ZooZooGo! Review—Three Games in One
Several PlayStation Mobile offerings are games that are such shallow, simplistic rough drafts that I wonder why the PlayStation Store gatekeepers allow them to be up for sale. Good thing ZooZooGo! is not one of those, and though the price may be a little bit higher than its actual worth, at least we get something from it.
ZooZooGo! is also available in the iOS ecosystem, for free. That made my enthusiasm fizzle once I found out about it. Nevertheless, this is the curse of console owners who wish to play casual games on their devices: the price. Some other games make up for this discrepancy by packaging the entire franchise into one neat title, like Paper Wars: Cannon Fodder. Others drastically change up the content while retaining the core gameplay, like Karoshi. A few include additional content like new modes, levels, difficulty settings, or characters, though by “few,” I mean I can’t actually remember seeing a PS Mobile or Minis release following this to justify the often hysterical pricing.
Since I don’t have an iOS device, I can’t thoroughly compare the PlayStation Mobile and the iOS versions. Nevertheless, ZooZooGo! on its own is jam-packed with content. First, there are three gameplay modes: Treasure Hunt, a match-3 game featuring animals; Animahjong, you know what that is by its name; and Puzzle Quest, a slide puzzler.
At first, you can only play Treasure Hunt, as you must unlock the rest of the modes. Animahjong is easy to unlock, and though I can’t remember when I did unlock it, I’m pretty sure it was early in my playing. Treasure Hunt is a match-3 game that follows the core gameplay of a match-3 game with no twists. Yes, there are special effects depending on the level you are on, and there are also power-ups to equip. Still, these gameplay additions are not as ingenious as what was offered in earlier match-3 games like Aquattack!—and that game is almost three years old!
Like Treasure Hunt, Animahjong allows you to use power-ups, like getting rid of an unwanted set of animals, or board reset. It is quite enjoyable, and fresh, given the radiant graphics and pleasant colors on the Vita screen. The music is just fine. Repetitive? Hell yes, but it’s the sort of music you hear in the elevator or in a lounge that doesn’t bother you, and you tend to ignore it. There are microtransactions, BUT WAIT, don’t get overdramatic. Big Head Games were able to come up with a saner microtransaction structure. As opposed to purposely being gimped to force players to pay to enjoy, ZooZooGo! will just charge you if you want an easier route to an already easy game. You pay for shortcuts that you can actually achieve playing the game normally, like power-ups and in-game coins. These coins, used to unlock new levels and modes, can be gathered by simply playing the game. The microtransaction aspect is still not enticing, but at least it’s not a crazy proposition like we usually find in pay-to-win games.
I like the production values of this one, great graphic art, finished gameplay, responsive and smooth touch controls, and honestly, they mildly justify the price tag. Oh well, we already have the incurvios, the Everybody’s Arcades, and the Wipes of the PSM world. ZooZooGo! looks like fan service, a great one at that, with the current state of PlayStation Mobile.
UPDATE: ZooZooGo! is now free! However, the rating will remain as is since it was reviewed with the price in mind.