Monday, 14 November 2011

Game of the Week: Zoo Resort 3D

The first set of cute 3DS games has arrived, however, despite Zoo Resort 3D being obviously aimed at a younger gaming audience, Mini Gamers was pleasantly surprised by what we found.

The aim of Zoo Resort 3D is to stock and maintain a Zoo which has been left to you by your (in-game) late grandfather. You must unlock different breeds of animals, from simple birds, to large land-and-sea predators, and the majority of the game is centred around the players abilities to feed and display the animals to growing crowds of visitors.

The more you feed and interact with the animals in your care, the more visitors you attract and the more money you gain, which will allow you to develop your zoo and unlock more animals.

The first thing you gain access to after your initial animals have been placed in the zoo, is the 'Animal Dispenser'. This allows you to randomly create animals in exchange for some coins. The more popular your zoo becomes, the more types of Animal Dispensers you can use. Nevertheless, the latter dispensers are very expensive and can cost up to 8000 coins a time to use.

In order to gain access to the various unlockable items that the game has to offer, you must first bond with the animals through feeding them and taking a selection of top quality photographs or video for your apparent zoo blog, and trying to gain the maximum popularity for each animal group in turn.

If you have managed to gain the maximum bond with your animals, fulfilled the total number of appearances to members of the public, and also happen to have the correct number of each animal in their individual enclosures, (this info can be found on the information card displayed on the animal selection screen), you will be treated to a stunning animated 3D cutscene showing the animals in their daily life at the zoo. These visuals are truly breathtaking most of the time and really help to bring each animal to life. The cutscene can then be replayed at any time.

As the game is primarily aimed at younger gamers, it is very easy to pick up and play, with simple tasks that will help the zoo to run smoothly.

Nevertheless, the game will sometimes throw up random challenges such as 'displayed animals will become sick today', which means that you won't be able to display those animals for a few in-game days, or 'elephants at another zoo have become more popular', in which case you must try to raise the popularity of your own elephants etc.

These challenges help to lower the visitor count and therefore alter the amount of money that you earn on that day and the subsequent day, making your progress through the game slightly slower.

However, if you wish to miss the challenge altogether you can simply select the End The Day/Journal tab and you will recieve a summary of how much you earned the previous day and your progress will be saved. Please note, however, that your subsequent earnings will decrease for each day that you choose to miss.

If you are successful in making your zoo popular, you will also earn the right to expand your territory, which will open up more land and new animals for you to care for. You will also gain access to certain Special Commands, which can then be purchased in order to increase the popularity of the zoo.

Once you have unlocked over 75 different species of animal and gained access to the last of the Animal Dispensers, the main story of the game comes to an end and you are free to add to your zoo as you see fit. You will also uncover the secret of the mysterious gentleman you meet at the beginning of the game.

In conclusion, Zoo Resort 3D is not as lame as it might first appear. The 3D graphics are amazing and players can survey the whole of the animal enclosure by simply using the circle pad. All the environment and animals are extremely lifelike.

Nevertheless, this game is aimed more at younger gamers between the ages of eight and fourteen, and is therefore quite simplistic in its actual gameplay, so it is unlikely to keep adult gamers entertained for hours.

However, for a sweet and uncomplicated little game that you can play for a spare five or ten minutes whilst on the train, this title does very nicely, and we can see this one being a winner with the kids at Christmas. Overall rating: 8/10

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