For a free app, Tap Zoo is packed with features. Players are able to create and manage their own zoo, breed animals and immerse themselves in a fully-fledged casual simulation. Yes, this game certainly offers a lot of content that will keep you occupied for hours.
If you're willing to pay for it.
Players are tasked with transforming a barren strip of land into a flourishing zoo. Much like a cross between Theme Park and Farmville, you have access to a huge variety of different animals, services, attractions and staff to liberally drape over your real estate in order to attract visitors in greater numbers. Earning money through ticket revenue (as well as the odd ice cream) allows you to expand your premises as well as your menagerie.
The sheer amount of content is absolutely astounding. Zoos can be customised in a myriad of ways, and a limited breeding facility allows you to take pride in increasing the numbers of your furry friends. The action is extremely addictive and utterly charming thanks to the slick cartoony visuals. The touchscreen controls are also extremely capable, making navigation effortless.
The social aspects are also fairly impressive. Players can visit other zoos and help fellow keepers out with sick animals or litter problems (as well as having a nose around), and you're able to supply a steady stream of notifications to piss off your Facebook friends.
But how can all of this be free? Well... it ain't. As I'm sure you've already guessed, Tap Zoo demands a steady stream of real money. Virtual revenue can be easily harvested using your animals and attractions, but the vast majority of these features can only be purchased with Stars. The only way of obtaining these tricksy tokens is to buy them outright- and to put things in perspective, you'll need around a tenner just to get a large zoo up and running. Not to mention expansion.
Ultimately this ruthless bid for your bottom line makes Tap Zoo very difficult to recommend. The full game is easily worth £2.99 and could have commanded the lofty £5.99 price tag with a few more tweaks to some of its weaker features. Unfortunately it's certainly not worth the inordinate amount of scratch that most players will need to invest.
- Loads of content
- Thoroughly addictive gameplay
- Attractive visuals
- Got the message?
Summary: Tap Zoo is an incredibly addictive and fully-featured simulation that could (and should?) have commanded a premium price. Unfortunately the in-app purchases required to actually play the damn thing make it impossible to recommend.
Developer: Pocket Gems
Compatibility: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. Requires iOS 3.0 or later.
Price: Free - App Store [In-App purchases from £0.59-£59.99]