When the call went out for someone to review a “girlie” game I jumped at the chance, being really comfortable with my sexuality ‘n’ all. But macho men shouldn’t be put off by our strong independent female protagonist; she’s also a curvaceous flame-haired fox. If I were made of pixels, I’d definitely go for it.
While on safari in Africa, Jane realises we’re destroying the planet with deforestation and pollution. In order to combat the destruction, she decides to spend her time working at the zoo, tending to various animals who’ve been removed from their natural habit and forced to live in captivity. Hence, Jane’s Zoo.
In Jane’s Zoo, Jane, along with partner Uncle Ben (not the rice guy, sadly), look after animals in various zoos that seem oddly bereft of visitors. Perhaps there are people gawking just off-screen. Anyway, the animals need fed, watered, cleaned, exercised, and the occasional spot of medical attention.
Points are awarded for tending to the animals’ needs quickly, with a target score in each level that has to be reached before sundown. Jane’s Zoo starts off easy enough, with just a couple of animals to look after, but you’ll soon have a full range of beasts to care for, including an elephant, a lion, a monkey, a zebra and a, uhm, skunk.
Whenever action is required, an icon appears beside the needy animal. Let’s say your lion is thirsty. Just tap the water icon beside the lion, pick the corresponding option from the menu at the bottom, and tap beside the lion again. Easy. Actually, it’s probably a bit too easy. Also, it doesn’t really make much difference if the animal needs fed or watered or his enclosure repaired, the same three taps are required each time. It’s all much of a muchness.
However, there are a few elements that keep things vaguely interesting. The lion, being the king of the jungle, demands to be tended to first. If you neglect him, he goes in a huff and you have to pacify him with a series of taps. The animals also get dirty, so you need to clean their manky faces by tapping on the muddy spots. When they get sick, there’s a little mini game with a moving bar; you have to stop the bar on the smiley face to make the animal better.
One of my favourite touches is the annoying crow that flies in at random intervals. If you don’t tap him and stop his incessant crowing quickly, the animals start to get irritated.
There’s lots going on in Jane’s Zoo, but probably not enough to hold your attention for the game’s 39 levels. There are 11 animals, seven mini-games in total, and three continents, but the majority of the game is comprised of those three taps I described earlier.
It’s also worth mentioning that the touch response is a little iffy at times. Since the game demands quick action, it’s highly frustrating when you have to tap several times on something, wasting valuable seconds.
Jane’s Zoo is far from terrible, but if you’re looking for something with a bit more depth, check out G5’s other new title, Virtual City. We loved it.
- Variety of animals
- Seven mini-games
- The annoying crow
- It’s all quite samey after a while
- Not particularly challenging
- Iffy touch response
Summary: Jane’s Zoo is good, but realistically you’ll give up before you get anywhere near the 39th level.
Compatibility: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. Requires iOS 3.0 or later.
Price: £1.79 @ App Store