Developer: Pocket Gems
Price: FREE
Version Reviewed: 1.02
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★½☆☆
Playtime Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★½☆☆

The cuteness levels within Animal Voyage: Island Adventure are quite impressively high, and the concept on paper sounds quite fun. It’s all so unfortunate then that it’s actually a fairly slow freemium city builder of sorts, and one that practically demands additional payments.

animalvoyage4The idea is one that will appeal most to children, which immediately sets off the cynicism meter. Players must explore hidden islands and rescue stranded animals, while improving their living situations and forming a kind of animal sanctuary. The only real challenge here is waiting for everything to be finished.

Following a series of quests which ably keep players on track for the most significant progress, players mostly find themselves clearing grass, rocks, and other obstacles in order to make their way to the stranded animal. Along the way, other collectibles can be sought after through various treasure chests which typically lead to the acquisition of tools and materials that can be used to fix bridges and other barriers. It’s simply done and rarely requires much thought, however there’s that hint of trickle feeding gratification which almost makes Animal Voyage: Island Adventure appealing.

The main gaming element also stems from rescuing the animals. Each time that the player wants to save a cuddly critter, they have to participate in a simple match-three puzzle game. Similar to Zookeeper, success is denoted by how many of a few certain types of icon are collected up. It rarely takes long but it’s a fun distraction from the core building elements of the game.

animalvoyage1The crucial problem throughout all this is just how long it takes anything to be completed. We’re all now used to such titles where 5-10 minute waits aren’t uncommon to see a building or task completed, but Animal Voyage: Island Adventure gets too heavy handed and too quickly. Within only around 30 minutes of playing, 1-2 hour waits play a prominent role. Once these waiting times have been cleared, things get worse with 5-6 hour pauses. There might be other things to do alongside such pauses, but it really cuts down on progression far too quickly. The price of skipping ahead is pretty steep, too, and far from encouraging.

While Animal Voyage: Island Adventure offers a familiar idea and does so in a cutesy way, those waiting times are just a little too excessive for so early on in the game. It proves quickly off-putting and stops one from really investing in seeing what’s to come next, no matter how adorable it might seem.

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