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Zookeeper Battle

For: iPad   Also on: Android, iPhone

PETA would be appalled

Product: Zookeeper Battle | Developer: Kiteretsu | Publisher: Kiteretsu | Format: iPad | Genre: Multiplayer, Puzzle, Strategy | Players: 1 | Networking: wireless (adhoc) | Version: Europe
Zookeeper Battle iPad, thumbnail 1
How do you make a match-three puzzler interesting? Well, you could use it as the basis for a grudge match between some of nature's fiercest creatures, pitting monkey against hippo in a puzzle-fuelled battle to the death.

When you write it down it sounds crazy, but that's the basic premise behind Zookeeper Battle. It's a bit like a furry version of Super Puzzle Fighter, albeit more stripped down, and based on the Bejeweled template rather than a version of Columns.

Crocodile is the best form of attack

Instead of creating chains that affect your opponent in real time, in Zoo Keeper Battles you puzzle for 30 seconds in order to build up a defence level and an attack level. You're matching pictures of animals, and some of them, such as the elephant and the hippo, are defence animals, while crocodiles and lions are attack animals.

Matching more defence animals gives you a higher defence bonus, and matching more attack animals lets you throw more rocks at your opponent. Once time's up, you turn your attention to the top of the screen and watch as your avatar dukes it out with the other player's beast.

There are special blocks that can help you out, healing the wounds that have been inflicted on you, or dealing extra damage and annoyance in the general direction of your foe.

Every round, one of the symbols you're matching is imbued with the power of attack and defence, making it doubly useful.

Matching frowns

There's an offline Practice mode that lets you hone your skills against computer controlled, but most of the game takes place online, where you'll duke it out against other players from around the world. And while the multiplayer battles are fun, there's rarely any tension in encounters.

Because you don't know what your opponent is doing it's hard to build a strategy, and because you can only deal with the symbols in front of you it's not unusual to get stuck and have to sit idly by as your time ticks away.

Zookeeper Battle tries to make the match-three puzzler that bit more interesting by making it competitive, but the way it's built means it doesn't really feel like you're scrapping against an opponent.

There are some nice ideas here, but they can't quite gel together to make an entertaining and enduring whole.
Zookeeper Battle
Reviewer photo
Harry Slater | 29 November 2012
It might try something a little different with the match-three puzzler, but Zookeeper Battle doesn't make enough changes to the basics of the game to really stand out
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