Price: $3.99 (currently on sale at $1.99)
Version Reviewed: 1.0.9
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 4/iPad 2
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Game Controls Rating:
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It's a sign of a fantastically addictive game when even in such a flawed form; players will find themselves itching for just one more go. That's exactly the case with Zookeeper DX, a game that on the iPhone suffers from one huge problem, but one that's still surprisingly simple to forgive. At least for now.
Zoo Keeper (despite the iOS naming convention, it was definitely two words originally) is a game that's most famous for being released around the same time as the launch of the Nintendo DS. It's a Match Three puzzle game basically but one that adds its own dose of charm through its cutesy use of animals and the need to 'catch' them and return them to their cages and habitats. In the case of the DS original, there was a Quest mode which provided players with different tasks so as to progress. These ranged from capture 20 of a certain type of animal to capture each animal only once, or capture a certain number of one animal more than another. Each of these quests adding a bit more strategy and careful thinking than the usual Match Three title.
Sadly for the iOS version, this mode has been removed. Instead players are left with the two other pivotal modes: Normal (keep playing till time runs out) and Tokoton in which the player must catch 100 of one type of animal to progress to the next level and gain more points. The loss of Quest mode is unfortunate and I'd dearly love to see it appear in a future update.
Despite this though, the two modes that do still reside are pretty compelling. Action is fast paced making for a frantic but satisfying experience. Here comes the big flaw with the iPhone version though - the screen is messed up. For some reason, the far left side of the screen has been cut off in a way that seems bewilderingly obvious to see. Why it wasn't picked up in testing is anyone's guess and it does make for a huge irritant. Players can just about see what animals are there but it looks awkward and cumbersome. On the iPad, this problem doesn't exist however and visuals are crisp and clear to view.
The problematic screen and lack of some of the more memorable game modes makes Zookeeper DX a difficult one to gauge. While it maintains all the charm and addictiveness of the DS incarnation, it feels lacking. Especially when bearing in mind the usual $3.99 price tag (it's currently on sale at $1.99) although iPhone and iPad owners will profit from the universal capability. New features have been mooted on the iTunes app page so hopefully this will enhance the game and make it a much easier sell.
For now, while the nostalgia is great and I did enjoy my time with it, Zookeeper isn't quite at must buy standard just yet. It's only an update or two away from that accolade though.