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World of Zoo Wii Review Box Art
Blue Fang Games

World of Zoo Wii Review

Nintendojo was provided a copy of this game for review by a third party, though that does not affect our recommendation. For every review, Nintendojo uses a standard scoring criteria.

Some companies approach the virtual pet simulator with an intention to create a new experience, something that has not been done before, or something that enriches the very life of the player playing the game. Unfortunately, when it comes to World of Zoo, Blue Fang Games didn't. Instead the company went with the old standby of adding in as many thematically appropriate creatures as possible and hoping that quantity beats quality, which it doesn't.

World of Zoo gives players the ability to be a zookeeper who takes care of various different animals in his or her zoo: feeding them, washing them, and picking up their poop. Yes, that's right, one of the touted features of the game is that players will spend time disposing of animal feces. It only gets worse from there.

Players are given the choice of which animal group they want to take care of first, and through careful care of the animals entrusted to them, they can earn coins that can be spent to open up more exhibits. The problem then becomes the repetitive nature of the game. Every animal feels and behaves the same. It would have been nice if the game let players pick one animal to start with, and then unlocked the rest when players got that first animal to a certain happiness level. Unfortunately, this is not the case, as every animal environment has to be purchased with in-game currency, meaning there is a lot of "lather, rinse, repeat" gameplay.

The environments themselves are varied. Each animal enclosure features its own feel and music to go along with it. The penguinenclosure is believably Antarctic, the panda enclosure is suitably Asian, and the elephant enclosure is very Indian. Players can also use the coins they have earned to build new play sets within the enclosures for their pets.

World of Zoo's visual style is highly appealing, though it may start to wear on older gamers. Animal models pop in a cell-shaded style that looks impressive for on Wii. Occasionally an animal model will clip a little bit with the scenery or a shadow will fall out of place, but in general the graphics play to the strengths of the console and provide plenty of visual appeal for younger gamers. Unfortunately the music gets old quickly. While it is possible to change it when it starts to wear, after flipping through three or four tunes players will be right back where they started.

The animals do offer a wide range of customization options. Color, shape and temperament are a few of the tweakable attributes, but other than deciding if the animal is going to be sleepy or hungry more often, none of the customizable features really makes a difference. Each subspecies having its own quirks or favorite types of food would have been nice, but one penguin is exactly like all the others. World of Zoo also lets players choose if animals are adult or baby, but other than being able to play with babies in the nursery, the only difference is that baby animals are smaller than the adults. The game provides facts about the animals when creating them, such as geographic locations they are found at and whether they're endangered or not. These facts are provided courtesy of the National Geographic Society and add a little bit of learning, but if they weren't there no one would notice. Players may also create a back story for each of the animals, but once again, having a cool back story changes nothing.

Die hard fans of pet simulators will probably find the sheer quantity of animals in World of Zoo covers many of its flaws. But don't go into this game expecting it to wow you. This is a prime example of a game that is better portable. As it is, this is an incredibly tough game to recommend, especially when the market is stuffed full of similar titles. Only serious zookeepers should apply.

final score 4.0/10

Staff Avatar Matthew Tidman
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"It's dangerous to go alone! Take this."

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