I’ll admit I’m a bit of a softy when it comes to Time Management games, because I don’t mind the fact that most of them have the exact same flow to their gameplay. Still, it’s nice when something takes a little bit different approach to the genre, and I think Jane’s Zoo handles that quite nicely. It does feel a bit like it’s geared more towards younger players, but I’ve always considered myself young at heart anyway, and I’m rather enjoying the change of atmosphere and slightly simpler game play. Hard core Time Management junkies might find it a tad too simplistic, but I think it makes a great casual game that’s an easy entry for those with no experience in the TM genre.
Jane has decided to take her time management skills and put them to good use by helping to take care of animals all across the world. Your job is to help three zoos on different continents become sufficient in taking care of natures’ most beautiful (and sometimes deadly) creatures. Each of the three zoos will give you several different animals to care for. Jane takes care of providing food and water to the animals, while her uncle manages all the cleanup and maintenance in the zoo. There are also a few mini-games in the form of tasks like washing the animals and helping sick animals get better. None of the mini-games are difficult at all, but they still provide a nice diversion from the standard game play.
Most actions are taken care of by tapping on the action request balloon, tapping on the corresponding item in the toolbar at the bottom of the screen, and then tapping on the request balloon again. Things are small enough that occasionally I have trouble tapping the appropriate area, but that’s usually not an issue. Mini-games for the most part require tapping gestures as well. To clean an animal you tap on the dirty areas, to heal it you tap the thermometer when the temperature is in the right range, etc. The one exception so far is blow drying the animals after a bath, which requires you to drag the blow dryer up and down by the wet area. This one is kind of annoying, because if you don’t get it just right it might take a while; meanwhile, requests from other animals are piling up.
While I’m rather enjoying this slightly simpler take on the time management genre, there are a couple of things that bother me. Now I’ll admit I’m playing on the basic mode, but it seems like the game does a bit too much handholding. This is especially notable when it comes to upgrades, because there’s a pretty strict regimen you have to follow when buying new things. The other thing that I don’t like is the fact that if someone has two tasks queued up, they’ll complete one task, walk back to their waiting spot, and then go to the next task. That seems like an unnecessary use of time. I suppose that adds to the challenge, but it seems somewhat counterintuitive for a time management game.
Whether you’re for or against the more basic game play, I think what will keep most people coming back are the animals themselves. The visuals are a bit on the small side, but there’s still so much detail that it looks good. If it weren’t for the fact that you actually had to do something to keep the animals happy and the zoo open, it would be fun just to watch the animals move and play around. It’s definitely neat seeing them react to different things like being hungry or not feeling well. I also like the stream of smiley faces that come from an animal when they are happy.
The sound effects work quite nicely. I often feel this is what gives a time management game a lot of its personality, and there’s no question that it enhances the atmosphere here. Listening to the animals chatter when they are content helps bolster the feeling that you’re doing something right. The music is okay, and it’s certainly easy to listen to, but for some reason it reminds me of a bad public service announcement tune.
I hate to keep harping on this, but Jane’s Zoo will probably turn off some hardcore time management players due to its simpler mechanics. As for me, after 23 levels I’m still enjoying every minute of it. I’m not really an animal lover, but this group of playful beasts has certainly attracted my attention.
|Title:||Jane`s Zoo||Developer:||G5 Entertainment|
|Reviewed Ver:||1.0||Min OS Req:||3.0|
|Price:||$2.99||App Size:||18.1 MB|