I love going to the zoo with my kids. All the smells, sounds and cool animals. Sure I feel kind of sad when I see a bear walking the same tracks back and forth, or a monkey not able to pass a mote. On the other hand some animals seem to really enjoy their captivity such as playful penguins. In Jane`s Zoo you get to manage the animals, and their needs. Jane and her Uncle Ben is starting up a small zoo together, and you will have to help them micromanage everything.
G5 has published a large number of games for the iOS devices, and quite a few has been time management titles. Highlights include traffic management game Virtual City, Supermarket Mania and Jane`s Hotel. I approached Jane`s Zoo with quite high expectations, and as a time management fan I was stoked. Too bad that this is the worst game I have seen from G5, and actually one of the most boring time management games I have played on my iPhone.
Jane`s Zoo is based on the classic formula of almost all time management games. A cute cartoon introduction, a map showing your progression and a slow tutorial to get you going. Then the slowness keeps going, and going and going. As you get more animals to manage the difficulty doesn`s increase because there isn`t much strategy to the game. Instead you react, wait and react.
There are a number of animals you have to care for in your zoo. They have their own pens, and own needs. The lion needs quick catering, as the king of the jungle. The elephant is slow, and extremely patient. All in all there is 11 different animals to learn, and look after. Once an animal is out of its house it starts to demand different things. Food, water and a cleanup of the pen is easy to grasp. Sending an elephant to be cleaned, or a panda to the gym on the other hand is stranger. There is also an irritating crow that you have to get rid off, as it otherwise disturbs your animals.
Controls are fairly easy. When an animal wants something simply tap it, then tap the thing it demands, and then the animal again. Either Jane or Uncle Ben takes care of the diaper change, food handout or pen cleaning. Some actions require you to drag the animals to another location such as the gym. Once there you have to do a quick minigame, and then drag the animal back to the pen. The level ends once you have managed all the animals, or the day ends. As there is no way of telling what animal will want what in what order there is very little strategy involved. You simply tap away at them as they demand stuff. There is a level goal to reach, and a level expert goal. I have never managed not to reach the expert level even with slow reactions, and the odd outburst of anger from disgruntled animals. There are two levels of difficulty available, but as a seasoned time management gamer normal is easy and hard is easy.
There are 39 levels in the game spanning three locations. In between levels you can unlock new facilities to accommodate the zoo inhabitants. To help me out evaluating the game I have enlisted time management gamer extraordinaire: my wife. I have never heard such sighs of boredom from her, as when playing Jane`s Zoo. I didn`t even hear them when we first dated, and I rambled on about something incoherent to avoid any kind of awkward silence. Regarding Jane`s Zoo my wife didn`t find any redeeming quality at all. To me the game at least has some gamelife to it. That is easy, quite boring gamelife though.
The graphics is washed out, and lacks the clarity and brightness I have seen from G5 in previous games. Limited animations to the animals, and quite poor looking minigames makes it all feel mediocre. Furthermore there are a number of spelling errors disturbing the presentation. The fact that the animals really feel trapped in their small pens, and I keep smacking an innocent crow also goes in the books as something wrong. The music is boring time management muzak lacking presence, or power. The sound effects on the other hand are quite nice filling the zoo with some happy chitter chatter. You canï‚’t play your own music, as the game fades it out whenever it is playing a sound.
Jane`s Zoo is one of the most boring, and uninspired time management games I have played for the iPhone. There isn`t any strategy to it. No queuing of actions, or clear chain system. I react, I wait for the action to be performed, and then I react again. The game is too easy, too linear and has got a slapdash presentation. As a fan of both the genre, and previous games from G5 I am disappointed. The two stars are weak, and if you aren’t into time management consider this a 1.5 star game. There is a ton of much better time management games out there from G5, PlayFirst and Meridian.
Jane`s Zoo $2.99
Seller: G5 Enterainment AB