Jane’s Zoo Review

So far, Jane has run half a dozen hotels, a real estate business, and a chain of clothing stores. What’s next for the dynamic red head? In Jane’s Zoo, the latest hectic time management game by Realore, we find out that Jane has a new dream – to rescue the world’s animals from environmental pollution.

While out exploring Africa, Jane finds a beautiful savanna being destroyed by an ugly factory. The wild animals need Jane’s help, and she’s determined to save them. She swiftly organizes a relief fund to help zoos all over the world. The connection is a bit loose, but regardless, she gets straight down to work and heads off to the first zoo in Europe.

Along the way, you’ll care for chimpanzees, skunks, lions, zebras, seals, ostriches, elephants, peacocks, penguins, hippos, and pandas, just to name a few. Different animal types have their own quirks. Elephants, for example, are very slow and take a while to make up their minds. Lions are impatient and demanding, and need to be served first when a crown appears over their heads. Baby animals need their diapers changed frequently, and drink from bottles.

To play, you need to click on the various animal houses, and click again onto the lawn to bring each animal out. The animals then request water or various foods, which can be given by clicking the proper icon. You have to complete tasks on time, but luckily, the animals are pretty patient. These animals don’t like rain, so when the rain starts to fall, you should get them back inside their houses. Occasionally, a crow will fly by and make a terrible ruckus. You should chase it away before it upsets everyone. In the evening, the animals will be ready for bed, and ask to be put back in their houses.

To assist you, you have a friendly zoo keeper, who is a lot like the maid and handyman in Jane’s Hotel. He takes care of repairing the houses, sweeping up the enclosures, and other heavy tasks.

If you serve the animals quickly, you can earn a speed bonus, which will appear on the playing area and may be collected with a click. Coins increase your score, smiles make your animals more patient, and snowflakes freeze the animals’ patience meter. These are automatically applied as you play.

As you play, you must also buy upgrades to keep your animals happy. Like the previous Jane games, the upgrades are a bit linear. However, each upgrade really changes the dynamics of the game play by adding news tasks and responsibilities. If you’re a fan of Jane’s Hotel, you might recall the plant watering task. In Jane’s Zoo, this task is replaced by grass watering, but the result is similar. Your animals can get sick, but with the hospital upgrade, you can treat them. To do this, you drag them to the hospital, and then click when the gage is at the center of the health bar.

Once you’ve unlocked the bath upgrade, you can bathe your zoo animals by dragging them to the bathhouse, and then click on all the dirty spots on their picture. I don’t know…have you ever tried to bathe a house cat? Something tells me that bathing a lion in real life wouldn’t be quite so easy. With the gym upgrade, you can let your animals exercise. Drag them to the gym, and then toggle through the different sports to find the one that makes them smile. These animals play basketball and racquetball, along with weightlifting.

As a bonus, you sometimes play a hidden object "ecological expedition" mini-game. You’re shown a nature scene, and you have one minute to find all of the litter. It’s kind of a challenge, and the objects blend in well. Hmmm, do I spy a hidden object game in the making for Jane? Anyhow, completing these excursions (regardless if you win) allows you to select a character upgrade.

The animal animations are very good. The elephant claps when happy, and all of the zoo creatures all move around in suitable style. It’s a bit oddball, but still entertaining enough. As for length, you can expect around three hours of game play. You can also replay levels to try and get the expert score. In addition, there are normal and expert play modes, so you can increase the challenge by playing again in a more difficult mode.

Jane’s Zoo a cute game, with lots of new tasks and original features. However, it does seem very youthful in its theme and presentation, which gives it the feeling of being more suitable for children. Despite this, it is quite challenging and fast paced (especially at the expert level), so it  is probably too challenging for most small kids. Grown-up time management fans who don’t mind the at times bizarre theme (lions playing racquetball? Zebras lifting weights?) should find it challenging and hectic enough to occupy themselves for a few hours.

For similar games, try Jane’s Hotel: Family Hero, Farm Mania, and Bob the Builder: Can-Do Zoo.

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