What happens when you create a brand new series for a system that requires special forms of input and causes advances in gaming, but then you decide to port the title to a standard, run-of-the-mill platform? Well, that was the challenge Success had moving Zoo Keeper to the GBA. But does Zooo make too many sacrifices?
There are no attempts made this time round to flesh out a pointless story mode for people to play through, therefore you are launched straight into a game that bears a striking resemblance to its current-generation Nintendo DS brother. Anyone who has seen Animal Leader / Cubivore's graphics on the GameCube will be familiar with the approach taken in Zooo, with the animal characters all taking on a rather unusual three-dimensional 'block' look. It certainly adds uniqueness to the game, but looks odd on the whole.
The backgrounds and playing tiles all have a lovely vibrancy to them and finding where the cursor is on the screen does not become too much of a problem, until the later, more hectic stages that is! But generally you would be hard pushed to highlight a wealth of difference in terms of appearance when comparing this to the DS iteration. Something that is far improved, though, is the audio capabilities. Out of the fourteen tracks included, each one has an extremely catchy beat
Basically the aim of the game is to match up three or more of the same animal faceplate in order to clear the screen as quickly as possible. However, rather than constantly moving tiles across the board to complete a move, you are restricted in that you only have the ability to switch two panels over. If switching them results in a chain being formed with other surrounding panels (vertically or horizontally) then said tiles will disappear and the game continues. However, if it proves to be a pointless move and nothing occurs, the tiles revert back to their original standings. Struggle to find any more possible moves and you can use a few 'binoculars' that give you hints to the next move and special panels that remove certain animals from the screen. And this is how it all goes...
So how do Success and Buddiez, Inc prevent the formula from going completely stale? Well, there are five different modes to choose from
And just like Zoo Keeper, if you are grabbed by the addictive nature of the gameplay found within, then it will be hard to easily discard this any time soon. Especially on the Game Boy micro, it proves to be a perfect pick-up-and-play game, with great depth thrown in for good measure. The five different modes and three difficulty levels ensure that the variety is there, as well as accessibility for all levels of gamer. A 'True Keeper' (sorry...) if ever there was one. If only there was a two player option, though.
As far as puzzlers go, Zooo proves to be easily accessible by all and still remains fun for the whole ride, with depth to keep veterans entertained.
The visuals are barely any different from the Nintendo DS version, but that is not a negative point as the GBA is far more humble than the DS!
The soundtrack is extremely catchy and far improved from that of the DS iteration and definitely helps to make the experience more enjoyable.
The five different modes makes sure players will not get bored with this title too quickly. Unfortunately there is no two-player mode.
With so many high quality puzzle games on the Game Boy Advance to begin with, unfortunately Zooo has too much competition to make it a huge success. However, those that do stumble across it might find they prefer it slightly to the Nintendo DS version!