personal best high score within 6 minutes of play and finally 2 player mode where you can compete wirelessly against a friend.
Sound and graphics
The sound is quite limited. The background music in both the menu's and Gameplay is quite repetitive and can become annoying. Fortunately you can turn this down or off in the options menu. The sound of catching animals is a hearty plink sound and chains of animals being caught make a hearty spaceship whiz sound! The only other sound is the well pronounced female vocal sample in the game and pause menus.
Graphically it is very colourful and the sprites are all large and well defined. The animals have a very square and boxlike appearance but are easily identifiable. The menus are bright and vibrant and the font sizes large and clearly displayed.
Zoo Keeper is one of those addictive games that you keep returning to.
The games simplicity is its strongpoint and begs for "just one more go". It's both frustrating and fun to play and has hours of playability. Sometimes you can stare blankly at the screen looking for the illusive animal to catch and despite it being right under your nose you fail to see it until it's too late. It's that frustration that drives you to try again and again and results in a cartridge with great longevity of play.
Summary: A fun and addictive Nintendo puzzle game.