For those who love playing games throughout the day without needing to sit in front of the computer for hours on end, mobile games are really the way to go. Not only do they allow you to play in short bursts while you're busy with life, they also give you an avenue to express your creativity. If you've ever managed a restaurant, a pet shop or your very own city, then you're probably no stranger to mobile game giant TeamLava (now Storm8). That said, they have something special for those who have a soft spot for the wild.
As its name suggests, Zoo Story allows you to create and take charge of your very own zoo. Pick from a number of animals that live in the jungle, in the deep blue sea and beyond. If you don't think a tiger is wild enough, then what about taking care of a unicorn? This game allows you to take care of those too.
Build a Zoo Like No Other
Building the zoo of your dreams isn't just about rescuing adult animals. Just like in a real one, you'll have the opportunity to take care of their cute babies. Raise them and keep them healthy to make them shine. Choose a layout, build proper habitats for your four-legged friends and add decorations to give the zoo your own unique touch. Take care of your patrons by providing amenities such as fast food stands and benches. You can them entertained with theme park attractions too.
Of course as the one managing the zoo, there are other tasks you will need to fulfill aside from caring for the animals. In order to feed your four-legged pals, you will need to plant crops and harvest them before meal time. Going social also offers a few advantages as inviting Facebook friends to join in the fun results in more neigbors. More neighbors means more bonuses whenever they comes and visit.
Pay a Little, Play a Lot
Still on the fence? Don't worry, Zoo Story is a freemium title. You can give it a try and enjoy free updates for the entire life span of the game without needing to pony up a dime. As it gets regular updates, you can enjoy more quests, even add new animals and attractions to your zoo on nearly a weekly basis.
That's not to say that it's completely free to play. As is the standard for freemium games such as these, there are optional things that you can pay for if you find the game pace to be too slow. Specifically, you can use real cash for an energy refill. This bypasses the mandatory wait time in between, say, building new enclosures. Pay players also have the benefit of having access to more animals compared to the rest of the community. If you're patient, you can get access to some gems (the game's premium currency) by successfully accomplishing quest objectives. Aside from giving your in-game wallet a boost, they also give you a number of nifty rewards such as items and experience points.
Nothing Out of the Ordinary
The graphics for Zoo Story are spot-on and a familar to other older titles such as Zoomumba. There are lions, snow leopards, koalas, crocodiles, zebras, pandas and more to care for and all of them are cute as a button with their happy smiles. The colors are bright and cheery, with the usual charm of the developer's "story" games. Although being consistent is a plus when it comes to the game's great graphics, it's not that much of a plus when it comes to the game play. We expected a bit more in terms of mini games or story-related events. We do like the Harvest Moon-like tasks but it's a bit light on the overall impact.
Who the Let Cats Out?
Unlike many of the zoo games on mobile, Zoo Story features shorter wait times. As games like this rely on having enough structures built to actually manage, this feature makes for a more enjoyable experience off the bat. While its cartoony approach may not be for everyone, the lighthearted feel of the game is a treat for those who are looking for something to entertain them for a minute or two throughout the day. This is most likely why the developer has since released Zoo Story 2 as well. Being free-to-play, the game is accessible to everyone. On the other hand, there is a huge gap between the resources available to people who are willing to pay and those who aren't.
All in all, Zoo Story has enough charm to make up for its faults. Provided that you're willing to put up with the grind and have a soft spot for the wild, then this title is worth checking out for sure.